Benchmarking the implementation of E-Commerce A Case Study Approach
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The purpose of this thesis was to develop a guideline to support the implementation of E-Commerce with E-Commerce benchmarking. Because of its importance as an interface with the customer, web-site benchmarking has been a widely researched topic. However, limited research has been conducted on benchmarking E-Commerce across other areas of the value chain. Consequently this thesis aims to extend benchmarking into E-Commerce related subjects. The literature review examined two main bodies of theory, E-Commerce and benchmarking. lt became clearly apparent that a gap in the literature existed for E-Commerce benchmarking. To address this gap, a single-case-study exploratory methodology has been applied. The case study method was considered most suitable for this research given the exploratory nature of the research aim and question as well as the potential for new insights to be gained from the samples. Three sub-studies have been applied within this single-case-study exploratory design. In study 1, 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore possible themes related to E-Commerce, benchmarking and E-Commerce benchmarking. Those themes were included in study 2, the exploratory quantitative questionnaire survey. 146 responses were analyzed in this phase. In study 3, six expert interviews were executed to explore potential themes based on the research of the first two studies. The data analysis of this thesis included descriptive statistics and a mixture of grounded and content analysis. There were a number of important findings that emerged from this research. Firstly, E-Commerce benchmarking is mostly executed as web-site benchmarking, customer surveys and basic top line indicators like the E-Share. Secondly, exchange of best practices, target setting, customer satisfaction and competitive advantage emerged as benefits from E-Commerce benchmarking. Thirdly, there are two distinct differences between E-Commerce benchmarking and traditional bench marking: (1) higher frequency and (2) types of indicators. Fourthly, external benchmarking, process benchmarking and additional indicators were identified as appropriate avenues of benchmarking E-Commerce. The contribution of this thesis relates to extending current literature on E-Commerce benchmarking. Furthermore, a guideline for the implementation of E-Commerce benchmarking is provided. In summary it is proven that the implementation of E-Commerce can and needs to be benchmarked.
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