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Unlocking e-commerce potential: micro and small enterprises strike back in the food and beverage industry

Luca Simone Macca (Department of Management, University of Turin, Torino, Italy)
Nazia Shehzad (Faculty of Business, Liwa College, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Maria Kovacova (Faculty of Operation and Economics of Transport and Communications, Zilina, Slovakia)
Gabriele Santoro (Department of Management, University of Turin, Torino, Italy) (Department of Industrial Systems Management, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 11 January 2024

283

Abstract

Purpose

The recent pandemic period (COVID-19), while negatively impacting many companies, has contributed to the growth and adoption of online platforms such as marketplaces and e-commerce. This environment has led many companies, which previously acted only through offline channels, to adopt new technologies and online channels and develop new e-commerce strategies. Small and micro enterprises are most vulnerable due to their limited resources and lack of capabilities. For this reason, the main objective of this paper is to unveil the e-commerce implementation capabilities that micro and small enterprises should build and the challenges they must face when managing an e-commerce strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted an inductive qualitative research design approach focused on multiple case studies. The firms operate in the food and beverage industry.

Findings

The findings identify several e-commerce implementation capabilities that micro and small enterprises operating in the food and beverage industry should build to manage e-commerce strategies. These are related to outsourcing management, multichannel management, time management, internal stock management and marketplace choice. Moreover, the paper identifies key e-commerce implementation challenges these firms must cope with. These regard distribution management, potential loss of control, fresh product management and lack of resources, time and capabilities.

Originality/value

This research shows that proper capacity management in the implementation of micro and small enterprises e-commerce strategies is critical to achieving efficient results and preventing challenges that threaten such strategies. The research offers guidelines and frameworks for micro and small enterprises to understand how to manage e-commerce and face its challenges.

Keywords

Citation

Macca, L.S., Shehzad, N., Kovacova, M. and Santoro, G. (2024), "Unlocking e-commerce potential: micro and small enterprises strike back in the food and beverage industry", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-01-2023-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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