Editor’s Introduction 20(3)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 20, Number 3,  Spring 2016, pp. 291-292.

Paradoxically for a sales platform with a global reach, international online sales have proved to be a lasting challenge. The authors of the first paper in this issue, Daniel Tolstoy, Anna Jonsson, and Dharam Deo Sharma, empirically pursue the ramifications of this concern. Their essential research question is whether the adoption of the online sales channel for international sales by retail firms is related to a general increase of international sales by these firms. Beyond that, the authors explore whether a greater geographical scope of import and export activities positively influences such sales. The results presented amplify what was said at the opening of this paragraph. However, by offering nuanced results the authors also shed light on the avenues to improving the outcomes in global e-commerce.

In the next article, Ruth C. King, Richard A.M. Schilhavy, Charles Chowa, and Wynne W. Chin demonstrate that an online retailer’s website may exhibit a strong identity, with which consumers may identify a greater or lesser degree. The authors theorize that identification with a retailer’s website is able to lead to a consumer’s commitment to and repeat purchases from the retailer. They also develop and investigate a comprehensive set of factors that could lead to the consumer’s identification with a website. The work is notable for its theoretically founded integration of the key factors, such as website trustworthiness and attractiveness, as well as product attributes and service quality, into a model that will be helpful to future researchers and present practitioners.

The effects of user-generated content, such as reviews and ratings, are the subject of two further works in this issue. Jun Pang and Lingyun Qiu define a new factor that they find plays a role in the influence of reviews on potential consumers. Called “review chunking,” that is, the grouping of reviews by positive or negative valence as offered by many websites, the authors find that it alters the effect of the reviews. Moreover, this effect is different in the cases of consumers who are motivated to think and those who are not motivated to think, or more charitably, those who think slowly versus those who think fast.

Also contributing to the research stream that investigates the effects of consumer articulations and traces on the Web, Cenk Kocas and Can Akkan study the influence of trending status (when others are interested in the product you are considering) and high ratings on the price of a product. The authors show, with a game-theoretic model and with supporting online empirics, that these positive signals from the marketplace lead to lower prices, as retailers attempt to take advantage by increasing sales. The work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of dynamic pricing in e-commerce, whose use is on the rise.

The final paper in this issue, by Jing Tan and Stephan Ludwig, draws our attention to B2B commerce. Specifically, the work investigates the adoption of the Internet-based Electronic Data Interchange in China, a developing country. The work deploys the Perceived e-Readiness Model (PERM), published originally in this journal [1]. The work shows the need to expand that model and include the consideration of interorganizational relationships as well as economic and cultural differences. It is to be hoped that this research will lead to further contextualization of PERM and to its use in fostering e-commerce adoption across the developing world.

Molla, A., and Licker, P. S. Perceived e-readiness factors in e-commerce adoption: An empirical investigation in a developing country. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 10, 1 (2005), 83–110.