A Classification of Internet Retail Stores

Peter Spiller and Gerald L. Lohse
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 2, Number 2, Winter 1997, pp. 29.

Abstract:This article describes an empirical method for classifying Internet retail sites for electronic commerce. The technique used 35 observable Internet retail site attributes and features of online stores as the raw data to classify the online stores into meaningful groups. This paper presents a classification of online retail stores based upon an August 1996 convenience sample of 137 Internet retail stores. Descriptive statistics for 44 variables provide a snapshot of key attributes and features of online stores. Subsequent cluster and factor analysis identified five distinct Web catalog interface categories: superstores, promotional stores, plain sales stores, one-page stores, and product listings. Online stores differ primarily on the three dimensions: size, service offerings, and interface quality. A preponderance of the stores in the study had limited product selection, few service features, and poor interfaces. This categorization provides a better understanding of the strategies pursued in Internet-based marketing and will be helpful for Internet retail store designers as well as for researchers to structure and target further analyses in this domain.

Key Words and Phrases
: Classification; cluster analysis; cybermall; cyberstore; electronic shopping; electronic store fronts; factor analysis; Internet marketing; online catalog.