Pat Auger and John M. Gallaugher
The Internet has doubled in size every year in recent years and now spans the globe, facilitating the exchange of all matter of digital data. Recent development has been categorized by an explosion in new commercial activity. Despite overwhelming coverage in the popular press, relatively little is understood regarding the impact the Internet is having on firms that use this medium to facilitate commerce. Even less is understood about the impact on small enterprises-the largest segment of U.S., Japanese, and Western European businesses. This article reports the results of an exploratory study examining critical issues surrounding the use of the Internet in emerging enterprises. The survey (1) describes how small businesses develop and use their on-line sales presence, (2) explores factors that motivate firms to invest in electronic commerce, (3) assesses the importance of the expected benefits of an on-line sales presence on the decision to go on-line, and (4) examines some of the barriers that prevent small businesses from further developing their on-line presence.
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