RESEARCH REPORTS 5
THE ROLE OF E-BUSINESS FOR
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE
EUROPEAN FOOD AND NON-FOOD
e-Business Research Center
Tampere University of Technology and University of Tampere
Electronic edition in http://www.ebrc.info
Cover design by Mainoscraft Oy
Printed by Cityoffset Oy, Tampere 2003
This study is part of the eTampere project, a joint project of the University of Tampere and the Tampere University of Technology. Within this project, the eBusiness Research Center (eBRC) represents the home of this study on “The role of eBusiness for competitive advantage in the transforming European food and non-food retailing business”.
The project has been supervised by Kari Neilimo, Professor of Management Accounting at the University of Tampere. The report has been conducted and written by Richard Windischhofer, student of Social Economics at the University of Linz while studying as visiting student at the University of Tampere. The study was conducted during the period of August 2001 and June 2002. The results were disseminated in June 2002 as Richard’s Master’s Thesis, and appear under the same title, but with slight modifications as this publication.
The study represents a literature review on retailing transformation, its effects on strategy and competitive advantage and the role of electronic business in that context. It is directed to anyone who aims to gain a basic insight on these issues or seeks to engage in deeper research in a specific area of retailing and e-Business. The writer hopes that especially students will profit from this study as an introduction to strategy, retailing and e-Business.
Because of the wide field to cover, this report represents an overview rather than going into very specific details.
First, I would like to thank Prof. Kari Neilimo for his supervision during my studies at the eTampere project, of which this report is the result. I am grateful that Prof. Neilimo has shared with me his thoughts on strategy, retailing and e-Business and that our working relations have been characterized by openness and support. By appointing me as his researching assistant, I was able to stay for a longer period in Finland than I had hoped for, which made my roots grow deeper and deeper into this great culture.
Further, I would like to thank Prof. Anne-Mari Järvelin for her support and ideas on the content of this report.
I would also like to thank the following business professionals for their time and expertise: Jouko Nieminen, Managing Director of Intrade Partners, Arttu Laine, Managing Director of SOK Estonia, Visa Palonen, Vice-President of the e-Business Division at SOK, Maria Santavuo and Henrik Lares from Accenture, Helsinki Office and Marika Alhonen from SOK Customer Owner Services.
Finally, I would like to thank the e-Business Research Center that contributed financially to this study.
The evolution in retailing is driven by market saturation, proliferation of customer needs and progress in information technology (IT). The three biggest European markets (Germany, United Kingdom and France), that have been subject to the environmental analysis of European Food and Nonfood Retailing, share these characteristics more or less. However, the strategies to cope with this situation differ slightly, whereby the UK retailers represent the most sophisticated ones in customer centric strategy.
In general, retailers have become bigger, more diverse in their operations and have moved into foreign markets to pursue above average growth. Retailers are seeking for efficiency through streamlining supply chain processes because...