Authors: Stephen Burgess
Addresses: Centre for International Corporate Governance, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne 8001, Australia
Abstract: This paper examines the development of a model to assist small businesses in their online Business-to-Consumer (B2C) interactions with customers, predominantly in relation to determining website content that matches overall business strategy. The model was developed to assist small business owner/managers to plan for the implementation and use of websites for these interactions by encouraging an examination of the business (in the form of a modified SWOT) analysis, where internal factors (such as employee skills levels, available capital and business strategy) and external factors (such as the needs of customers and strategies of competitors) are examined, leading to decisions about appropriate website content for the business. Developed initially between 1998 and 2002, the model is updated to take into account recent developments in the usage of internet technologies. There have been two significant recent developments in relation to small business use of the web. The first relates to the realisation that small businesses will often alter their websites over a period of time. There is some debate as to whether they use a staged approach to develop their websites, starting simple and then adding more complex features as they become more confident – or whether this representation is too simplistic. The second relates to those small businesses that extend their web presence through the |Extended Web|, typically with portal sites that offer extra services such as accommodation booking services or shopping carts. An updated version of the model is presented and an example of its practical conversion into a usable handbook for small businesses is provided. The model is then refined according to responses from a series of interviews with researchers in the small businesses arena.
Keywords: small business; planning; website content; models; business-to-consumer interaction; B2C; business strategy; internet technologies; web presence; web portals; small firms.
International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies, 2008 Vol.2 No.1, pp.128 - 146
Available online: 28 Dec 2007 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article