Introduction to the Special Section: Strategies for Furthering Electronic Commerce

Bob O’Keefe and Claudia Loebbecke, Guest Editors
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 7, Number 1, Fall 2002, pp.91.

Abstract: The evolution of e-commerce continues apace, with new ventures requiring new strategies. The Bled International Conference on Electronic Commerce annually reveals changes in strategies and how these strategies are enacted. The Fourteenth Conference, held in 2001, was no exception. Many of the papers considered the complexity of organizational strategies for integrating the virtual and physical worlds. Both private and public-sector organizations need to leverage their existing physical resources and seamlessly integrate services and channels. Our experience in running the conference suggests that researchers, and certainly paper reviewers, are unwilling to blindly assume that the virtual world is of interest in its own right. People exist largely in the physical world, and they have developed sophisticated means for integrating physical and virtual experiences. The papers selected for this special section reflect this realization.

Two of the best papers presented at the conference are published here. In “The Dynamics of Click-and-Mortar Electronic Commerce: Opportunities and Management Strategies,” Charles Steinfield, Harry Bouwman, and Thomas Adelaar report on a study into how Dutch organizations have combined physical and virtual operations. They develop four categories of “click-and-mortar” synergies: cost savings, improved differentiation, enhanced trust, and market extension. Their framework can be applied to the analysis of other contexts where physical and virtual integration occurs.

“Mustering Consent: Government-Sponsored Virtual Communities and the Incentives for Buy-in,” by Linda Wilkins, Paula M.C. Swatman, and Tanya Castleman, is a detailed study of the on-line export documentation system introduced by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. The paper shows the impact of building a community, and gently handling implementation, when moving a government electronic service into the virtual world.