Preface

Richard Watson

Electronic edition

When the print edition became out-of-print, we applied for the return of copyright and released the book in this electronic format. We removed the more dated material, such as boxed insert examples of the use of the Internet, but otherwise essentially left the book as is because we believe the fundamental ideas are still relevant.

We seek the support of the adopting community to refresh this book. If you have some suggestions for revision, then please contact the chapter editor.

Print edition

Since 1995, the four of us have had a very active program of research on electronic commerce. We have published more than 20 refereed articles on this topic and have collectively given dozens of seminars on electronic commerce in more than 20 countries for a wide range of corporations and universities. We have tested and refined our ideas by working with corporations to develop electronic commerce strategies. The focus of our work has been to address fundamental issues that are common to many business practitioners. Thus, we have frequently emphasized the strategic elements of electronic commerce. In particular, we have explored the impact that Internet technology has on marketing strategy and practice. We have reflected on the feedback provided by many who have attended our seminars, workshops, and classes, and commented on our publications. As a result, we have refined and honed our thinking, and this book represents the culmination of these efforts.

This book reports the results of our research. It is written both for practitioners and business students. Managers wishing to understand how electronic commerce is revolutionizing business will find that our comprehensive coverage of essential business issues (e.g., pricing and distribution) answers many of their questions. Advanced business students (junior, seniors, and graduate students) will find that the blend of academic structure and practical examples provides an engaging formula for learning.

The book’s title reflects some key themes that we develop. First, we are primarily concerned with electronic commerce, which we define as using technology (e.g., the Internet) to communicate or transact with stakeholders (e.g., customers). Second, we discuss how organizations must change in order to take advantage of electronic commerce opportunities. In this sense, our book offers the strategic perspective (i.e., the best way to operate a successful business in the 21st century). Third, with the growing importance of the Internet and related technologies, organizations must take electronic commerce into account when they are creating strategic plans. Thus, electronic commerce is a strategic perspective that all firms must adopt, both in the present and in the future. In other words, an organization that does not explicitly consider electronic commerce as a strategic imperative is probably making a crucial error. Here, we focus primarily on the opportunities and tactics that can lead to success in the electronic marketplace.

We live in exciting times. It is a rare event for an economy to move from one form to another. We are participating in the transition from the industrial to the information age. We all have an opportunity to participate in this historic event. The extent to which you partake in this revolution is determined, in part, by your desire to facilitate change and your understanding of how the new economy operates. We hope this book inspires you to become an electronic commerce change agent and also provides the wherewithal to understand what can be changed and how it can be changed.

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Preface by Richard Watson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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