The main object of this research paper is to analyse the dynamic internationalisation process in small retailing firms, achieved on the basis of electronic commerce – a combination that has seldom been investigated. An analysis of dynamic internationalisation in companies presumes that the businesses concerned are observed over a longer period of time, which is why the paper focuses on the case of one specific company.
The basis of the analysis is a theory‐based framework which refers to two opposing approaches in international management, namely the incremental, experiential learning perspective, and the revolutionary perspective. The framework and the case study look specifically at market‐oriented, supply side‐oriented, and management processes. Based on an extended case study on a small, born‐global firm, the many facets of increasing professionalisation have been documented.
The paper shows that small, niche‐oriented companies can be successful internationally and achieve growth. The process of dynamic internationalisation is both incremental and revolutionary. The special feature in the present case lies in the fact that the small company was able to internationalise via electronic commerce, which was possible without capital investments and in‐depth foreign activities, unlike other forms of internationalisation, which is already evident from other small retailers on the web. Blue Tomato succeeded in reaching cross‐national market segments, with a specific scene orientation and which also share snowboarders' attitude to life, by means of inter‐active scene relationship management. This focused scene orientation is one of the key differences compared with other catalogue retailers, especially larger ones.
The originality of the paper lies in the fact that the subject of internationalisation is investigated particularly from the point of view of small retail companies. This contrasts with many other papers focusing on large retailing companies. In addition, the paper looks at the dynamic perspective of internationalisation and change processes. The present paper could be a small step towards gaining an understanding of international change based on electronic commerce.
Foscht, T., Swoboda, B. and Morschett, D. (2006), "Electronic commerce‐based internationalisation of small, niche‐oriented retailing companies: The case of Blue Tomato and the Snowboard industry", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 7, pp. 556-572. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550610673626Download as .RIS
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