rzs0025Internet Retailing: Customer adoption of the Internet for purchasing goods continues increase at impressive rates. Online retailing has increased from just 3 percent of total U.S. retail sales in 2002 to more than 6 percent by 2008, and it is expected to account for more than 8 percent of all sales in 2014.  While many online retailers were swift to embrace the Internet for its marketing reach a decade ago, others were slow to recognize the range of challenges associated with fulfilling the grand promises of timely and efficient delivery. Nevertheless, it is now hard to find a retailer that does not have some kind of online presence and as a result, customers have many choices when they turn to the Internet to purchase goods – from online versions of their favorite department stores to purely only retailers with no physical presence.

From the retailer’s standpoint, the explosion of the internet for shopping purposes presents several unique challenges.  Clearly, managing operations and order fulfillment in order to support online retailing presents challenges distinct from those of brick-and-mortar retailing, where the only three rules that matter are still “location, location, location.”  The Internet eliminates from the equation, the locational advantages that retailers in the bricks-and-mortar world have to compete for, by offering home deliveries of products bought online.  However, this elimination of the location issue comes at a cost, which has implications for the fields of marketing, Sales, Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, and Information Technology.  As a result, there are several research opportunities in this exciting and young field.  In keeping with the theme of DSI, we welcome submissions dealing broadly with this field, either from a B2B or a B2C perspective.

Possible topics include:

  • Order fulfillment and last mile logistics
  • Referral management and the role of any of the decision science fields (Operations, Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Information systems in the same)
  • Merchandise/product returns
  • Product variety on the internet
  • Inventory considerations in internet retailing
  • The use of social media in internet retailing
  • Future developments (like the much discussed amazon drone program)
  • Differences between traditional and Internet retailing