New perspectives in internet retailing: a review and strategic critique of the field

Doherty, Neil F and Ellis-Chadwick, Fiona (2006). New perspectives in internet retailing: a review and strategic critique of the field. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 34(4/5) pp. 411–428.



Purpose – The primary aim of this paper is to critically review the literature that explicitly addresses the adoption and application of internet technologies, by retailers, for the promotion and sale of merchandise. In particular, this study seeks to present a holistic and critical review of what is currently known, in order to help establish the gaps that will need to be addressed in future research studies.

Design/methodology/approach – The study adopts both quantitative and qualitative approaches to conduct the review, in an attempt to ensure that it is well focused and systematic.

Findings – The key finding of this study is that whilst the internet retailing literature is extremely wide-ranging, and somewhat fragmented, it can be decomposed into three broad categories: the retailer perspective; the consumer perspective; and the technological perspective. Moreover, it has been noted that whilst the strategic potential of the internet is routinely mentioned in nearly all studies of electronic retailing, there have been very few studies that have explicitly or empirically targeted its strategic management.

Research limitations/implications – The major limitation of this study is that due to the sheer volume and fragmentation of the literature in the domain, the paper has been based primarily upon a review of ten key journals, rather than every paper that has been published on internet retailing. However, because the target journals have been carefully chosen and systematically reviewed, we believe that the study should have many important implications for researchers, particularly in terms of where future studies of internet retailing might best be positioned.

Originality/value – This research offers a synthesis of the literature, which provides significant new insights into the field of internet retailing, and in particular its strategic importance.

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