Editor’s Introduction 26(1)

Vladimir Zwass
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 26, Number 1, 2022, pp. 1-2.

The two papers opening this issue of IJEC investigate the operation of the relatively new modes of consumer-oriented e-commerce. The first of them studies the effectiveness of advertisements over the voice interface of smart speakers. The authors, Kyuhong Park, Yongjin Park, Junyeong Lee, Jae-Hyeon Ahn, and Dongyeon Kim, base their research in the conversational commerce conducted through Amazon Alexa. They study empirically how the voice ads lead (or do not) to brand and product recognition in the context of the specific features of the voice interface. In two lab experiments, the authors offer an early assessment of this rapidly growing ad medium. Among the findings is the prominent role of interactivity and contextual relevance offered by the medium. As the data are accumulated through billions of interactions a day, machine learning techniques will further increase the voice-ad effectiveness and will aim to decrease the annoyance the consumer may experience. Broader empirics with much more data will support further research of the conversational medium.

E-retail is inherently limited by the absence of the direct experience with the product. Or is it? Online retailers have been trying to narrow the gap between the virtuality and the physicality of consumers’ experience with the products. One of the newer business models is Try-Before-You-Buy (TBYB), which in its several varieties allows the consumer to experience the delivered product before committing to a purchase. Obviously, high rates of product returns can undercut the profitability. Increasing the product-acceptance intention of the consumer is a key to the financial performance of the model. Here, Jonathan E. Jackson and Xun Xu study empirically the influence of scarcity on the consumers’ intention to try products under the TBYB model. Basing themselves in the uniqueness theory, the researchers consider scarcity as a multidimensional construct, taking in product, price, and channel scarcity. In their empirically grounded findings of the differential effects of the various aspects of scarcity, the authors are contributing to the scarcity theory and are in a position to offer advice to the retailers adopting the new business model.

The postadoption abandonment of software apps is of concern from an economic point of view, as well as on the considerations of organizational dynamics when it occurs in such a collective setting. A nuanced understanding of the motivators of such abandonment is needed. In the next paper, Brent Furneaux and Lars Rieser ground themselves in the four-drive model of individual motivation to investigate why people abandon the successfully adopted apps. Using a large archival data set, the authors test their hypotheses and recognize several barriers to application abandonment. The results will serve to identify the opportunities for abandonment prevention, as well as contributing to the expansion of the motivation research.

Recommenders are a well-established means of facilitating the access of individual consumers to the products they may be interested in. The design and deployment of recommenders is also a well-established research area, with many significant results already in our knowledge base. Here, Tuan (Kellan) Nguyen and Pei-Fang Hsu study the effectiveness of personalized recommendation as compared to the nonpersonalized and partially personalized ones. Of course, the more personalization, the more data collection, and the more there are well-taken concerns about privacy. The authors use several experiments comparing the personalization alternatives and show that the most personalized recommendations are not necessarily the most helpful ones. The findings are highly meaningful as we step back from the notion of the more data, the better. The results speak to the notion that a contextualized limitation on data collection might be preferable from the performance point of view. Privacy advocacy is well served by these results.

Cross-border e-commerce is growing and will grow further, with this being one of the objectives of e-commerce in general. The international supply chains have become an area of global economic weakness, as opposed to their formerly recognized strength, and their deep exploration will repay. Here, with formal game-theoretic modeling, Xumei Zhang, Xiaoyu Zha, Haiyue Zhang, and Bin Dan investigate the influence of information sharing between the e-retailers and their suppliers under conditions of tax fluctuations. These conditions are indeed endemic and the work is salient. The investigation shows how certain information-sharing strategies in the supply chain can mitigate the negative effects of tax fluctuations. The work contributes to the market theory under disparate taxation, and has practical implications as the tax regimes are in a state of flux.