Ecommerce: Channel or Strategy? Insights from a Comparative Case Study

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Xie, Kang; Xiao, Jinghua; Wu, Yao; Hu, Qing
article description
The transformation of traditional offline operations into digitally integrated offline-online environment has been a difficult challenge for firms from both operational and strategic perspectives, and has become a major topic of research for scholars. We conducted a comparative case study to explore an emerging trend – the convergence of offline and online operations and strategies. This study extends disruptive innovation theory by emphasizing the interactive effect between firms and customers on organizational innovation in the ecommerce environment. We demonstrate that treating online ecommerce as a channel innovation is an essential problem that pushes many traditional firms into a transformational dilemma. We further explore two successful transformational paths and strategies used by our case firms: the resource-complement sustaining renewal and the resource-substitute disruptive renewal. This study provides a theoretical understanding and a practical guide to firms that transform from traditional offline mode to digital online/offline mode.