Sustainable Competitive Advantages In E-Commerce And The Role Of The Enterprise System

Sustainable Competitive Advantages In E-Commerce And The Role Of The Enterprise System

Developing and sustaining a competitive advantage from the use of information technology is a topic of concern for information systems research. Mata et al. (1995) discuss the possibilities of IT as a competitive advantage and present a model that is founded on the recource-based view of the firm. The model is used in this paper to discuss factors that lead to competitive advantage in e-commerce companies. We explore factors that enable sustainable competitive advantages in B2C retailing. We base our analysis on a single in- depth case study of an Internet pioneer company (LeShop), which was observed by the authors since its inception more than 10 years ago. Our research data stems from a series of interviews with managers at LeShop as well as two case studies about the company from two different points in time (2000 and 2009). LeShop is an online pioneer, which began selling groceries on the internet in Switzerland in April 1998. After a turbulent few years, LeShop is now one of the few successful e commerce suppliers in the supermarket segment worldwide. Our discussion is not limited to the use of information technology (IT) but it includes an analysis of further critical resources of the company from a resource-based view.