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Abstract

The emergence of eCommerce has provided organizations with an unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions. Generally speaking, relationships move through various stages, when a customer chooses to establish a relationship with a person or an organization. Likewise, when a customer forms an ongoing relationship with an online organization, it progresses through similar stages. Yet, the IT-mediated nature of B2C eCommerce interactions causes the manifestation of these stages to be different from offline B2C interactions. As such, this paper proposes a theoretical framework for examining stages of online B2C relationships, based on Stage Theory. The proposed eCommerce B2C Relationship Stage Theory (eB2C-RST) highlights three stages of eCommerce B2C relationships from the customer’s perspective: Attraction, Build-Up, and Continuance. This theoretical framework provides a foundation for both research and practice in the areas of interface design and online B2C customer relationship management.

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