Editor’s Introduction 7(3)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor-in-Chief
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 7, Number 3, Spring 2003, pp. 5.

Abstract: We have reached the first decade of Internet-driven e-commerce. There have been clear disappointments, many of them a consequence of unrealistic expectations combined with looking to short time horizons. There has also developed a vast field of practical pursuit, of academic study, and of tangible, sizable, and rapidly growing economic benefits. In the opening paper of this issue, I offer an analysis of the field, systematized into a framework that classifies its activity domains into commerce, collaboration, communication, connection, and computation. This 5Cs framework further describes the specific aspects of the Web-Internet compound that present extensive opportunities for organizational innovation within the domains. The examples of successful practice and references to some of the leading research show a thriving field of practical pursuit and scholarship.

The other papers in this issue concentrate on the underperforming, though highly visible, B2C commerce segment of e-commerce, also known as e-retail (or e-tailing, to some). In the first of these, Sukekyu Lee, Fred Zufryden, and Xavier Drèze present an empirical study of consumer switching behavior across Web portals-and thus of the desirable obverse of switching, consumer loyalty. The authors offer practical suggestions for identifying consumer segments that are likely to be attracted to a site and, beyond that, for expanding the attraction. Although the study was performed in the context of portals (the data for which are more readily available), many of its results are transferable to other consumer-oriented sites.

Youlong Zhuang and Albert L. Lederer have developed and validated an instrument to be used for evaluating the business benefits of e-retailing. As they describe it in their paper, the instrument consists of 27 items that fall into five categories of benefits. The resulting survey can be used to assess the outcomes of corporate e-retail initiatives. It will also serve to further refine and expand the methods of benefit assessment in e-commerce.

The two subsequent papers describe closely related models of consumer acceptance of e-commerce by integrating the use factors of the well-known technology acceptance model (TAM) with the environmental factors of trust (or its deficit) and uncertainty that are operative in the B2C environment. Paul A. Pavlou introduces into his model the factors of trust and perceived risk, and validates the model with two U.S. samples. Bomil Suh and Ingoo Han unpack the trust construct, which they combine with TAM variables, and validate their model with a sample of Korean customers of e-banking. The juxtaposition of the two studies helps us to better understand the behavior of e-consumers. The key drivers identified in the models will no doubt be refined and expanded in further work.