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Electronic Commerce (EC) describes "a variety of market transactions that are enabled by information technology" (Lederer et al., 1997). EC utilizing electronic markets allows new entrants to penetrate product markets, offering better and cheaper distribution opportunities (Davidson, 1997). EC changes how industries behave (Shaw et al., 1997), dramatically shrinking the distance between suppliers and consumers (Wyckoff, 1997). EC is transforming communication, collaboration, and commerce and is enabling companies to be more customer-focused (Barsoum, 1999). Electronic data interchange (EDI) and the Internet are two modes of conducting business electronically (EC). EDI is the exchange of data/information between trading partners through the use of common standards and protocols (Murphy et al., 1998; Scala & McGrath, 1993). EDI exchanges specific sets of data with a limited number of trading partners, but the Internet allows more companies to do business electronically with more customers who are not suited for EDI (Harrington, 1998). EDI has been found to improve cooperation between trading partners and to lead to greater satisfaction and performance in business transactions (Vijayasarthy & Robey, 1997). However, advances in the Internet have started to push EDI to the wayside (Vigoroso, 1999). The Internet is more than a way to exchange email and documents; it is becoming critical to EC (Venkatraman, 2000).
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is one of many applications of EC (Applegate et al., 1996; Zwass, 1996). SCM encompasses materials/supply management from the supply of basic raw materials to final product, and it focuses on how firms (that are connected and share information) utilize their suppliers' processes, technology, and capability to enhance competitive advantage. EC can lead to radical changes in SCM (Harris, 2001). In any buyer-seller relationship, the more accurately and quickly information reaches relevant sources, the faster the production and delivery of products (Evans & Wurster, 1997). Full-scale integration of EC along a SC is needed to see the true value and benefits of electronic interactions.
The electronic buying and selling of goods/services in the SC (via the Internet) is an important application of EC. An electronic SC buys and sells goods/services by electronic means. Since "the Internet changes everything," the purpose of this research is to determine the effectiveness of electronic SC replenishment using the Internet (website retailing) when comparing different replenishment options. Moreover, this research studies customer buying habits as well as inventory management strategies when products are purchased via a website. Several products will be analyzed over time (monthly) in order to explore aspects of replenishment.
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