Part IV. CRM in Business-to-Consumer Commerce

By | February 9, 2018

 

Chapter 9: What Makes Customers Shop Online? Na Li and Ping Zhang

 

Addressing the question of what makes customers shop online, the authors conducted an analytical review of the IS literature on consumer online shopping beliefs, affective reac- tions, attitudes, intentions, behaviors, and satisfaction. They developed a classification of research variables and a framework for online shopping to provide an overview of the state of the art in this area and to point out limitations and directions for future research. Their results suggest that there are ten types of variables: external environment, consumer demographics, personal characteristics, e-store characteristics, beliefs about online shopping phenomena, affective reactions, attitudes toward online shopping behavior, intentions to shop online, shop- ping behavior, and satisfaction. Important “external” factors and psychological constructs  that may directly or indirectly impact customers’ intention, behavior, and satisfaction are revealed in this chapter. These findings would help electronic store owners, e-commerce Web site designers, and other e-commerce shareholders to target more appropriate consumer groups, improve product and service quality, and design better e-commerce Web sites. This study also identifies possible gaps in the research stream and potential opportunities for future research.

 

Chapter 10: Toward Achieving Customer Satisfaction in Online Grocery Shopping: Lessons Learned from Australian and Swiss Cases, Sherah Kurnia and Petra Schubert

 

Kurnia and Schubert in their study of online grocers report that their e-commerce applications do not meet the expectations of their customers. They suggest that both Australia and Switzerland lack an acceptable degree of sophistication in Web site design. In order to increase the consumers’ satisfaction level, the designers need to better understand consumers’ expectations and improve the performance of their Web sites accordingly.

 

INFORMATION SYSTEMS CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT: ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

 

As we complete the editing of this volume, we find that a fair number of issues and chal- lenges remain for researchers and practitioners alike. Significant and important advances  have been made. In this section we discuss some issues and challenges that have received  little attention in academia and industry yet offer new directions for continued inquiry into eCRM. Among the many topics that could be discussed, we have selected the following: resistance and usability; integration of CRM with enterprise systems and processes; blending of the three areas of CRM; and the need for increased collaboration between IS-CRM re- search and other areas such as marketing.

 

Resistance and Usability

 

Rosen (2001) asserts that eCRM involves people, processes, and technology. Both people and processes are vital to success. How then should we design systems that focus on people and processes? Two sets of IS principles can aid in this regard: usability and resistance. We  are  surprised that more  firms  have  not  focused on  these two important areas during eCRM

 

 

implementations, in light of what Atkinson (1993) pointed out more than a decade ago—that in 80 percent of total quality management initiatives in the area of customer-supplier rela- tionships, resistance to change was a key factor leading to failure to reap full benefits—and   in light of the recent suggestion by AMR research analysts that poorly designed user inter- faces and employee resistance are major factors leading to eCRM failures (McKenzie 2001). We believe that researchers and practitioners alike should consider usability frameworks (Gould and Lewis 1985; Nielsen 1992) and Markus’s (1983) resistance model for eCRM implemen- tations. We need to study whether and how resistance and usability (or lack there of) contrib- ute to eCRM implementation failures and to develop and test methods to overcome these potential barriers to  success (Fjermestad and  Romano 2003).

 

Integration of CRM with Other Enterprise Systems

 

Bartolacci and Maxell (2005) start to address this issue in Chapter 2 of this monograph, but integration with enterprise systems is much larger in scope than what they discuss. Organizations will want to continue to reduce costs and lead times. A key objective of many Fortune 1000 companies is to build a “chain” of suppliers that will maximize customer value. This leads to the integration of all activities within and between enterprises, including:

 

  • procurement of materials and services (purchasing, outsourcing-relationship management)
  • transformation of materials and services into intermediate and final goods (production–MRP, ERP)
  • delivery to customers (transportation)
  • data collection, data transmission, storage and analysis (data warehousing, business intelli- gence, data mining, knowledge management).

 

In essence this is the concept of “mass customization” and e-commerce linked together. Zwass (2003) proposed an aspect-opportunity framework consisting of domain activities of commerce, collaboration, communication, connection, and computation. This commerce–cus- tomer–supply chain linkage can become a continual source of innovative products and ser- vices. Shaw (2000) also suggested that e-business is a threefold framework consisting of supply chain management, the back office (ERP), and CRM. The three functions are integrated and coordinated through infrastructure management, knowledge management, and channel man- agement.

The issues that organizational management must deal with in terms of an integrated enterprise system include:

 

  • Sufficient flexibility to react to sudden changes in parts availability, distribution or shipping channels, import duties, currency rates—agility;
  • Ability to use the latest computer and transmission technology to schedule and manage the shipment of parts in and finished products out; and
  • Staffing with local specialists to handle duties, trade, freight, customs, and political

 

Integration of Analytical, Operational, and Collaborative CRM

 

Gefen and Ridings (2002) discussed three types of CRM: operational; analytical; and collaborative. Operational CRM attempts to create seamless integration between back-office transaction process-

 

 

ing and customer interfaces to the firm (Gefen and Ridings 2002). Analytical CRM empowers orga- nizations to analyze customer relationships through data and text mining (Gefen and Ridings 2002). Collaborative CRM enables organizations to intimately communicate with select customers, suppli- ers, and business partners (Kobayashi et al. 1998). Researchers have begun to explore all three of these areas independently. However, just as CRM applications must be integrated with other enter- prise systems and processes, so too must these three types of CRM be integrated more seamlessly in order for the full potential of any one of them to be achieved. Presently, researchers in the three areas seldom collaborate. They publish their work in some of the same conferences and journals, but with a different focus that isolates rather than unifying them as CRM researchers. To our knowledge little research has explored how to integrate these three CRM application areas. We believe that develop- ment of conceptual models and overarching CRM architectures would be a first step toward integra- tion of all three into a cohesive whole that addresses all of the organization’s needs in this area.

 

Interfaces with Other Disciplines

 

Like many areas of IS research and practice, CRM attracts researchers and practitioners from multiple disciplines including computer science (CS), marketing, management, and even sociol- ogy and psychology. However, we do not believe there is significant CRM research project col- laboration across the boundaries of these disciplines, especially among IS, marketing, and management, all of which are usually in the same college of business. This lack of concerted collaboration leads to some insularity in each discipline and impedes their progress toward the ultimate goal—that of helping firms do a better job establishing, developing, and maintaining profitable relationships with customers.

In order for CRM research to have the greatest impact on practice and future research, researchers from these various fields need to collaborate more closely. Newer journals that are not specifically targeted at any one field, such as the International Journal of Electronic Commerce, the Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, and the Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations, do publish articles by researchers from various fields, such as marketing, IS, CS and management, but the majority of those articles have authors all from the same field. We believe that articles authored by researchers in different disciplines will have the greatest potential for impact in all fields, as they draw from the experience of each. For example, two marketing researchers, Shapiro and Mittal, teamed up with an IS researcher, Romano, to explore the synergies between the two disciplines in their paper “Emergent internet technologies for relationship marketing: assessing the buyer’s perspective,” published in the Journal of Relationship Marketing (Shapiro et al. 2003). We hope to see more such multidisciplinary CRM  papers in  the near future.

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