Editor’s Introduction 7(2)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor-in-Chief
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 7, Number 2, Fall 2002, pp. 5.

The objective of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is identification and acquisition of valuable customers, and the maintenance of a mutually beneficial and expanding relationship with them. Building and continually leveraging a relationship and coordinating all facets of the contact with a customer are the essential aspects of CRM. Identification of relationships not worth maintaining is an aspect as well. Skillful CRM is vital in the setting of e-commerce, where much of a relationship is pursued by inherently impersonal means. The opportunities for expanding relationships and increasing profitability are, of course, enhanced by the multifaceted information technology. Yet, these opportunities will be converted into realities only when the technology is put in the service of appropriate management and operations techniques.

The Special Section on advances in e-commerce CRM (appropriately equipped with the acronym ECCRM), guest-edited and introduced by Jerry Fjermestad and Nicholas C. Romano, Jr., does indeed advance our knowledge in the area. The papers in the special section notably and appropriately focus on the customer’s point of view. They present studies on how to aim for the e-customer’s satisfaction, how to understand that satisfaction, and how to assess it scientifically. The last paper in the section is a very important assessment of the accessibility of Web sites to a large group of customers and stakeholders-the handicapped. In the study, the majority of the sites of the largest U.S. corporations are found wanting in this respect. The paper is more than a scholarly analysis-it is a wake-up call.

In the first paper of the general section, Khawaja A. Saeed, Yujong Hwang, and Varun Grover analyze how the capabilities and advertising of a company’s B2C Web site influence the financial performance of the owner firm. By determining the comparative economic value added, the authors find that there is a synergistic relationship between these two antecedents of business performance.

In the environment of e-commerce and e-government, anonymity, privacy, and security (or a subset of these attributes) can be furnished with blind signatures, which divorce the identity of the signer from the validity of the signature. Schemes for electronic cash and electronic voting rely on such signatures. Group signatures are desirable in organizational applications, where several signers are required to certify an electronic document. In their article, Wen-Shenq Juang, Chin-Laung Lei, and Horng-Twu Liaw present an efficient method for group blind signatures that does not require a central authority. The scheme, however, is capable of being used to advantage in an environment where central authority is otherwise desirable, such as in voting or payment systems.