Internet retailing adoption by small-to-medium sized Enterprises (SMEs): A multiple-case study

Matthew K.O. Lee, Christy M K CHEUNG

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite the proliferation of Internet retailing and the relative novelty and complexity of this phenomenon, very little theory-guided qualitative research has been conducted to improve our understanding of the adoption of Internet retailing project by SMEs. This study presents a theoretical framework for analyzing the adoption of Internet retailing for SMEs. Organizational readiness (IT sophistication, financial resources, and customer readiness), perceived benefits of Internet retailing, and environmental factors are proposed to be the key drivers of adoption of Internet retailing. This research was designed using a qualitative approach through in-depth case studies selected from firms in Hong Kong where there is a proliferation of SMEs. The contextual meaning and practical manifestation of the key adoption factors were captured through the case studies. Our findings provide preliminary support for the proposed research framework, and contribute towards a better conceptual and practical understanding of the main factors driving SMEs to adopt Internet retailing. Contrary to popular belief, customer readiness for Internet shopping was not found to be a significant factor influencing SMEs' decision to adopt Internet retailing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-397
    Number of pages13
    JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Software
    • Theoretical Computer Science
    • Information Systems
    • Computer Networks and Communications

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Case studies
    • Electronic commerce
    • Innovation adoption
    • Internet retailing
    • Qualitative research
    • Small-to-medium sized enterprises


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