A model for Web-based
information systems in
Fang Wang and
Milena M. Head
Fang Wang is a PhD candidate and Milen a M. Hea d is an
Assistant Professo r of Informatio n Systems , both at the
Michael G. DeGroote School of Business, McMaster
University , Hamilton, Ontario , Canada.
Internet , Informatio n systems , Custome r requirement s
Successful Web-base d informatio n system s (WIS) are critical for electroni c retailer s to attract and retain consumer s and delive r busines s functions and strategy . However, the design and developmen t of a WIS may include many business ,
technolog y and user challenges . Understandin g and fulfilling the critical requirement s of thes e challenges will determin e the success of a WIS commercia l application. In thi s paper , we presen t an abstract model for WIS design in e-retailing . Unlike previou s WIS research , this model offers an
integrate d and overal l view , where four interconnecte d
layers are investigated : busines s determinants ; WIS;
busines s interface; and users /customers . Throug h our
discussion of this model , we provid e researcher s with a
bette r understandin g of WIS issues requirin g further
investigation , and provid e practitioner s with a foundatio n to understan d WIS requirement s and feature s for success.
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Internet Research: Electroni c Networking Application s and Policy Volume 11 . Number 4 . 2001 . pp. 310± 321
# MCB University Press . ISSN 1066-224 3
It was th e World Wide Web that opened the
door for electronic commerce (EC) in the
business-to-consumer (B2C) environment and
created a new business line, called electronic
retailing, e-tailing or electronic shopping.
Individuals can now search information and
shop online for virtually everythin g they need.
Electronic shopping can bring convenience,
competition, new channels for information, and
new models for marketing. It opens
opportunities for both marketers and customers
(Turban et al., 2000 ; Wang et al., 2000).
Central to electronic retailing are Web-based
information systems (WIS). On the Internet,
retailers and consumers interact through WIS
which function as virtual stores. Research shows
that the use of WIS can enhance competitiveness
by supporting the traditional means by which
companies compete, such as lowering costs,
focusing on specific customer groups, or
differentiating their products and services
(Lederer, 1998). WIS may also provide many new
opportunities for companies, such as expanding
the customer base, providing new products and
services, and creating new lines of business.
WIS also create new challenges for e-tailers.
Compared to traditional information systems,
WIS can reach a wider audience and their users
tend to have less system knowledge/training. WIS
may also introduce new managerial and technical
challenges, and guidelines for their design and
development have not yet been well established
(Isakowitz et al., 1998; Gregor et al., 1999).
This paper address WIS design and
development issues for commercial
applications, and is organized as follows. A
literature review examines WIS classifications
and features. Based on this review, we propose
a new model to examine WIS in an e-retailing
context. According to thi s model, issues and
challenges pertaining to users and consumers,
business determinants and the business
interface, are discussed. Finally, we present
some thought s for future WIS research.
Literatur e review
A WIS refers to a Web-based information
system, or a Web information system, which is
A model for Web-base d information system s in e-retailing
Internet Research: Electronic Networking...