Editor’s Introduction 21(3)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 21, Number 3, 2016-2017, pp. 297-298.

There are multiple ways to characterize online shoppers and address their needs. An important—and hitherto not well-addressed—consideration is their perception of and approach to the passage of time. The authors of the first article in this issue of International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Dong Ling Xu-Priour, Gérard Cliquet, and Adrian Palmer, aim to fill this gap by showing how two essential aspects of buyers’ time orientation relate to their propensity to shop online. These two key aspects are the tendency of the individual to focus on single versus multiple activities at a time (known as the monochronic versus polychronic dichotomy) and an orientation toward the future versus the past. The authors deploy the theoretical results garnered in several disciplines, including individual and social psychology, to derive their hypotheses. They proceed to test them empirically and offer us a model that contributes significantly to our understanding of the role of time orientation in online consumer behavior. Naturally, the work produces helpful guidelines for marketing segmentation.

The content markets keep roiling, with traditional as well as some emerging business models disrupted by ever new competitors. Here, the lending market for e-books is investigated by Li Chen and Ruth C. King in the context of overall competition in the book-selling marketplace. The authors apply game theory to obtain rather fine-grained results that suggest the options and best strategies for competitors. Obviously, the cannibalization of lucrative print versions is a principal consideration. Strategic pricing and release time are variables that can be used to successfully address marketplace of e-book lending, as shown by the authors. Mutatis mutandis, the results are applicable to other online content markets.

Auction marketplaces are extremely well-suited to the online aggregation of supply and demand on two- or multisided platforms. When used appropriately, these formats offer speed, lowered transaction costs, and a satisfactory division of the surplus between sellers and buyers. Among the numerous variations of auction formats, Dutch auctions, used to sell flowers in Alsmeer and big tuna in Tsukiji, have not been as popular on the Web as they deserve, according to the authors of the next article, Marc T.P. Adam, Ami Eidels, Ewa Lux, and Timm Teubner. The generally known advantage of the Dutch, or descending-price, auctions is the pace of sales of multiple batches of goods. A much finer picture is presented by the authors based on their structured analysis of the literature on the subject in various scholarly fields. The work offers guidelines for future research on Dutch auctions and for their use.

Online gaming is another phenomenon that epitomizes the vast contribution of the Web to the lifestyles of many. The touchstone of successful games is gamer loyalty, and research directed at enhancing it is of value to theoreticians and practitioners alike. In the next article, Gen-Yih Liao and Ching-I Teng deploy flow theory to show that essential factors in this loyalty are the calibration and balancing of the challenge perceived by players with the skill they feel the game requires. Considering the large number of failed games and their sponsoring companies, the results will be of practical use in seeking game success.

Crowdfunding emerged much more recently than online auctions and games as a defining application of the Web and yet it has already changed many fields of fund aggregation, including venture funding and charitable pursuits. Now, it is also entering the mainline of the new fintech as a complement and competitor to traditional banking. Consequently, there will be increasing numbers of crowdfunding projects to organize. In the concluding article, Haichao Zheng, Bo Xu, Tao Wang, and Dongyu Chen study empirically the success factors of reward-based crowdfunding that supports entrepreneurial activity. Of particular interest in the model they propose and validate are the moderators that condition the project sponsor’s satisfaction with the crowdfunding campaign.