Editor’s Introduction 6(2)

cite>International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 6, Number 2, Winter 2001-2002, pp. 5.

Customer relationship management (CRM) focuses on providing quality service for customers over the long run. It focuses, indeed, on ensuring that the appropriate customers will stay with the firm for a long run. The name itself contrasts the relational approach to the customer with the transactional approach. CRM is vital in the setting of e-commerce. In our definition of e-commerce, maintaining business relationships precedes conducting business transactions. Transactions are an outcome of relationships. Electronic commerce customer relationship management (ECCRM), which is the subject of the Special Section that opens this issue, rests on a variety of technological opportunities for acquiring and maintaining extensive data about customers, establishing customized extranets to serve other businesses, and exploiting the means to purely digital commerce, such as XML. However, as we know, the technology can be exploited only in the context of well-crafted and integrated business processes that take advantage of it. Yes, we knew full well early on that a Web customer can be served by another supplier only a few clicks away. It is the objective of ECCRM to give the lie to this simplistic notion. The guest editors of the Special Section on ECCRM, Nicholas Romano and Jerry Fjermestad, have included here an empirical investigation of the dimensions of Web site quality as perceived by customers and a study that seeks a unified understanding of trust in e-commerce. Very usefully, they have also provided an assessment of the current state of research on ECCRM, to serve as the point of departure for much future work that needs to be done.

The first paper in the general section of this issue of IJEC extends the theme of the Special Section by examining empirically certain aspects of consumer behavior on the Web. The authors, Marios Koufaris, Ajit Kambil, and the late Priscilla Ann LaBarbera, find marked differences in the behavior and experience of new and repeat customers. Their work shows that repeat customers generally become loyal customers-certainly a desirable outcome. A number of specific factors that can help in providing effective selling sites on the Web are discussed in the study.

E-commerce security, like any complete security system, rests on a variety of technological and administrative measures. The authors of the next paper remind us that economic disincentives to security breaches can be a vital security means in the appropriate settings. Incentive compatibility is at the heart of the mechanism that Wenli Wang, Zoltán Hidvégi, and Andrew B. Whinston propose for sealed-bid auctions. As things stand now, the lack of authentication can be exploited in such auctions to offer multiple bids under false identities or to bid for one’s own offering under a false identity in order to drive up the price. The authors present a refined auction protocol for sealed-bid auctions of multiple units of identical goods. There is no incentive to submit false-name bids under the protocol, and it is computationally feasible. This important work sets out a new approach to e-commerce security.