The Influence of a Retail Firm’s Geographic Scope of Operations on Its International Online Sales

Daniel Tolstoy, Anna Jonsson, and Dharam Deo Sharma
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 20, Number 3, Spring 2016, pp. 293-318.


While previous research has advocated the use of online sales channels as a driver for international expansion, the nature of the relationship between e-commerce and international sales is still unexplored. The purpose of this paper is to create a parsimonious model where we investigate whether, and to what extent, strategies pertaining to the geographical scope of international operations moderate the effect that online sales channel adoption has on international sales of retail firms. Based on a sample of 562 Swedish retail firms, using a multiple regression method, we are able to demonstrate that online sales channel adoption has a positive effect on international sales. The effect is, however, negatively moderated by geographical export scope. The study contributes to research focusing on e-commerce in internationalizing retailing firms by specifically demonstrating that strategic considerations related to the geographical scope of operations are likely to have significant effects on their international sales performance.

Key Words and Phrases: E-commerce, e-tail, geographical exportation scope, geographic importation scope, international sales, internationalization, online retail, retail industry.