آمادگی فناوری در زمینه خرده فروشی آنلاین B2B : بررسی نتایج
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23870||2013||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9849 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 42, Issue 6, August 2013, Pages 909–918
This paper develops and empirically tests a model that examines the role of technology readiness (TR) in the business-to-business (B2B) context. The research investigates how retailers' TR, and its antecedents, impacts their evaluation of a credence based B2B service, namely web solution service providers (WSSPs). It responds to previous research calls by extending the TR construct from the business-to-consumer (B2C) perspective that is traditional in the extant literature into the B2B domain. The findings of a survey conducted with 133 firms in the retail industry are that TR is an important contributor to the eventual achievement of service quality and satisfaction. The contributions of this study are; first it develops and validates a measure of TR in a B2B context; second it investigates the antecedents of TR in this domain, demonstrating the impact of past inexperience, industry trust and switching costs on firms' level of technology readiness to adopt online operations; and third, it finds that service quality and satisfaction are outcomes of TR. The key management implication for WSSPs is the need to address the TR levels of existing and potential clients if they wish to deliver successful e-business solutions to them. Their clients' TR can be better managed by making the offering more easily understood, building relational rapport, reducing risk perceptions and adopting a client centric perspective throughout the process.
Evans and Wurster (1997, p.71) predicted that the Internet would represent the ‘most important wave in the information revolution’. Arguably this prediction has become a reality: the Internet's commercial influence is highly visible in the retail industry, where online shopping has shifted from a minority to a mainstream activity in less than two decades, and online retailing is predicted to continue to expand rapidly in the future (Experian, 2012 and Mulpuru, 2011). As a result, increasing numbers of retailers have responded to these changes in shopping behavior by building web stores and enhancing the online shopping experience they offer, so as to attract and to retain customers in this highly interactive channel (Doherty & Ellis-Chadwick, 2010a). But to succeed in the Internet arena, online retailers need access to appropriate resources and capabilities: as these often cannot be sourced internally, they may seek the expertise they need externally, often from third party web solution service providers (WSSPs). Retailers rely on such service providers to make up for their internal skills shortages, and so need to develop strong relationships with them if their online ambitions are to succeed (Ellis-Chadwick, Doherty, & Anastasakis, 2007). But, in utilizing such external expertise to compensate for capabilities they lack internally, retailers are exposed to potential risks associated with their choice of third party service partners. Moreover, acquiring this type of external expertise is far from straightforward. As the web industry is still in the early stages of development, there are a complex range of web solution services available, a shortage of skilled web developers and programmers and a general lack of structural assurances, safeguards, guarantees and lines of legal recourse (Chien et al., 2012 and Del Aguila-Obra and Padilla-Melendez, 2006). So, while employing external expertise can deliver positive benefits for small and medium sized retailers by acting as a mechanism that can deliver greater profitability, achieve better competitive positioning online and lower the cost of developing an online presence within constrained budgets (Ray and Ray, 2006 and Wagner and Sutter, 2012), there are also potential negative outcomes. For example, retailers can experience a perceived loss of control of their online web operations and/or loss of ownership of their intellectual property when dealing with WSSPs. This can increase their perceived switching costs and potentially create a lack of trust between the retailer and the WSSP (Li, Pienkowski, Moorsel, & Smith, 2011). Such uncertainties highlight the importance of the success of the retailer–WSSP relationship, as it is likely to have a significant impact on the former's online performance and longer term success. The service provided by the WSSP can be seen as a credence based service, since it is difficult for the retailer to evaluate due to their own lack of expertise and experience in the online arena. Previous research on technology readiness in the manufacturer–retailer dyad (Richey and Autry, 2009 and Richey et al., 2007) has suggested that business interactions and exchanges were easier to coordinate where there was a good technology ‘fit’ between the two. Technology readiness at the firm level implies that the firm possesses the inclination to embrace, and the ability to use, relevant new technological assets (Parasuraman, 2000 and Richey et al., 2008) — in the specific context of this study, web related technologies. Richey et al. (2008) posit that, from the retailers' perspective, information technology is almost worthless if management is not ready for its implementation. Where retailers and service providers are compatible in terms of technological readiness both parties are likely to enjoy greater payoffs. In essence, if retailers are more ‘technology ready’ they will be better able to appreciate the potential benefits WSSPs could offer in supporting their retail efforts, and so are likely to be more satisfied with the relationship. In turn, this implies that WSSPs can build and develop retailers' technology readiness by increasing their experience of such services, which will also serve to increase industry level trust for this relatively new credence based service. This study focuses on the fit between retailers and their external WSSPs by looking at the impact of past inexperience, industry trust and switching costs on technology readiness, and then the effect these antecedents have on small and medium-sized retailers' evaluations of their web developments. This industry sector was chosen as such organizations have often been found to be relatively late adopters of new technology, adopting a “wait and see” attitude to developing online retail channels (Del Aguila-Obra and Padilla-Melendez, 2006 and Weltevreden and Boschma, 2008). Previous Internet retail research has largely focused on the behavior of large firms and on consumers' interactions with virtual shopping environments (Doherty & Ellis-Chadwick, 2010b), rather than exploring issues associated with how businesses get online, and how they develop the technology solutions needed to create and manage retail web sites. The next section of this paper examines the literature on credence based services and the antecedents and outcomes of technology readiness. This analysis of the existing literature provides a platform for creating a conceptual model on which to base the research hypotheses. A succinct discussion of the study's research methodology follows, after which structural equation modeling is used to test the research hypotheses and the results reported and discussed. Finally, the management implications and limitations of this study are considered, along with suggestions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results demonstrate that past inexperience, industry trust and switching costs are significant antecedents of firms' TR. In the case of the past inexperience construct, the complexity and ambiguity inherent in credence-based professional services create difficulties for both buyers and suppliers of such services. Difficulties arise for buyers who may have limited knowledge or experience with this type of service – which can make small firms vulnerable to opportunism – while a lack of capital and the skill set to develop their own web solutions increases their need to rely on third party providers who have the necessary capabilities. The model confirms that retailers with limited experience of setting up online channels are less ready to embrace web solution services. This is to be expected, given that these firms' are likely to perceive higher levels of risk associated with technology adoption, and perhaps also consider those risks as being greater than the potential benefits. Recent research also highlights how inexperience is considered a liability that can limit small firms' ability to grow and develop innovative opportunities (Heimonen, 2012), while Sila and Dobni (2012), studying small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) adopting Internet based supply chain integration, found that ‘e-laggards’ – firms that were slow to adopt – were skeptical about the technology and had less trust in their trading partners. Industry trust was found to be positively related to technology readiness, and also to be the most significant antecedent of those studied. Firms operating in emerging industry sectors, such as those utilizing web technologies, may perceive heightened risk and uncertainty about them, and this uncertainty is augmented by small firms' unfamiliarity with assessing and using the web channel as a route to market. This in turn increases their need for strategic guidance and reassurance from business partners – such as specialist technology solution services – if they are to reduce their perceptions of risk and embrace market development opportunities to meet increasing customer demands. Firms that feel they are operating in a safe, secure environment will feel less inhibited by discomfort or insecurity with setting out to use the web as a market channel. The option exists in all buyer/supplier relationships for the buyer to exit the relationship and switch providers if the service being delivered is unsatisfactory. In such cases, firms will incur some form of switching costs, which research suggests can be perceived positively or negatively depending on the source of constraints (Jones et al., 2007). The research results show that switching costs have a positive and significant relationship with technology readiness, indicating that they are seen as an important precursor of firms' willingness to embrace web technology services. The volatility inherent in a fast moving industry such as web services may be factor in the decision of firms with higher perceived switching costs to be more technology ready. It has also been suggested that the significance of switching costs can vary depending on product characteristics and industry structures (Edward & Sahadev, 2011). In the highly fragmented and diverse web industry, customized web based solutions have certain idiosyncratic characteristics, which are not easily imitated or transferable, and thus tend to lock retailers in to their current service providers. Firms may find it difficult to compare potential providers on a like-for-like basis in such uncertain and complex environments, and research has also suggested that the cognitive and psychological efforts involved in seeking an alternative provider will tend to prevent buyers leaving such relationships (Pavlou & Gefen, 2004). The findings reveal the significant role played by technology readiness in retailers' perceptions about the levels of service quality and satisfaction in credence based business services. From a theoretical perspective, adoption and validation of the INDSERV scale extends and deepens understanding of service quality in an emerging service industry. The significance of service quality's relationship with TR and satisfaction strongly indicates that future studies investigating credence based professional services should include the service quality construct. B2B web services are a complex field, and web related technologies are inherently uncertain and ambiguous, so providers have been strongly advised to implement strategies – before, during and after service purchase – to ensure the successful delivery of high quality services and thus satisfactory customer outcomes (Gounaris, 2005). Furthermore, the use of Geyskens and Steenkamp's (2000) conceptualization of satisfaction, in terms of economic gains, underlines the significance of the financial rewards retailers perceive in staying with providers who deliver high standard services. This measure of satisfaction is important for retailers as it allows them to access specific diagnostic information for evaluating the services they received. The empirical data provides important insights into the applicability of TR in an online B2B retail context. The validation of the TR construct in this research confirms its suitability in a B2B context, and contributes to understanding TR from a small firm perspective, which has been under researched, as well as addressing the calls for research to develop a measure of ‘readiness for technology’ at the firm level (Palmer, Ellinger, Allaway, & D'Sousa, 2012). This type of research can generate strategic insights which are much needed, given the numbers of organizations adopting the web as a business channel to gain or maintain a competitive advantage in crowded market spaces. From a public policy perspective, governments worldwide are trying to enhance the competitiveness of their economies. Knowing which organizations are more ready to adopt new technologies, such as the Internet, can enable them to target their support to those organizations who can deliver real economic value.