Document Type



While the necessity for taking a strategic approach at the Internet and electronic commerce has often been stressed, there is a lack of broad empirical evidence for the resulting benefits. Existing work is either conceptual or, if empirical, rather specific, e.g. based on case studies.

We contribute to closing this research gap, providing empirical evidence from a numerical base of 443 general cases. Based on existing theory, we investigate the business value of having a dedicated Internet strategy and of pursuing each of the three competitive strategies according to Porterís typization, namely cost leadership, differentiation, and customer focus. With a simple path model, we test the impact of these four factors on corporate success in electronic business for different subsets of the numerical base.

We find that in general and for B2C companies, a dedicated Internet strategy as well as the pursuit of the cost leadership or customer focus strategy are success factors, whereas for B2B companies, only a dedicated Internet strategy and the pursuit of the cost leadership strategy prove to be effective. The general findings are independent of company size and of companiesí experience on the Web. If the companies are divided into three groups according to the fraction of revenues they generate from online sales, only one distinct success factor remains for every group.