Title: Cross-channel cooperation: on the collaborative integration of online and offline business models of e-entrepreneurs and traditional SMEs

Authors: Tobias Kollmann, Matthias Hasel

Addresses: E-Business and E-Entrepreneurship Research Group, Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems (ICB), University of Duisburg Essen, Universitatsstrasse 9, 45141 Essen, Germany. ' E-Business and E-Entrepreneurship Research Group, Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems (ICB), University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitatsstrasse 9, 45141 Essen, Germany

Abstract: Owing to the rapid growth of the internet, the corresponding Net Economy has evolved into an established trade level. It is characterised by numerous entrepreneurial firms equipped with innovative online business models. Also, traditional firms increasingly utilise the internet in order to optimise business processes and reach customer segments. Technological advances and changes in customer behaviour imply that the physical and the electronic trade levels are increasingly used complementarily. In order to be successful on both trade levels, Real and Net Economy firms inevitably need to approach each other. In this article, we argue that for e-entrepreneurs and traditional SMEs, collaborative concepts represent an ideal way of meeting the resulting requirements. Cross-channel cooperation enables firms to integrate online and offline business models without extending themselves beyond their means or competencies. Drawing on market- and resource-based considerations, we examine the rationale behind collaborative cross-channel strategies, propose a classification of cooperation forms and give implications for e-entrepreneurs and managers of traditional SMEs.

Keywords: cross-channel cooperation; channels; internet; offline business models; online business models; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; e-entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship; collaboration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2008.018629

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2008 Vol.6 No.2, pp.212 - 229

Published online: 02 Jun 2008 *

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