Information technology and electronic commerce: Attributes of emerging online business

Joanne Lavine Silverstein, Syracuse University


This research identified and described attributes of online business, from the perspective of managers who market products or services on the World Wide Web.

Data were collected from twenty-four interviews with representatives of nineteen online businesses. The use of analytic induction allowed patterns to emerge and enabled the identification and description of attributes of online business. Findings provide a basis on which future research can build, and contribute to the field in several ways.

First, the research identified and described thirty seven attributes of online business. Second, it identified and defined the models of online brokers and retailers, a distinction that will allow researchers and practitioners to understand more about the online business environment. Third, the research linked the literatures of marketing and economics, redefined basic terms, and provided a shared vocabulary with which to view the findings. Fourth, implications about product attributes, intermediation, relationship marketing and market position were presented for Web-oriented strategic planning. Implications address questions such as: (1) How will the shift to electronic markets affect business? (2) Will online business change the role of value chain intermediaries? (3) Are new methods emerging to evaluate outcomes of online business?

Finally, the findings contributed to management, electronic commerce, marketing and communications, and apprised researchers of the increasing importance of information technology to their realms of study.