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E-commerce for SMEs: empirical insights from three countries

Asghar Afshar Jahanshahi (Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Stephen X. Zhang (Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Alexander Brem (School of Business and Economics University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Nuremberg, Germany)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 28 October 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this paper is to study the benefits that an Asian company can achieve by using e-commerce. Another objective is to identify and rank the barriers influencing the application of e-commerce by innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India, Malaysia, and Iran

Design/methodology/approach

The survey design uses a sample of 601 SMEs from three countries. In this study, data were collected by sending out questionnaires electronically and by mail. The Friedman test is used to analyse questionnaire data in conjunction with SPSS 16 software.

Findings

The results indicate that an “enhanced company brand and corporate image” is the most important e-commerce advantage from the perspective of East Asian SMEs, whereas “doubts about the security and privacy” is the most important barrier.

Research limitations/implications

Differences between the three countries in terms of electronic structure and infrastructure are the most important limitations for the study.

Practical implications

As the company brand and the image of the company are very important in this region, companies should strategically invest into these areas. Nowadays, in times of social media, this is not as cost intensive as it was ten years before. So particularly, SMEs have a good chance to succeed in this area.

Originality/value

This paper offers researchers a broader and more comprehensive view of the benefits of and barriers to electronic commerce application by SMEs. Researchers, educators, and practitioners will benefit from this paper. The analyses are more complex and varied than the methodologies used in most of the limited previous research.

Keywords

Citation

Jahanshahi, A.A., Zhang, S.X. and Brem, A. (2013), "E-commerce for SMEs: empirical insights from three countries", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 849-865. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-03-2012-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited