Sustainable competitive advantage of internet firms

Rajshekhar (Raj) G. Javalgi (Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)
Lori P. Radulovich (Baldwin‐Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, USA)
Glenna Pendleton (Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)
Robert F. Scherer (Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 1 December 2005



At the core of an international marketing strategy is the internet firm's goal of building and sustaining a competitive advantage. The purpose of this paper is to present an integrative framework to explain the role that customer behavior and customer relationship management (CRM) play in developing a profitable, sustainable competitive advantage for internet companies.


The integrative framework utilizes existing theoretical concepts from the areas of strategy and internet marketing and develops a framework to provide firms with insights into how they can gain the competitive advantage.


This paper links global customer behavior to the firms' business value chain and provides guidelines for strategic implications. In this conceptual paper, it is discussed that understanding consumer decision‐making behavior on the web and managing these relationships are critically important to achieve a superior performance.

Research limitations/implications

This is not empirical research. A theoretical model is presented for future testing by researchers using statistical techniques such as structural equation modeling.

Practical implications

The framework provides managerial insights into building and sustaining a competitive advantage using a consumer‐centric approach, coupled with CRM technology on a global scale. Managerial value is derived by providing an understanding of the link between a sustainable competitive advantage, customer‐focused strategies, consumers' needs and wants, the firm's performance, and shareholder value.


It is important for global marketers to understand how consumer decision‐making on the web affects strategic and financial performance. This paper extends the current literature by integrating consumer decision behavior on the web, CRM, and the firms' performance. This framework explains the creation of a sustainable competitive advantage using customer‐focused strategies to develop customer loyalty for superior firm performance.



Javalgi, R., Radulovich, L., Pendleton, G. and Scherer, R. (2005), "Sustainable competitive advantage of internet firms", International Marketing Review, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 658-672.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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