Capitalizing on the internet opportunity

George S. Day

Mack Center of Technological Innovation and Emerging Technologies Management Research Program, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and

Katrina J. Bens

Department of Business Administration, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Illinois, USA

Abstract

Purpose - To investigate how business-to-business (B2B) firms view the opportunities and threats of the internet and determine which firms are most likely to gain from the internet.

Design/methodology/approach - A nation-wide survey of marketing, sales and MIS managers in B2B firms provides the data necessary to explore the impact of the internet.

Findings - Managers view the internet positively as it will reduce customer service costs and allow firms to tighten relationships with customers. The positive potential outweighs the negative potential of increased competition and new pricing models. However, not all will benefit. Practical implications - While there is much optimism about the internet, those most likely to benefit are those firms already proficient at forging close customer relationships.

Originality/value - This paper provides lessons about who will benefit from the internet. Keywords Customer relations, Internet, Business-to-business marketing Paper type Research paper

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