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E-commerce strategies and corporate performance: an empirical investigation

Pedro Marcelo Torres (School of Economics, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
João Veríssimo Lisboa (School of Economics, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
Mahmoud M. Yasin (Department of Management & Marketing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 14 October 2014




The purpose of this study is twofold. First, the relevant literature is reviewed briefly to provide a strategic context of the different views on strategy development. In the process, the linkages between the e-commerce view of strategy and previous views are explored. As such, the perspectives of different schools of thought on strategy are briefly highlighted. Second, the different dimensions of the e-commerce strategy and their impact on organizational performance are investigated.


A survey integrating different theoretical views of value creation was developed and sent to Portuguese e-commerce firms to assess the underlying dimensions of their strategies through factorial analysis. Then, a clustering analysis was performed to determine strategic groups to compare corporate performance.


Three e-commerce dimensions were identified: marketing, innovation and efficiency. Results of data analysis suggest that differentiation factors have impact on corporate performance in the context of virtual markets.

Research limitations/implications

Although the Portuguese specific nature of the study could be seen as a limitation of the generalization of the findings, in the authors’ view, it is not truly a limitation because Portuguese executives face the same challenges that other countries counterparts, due to the universal application of e-commerce. Moreover, the use of a Portuguese sample validates findings from other cultural settings, contributing toward a unified theory and testing its applicability. In this way, it is an opportunity rather then a limitation.

Practical implications

The research identifies what is strategic and highlights the competitive methods that enhance differentiation in virtual markets, which could be useful as a framework for strategic formulation. Moreover, it provides a theoretical rational for investments in intangible assets.


The development of a survey to assess e-commerce strategies and the identification of the e-commerce strategic dimensions are the main contributions of this research, which highlights the importance of differentiation factors in virtual markets.



Marcelo Torres, P., Veríssimo Lisboa, J. and M. Yasin, M. (2014), "E-commerce strategies and corporate performance: an empirical investigation", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 463-481.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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