The increase of international trading and shared social and cultural values.

Globalisation refers to the move towards international trading in a single global marketplace and the blurring of social and cultural differences between countries. Some perceive it as 'Westernisation' or even 'Americanisation'.

Quelch and Klein (1996) point out some of the consequences for organisations that wish to compete in the global marketplace. They say a company must have:

• a 24-hour order-taking and customer service response capability;

• regulatory and customs-handling experience to ship internationally;

• in-depth understanding of foreign marketing environments to assess the advantages of its own products and services.

Language and cultural understanding may also present a problem and a small or medium-sized company is unlikely to possess the resources to develop a multi-language version of its site or employ staff with language skills. On the other hand, Quelch and Klein (1996) note that the growth of the use of the Internet for business will accelerate the trend of English becoming the lingua franca of commerce.

Hamill and Gregory (1997) highlight the strategic implications of e-commerce for business-to-business exchanges conducted internationally. They note that there will be increasing standardisation of prices across borders as businesses become more aware of price differentials. Secondly, they predict that the importance of traditional intermediaries such as agents and distributors will be reduced by Internet-enabled direct marketing and sales.

Larger organisations typically already compete in the global marketplace, or have the financial resources to achieve this. But what about the smaller organisation? Most

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