Focus of e-business has Shifted
We can no longer define a company's assets in terms of property, equipment and inventory.
The intangible elements, including
- customer loyalty and
- personalized service
have now become central to the business of e-business.
Change has become continuous, and production continues to evolve.
Despite the early fascination with dot-com companies, there is a growing recognition that the Internet is unlikely
to displace traditional channels anytime soon, at least in the world of business-to-consumer (B2C) commerce, with the exception of Amazon.com.
Rather, many traditional enterprises have moved to integrate e-commerce into their channel mix, using the Internet to supplement existing brick-and-mortar retail channels.
Electronic commerce researchers now consider the combination of physical and Web channels to be a distinct electronic commerce business model, most commonly referring to it as a "click-and-brick" or "click-and-mortar" approach.
Click and Brick
In this module, a broad overview of the "click-and-brick" approach to e-commerce is provided. The focus is on the use of the click-and-brick approach by firms selling consumer products and services via a combination of physical
and Internet retail channels, given the relative prevalence of this situation in the e-commerce arena. Much of the discussion is also relevant to other types of companies that rely on both Internet and physical channels, such as those
involved in education and health care. In the first section, a brief look at the current e-commerce situation highlights the overall importance of taking an integrated brick-and-click approach to e-commerce development.
A detailed examination of the sources of synergy between traditional and Internet-based channels is provided. The next section introduces the dangers of product and channel conflict and points out possible management
strategies to improve channel integration. The last section highlights the potential benefits that firms may reap when pursuing a more integrated approach to e-commerce.
Finally, the module closes with several conclusions regarding the importance of the click-and- brick approach in electronic commerce research and practice.
Recently, the focus of e-commerce has shifted from B2C ecommerce to the effective use of e-commerce tools to make business processes and B2B relationships more efficient.
While practitioners are realizing this potential for using the internet to build profitable,
long-term relationships with their trading partners, this topic has not received consideration from academic circles.
In addition, the value of a high quality relationship, particularly the relationship between a service provider and their customers, is
noteworthy in the service sector.
Customers often rely on the credibility of service providers and their previous experiences with them due
largely to the intangible nature of services. Furthermore, the production of many services requires that customers and service providers
interact with one another.
Customers' perceptions of the quality of the relationship with a service provider may be commensurate with the quality of the service itself.
Therefore, a strong relationship between customers and the service provider brings about trust that is necessary for customers to commit to the service.
We argue that relationship quality between trading partners and their business performance is enhanced through the use of the internet, with the internet affecting technical bonds more than social bonds. In the last six years, internet marketing
literature has increased dramatically as a result of the rapid adoption of the internet in marketing.
The bulk of the early practitioner's literature on internet marketing was aimed at telling entrepreneurs how to go about establishing a place in the cyber market space, such as how to set up a web page.
In the 1990s, academic attention focused on the revolutionary impact of internet technologies on the marketing discipline.