Easy to Start, Hard to Persist: Antecedents and Outcomes of Entrepreneurial Persistence in Online Marketplaces

Yiwen Chen, Li Chen, Shaoming Zou, and Haozhong Hou
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 25, Number 4, 2021, pp. 469-496.


Online marketplaces, as two-sided platforms connecting sellers and buyers electronically, have become a fierce battlefield for entrepreneurs to launch a business. However, existing studies on electronic commerce have mainly focused on consumer behavior; literature is sparse regarding why some entrepreneurial sellers have withdrawn from the online marketplaces while others persist. In this paper, we investigate the antecedents and outcomes of entrepreneurial persistence in online marketplaces. Using primary survey data and secondary store traffic and trade volume data from a large online marketplace, we find that entrepreneurial persistence enhances performance in online marketplaces. Instrumental support from peer entrepreneurs in the same online community strengthens this positive link. Entrepreneurial passion and sense of belonging to online marketplaces are significant precursors of entrepreneurial persistence. This study advances knowledge development in digital entrepreneurship by offering a systematic investigation of entrepreneurial persistence in online marketplaces. It also provides implications to individual entrepreneurs in terms of how to sustain efforts and succeed, and to platform companies in terms of how to better serve their entrepreneurial sellers.