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Adoption and Performance of Mobile Sales Channel for e-Retailers: Fit with M-Retail Characteristics and Dependency on e-Retailing


While the Internet drives the first transition of sales channels from physical stores to web storefronts, it is mobile devices like smartphones that provide the mobility and ubiquity wired desktop computers lack and that enable the second transition from e-retailing to m-retailing. Unlike the first transition that has been well studied in the literature, the follow-up transition from e-retailing to m-retailing has been under-explored. In this paper, we examine this transition by studying the timing of e-retailers’ initiation of m-retail sales channels (as years of adoption) and the performance of such adoption (as business value). We employ a theoretical contingency framework that classifies firms by the fit between characteristics of merchants and capabilities of the mobile sales channel (i.e., ubiquitous access capability and limited information search capability). We find that firms which sell time critical products and hence benefit from ubiquitous access are inclined to adopt m-retailing early. Interestingly, those firms that adopt early do not necessarily show the greatest values at all times. Instead, the type of performance metrics used matters. Apart from the distinct capabilities of the mobile sales channel, our finding suggests that dependency on existing e-retailing also has a positive effect on a firm’s m-retailing performance. Especially, the influence of e-retailing varies with the fit of a merchant with the mobile sales channel as well as the type of performance metric used.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    We are aware that m-retail ranks come after adoption. Yet, it is indeed a measure to reflect firms’ heterogeneities that pertain to m-commerce.

  2. 2.

    We use log of m-retail traffics for the estimation in Table 7. Thus, we apply the exponential function to the estimated coefficients when comparing traffics among the three types of merchants.


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Correspondence to Benjamin B. M. Shao.

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Chou, Y., Shao, B.B.M. Adoption and Performance of Mobile Sales Channel for e-Retailers: Fit with M-Retail Characteristics and Dependency on e-Retailing. Inf Syst Front (2020).

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  • Mobile retailing
  • Dependency on e-retailing
  • Capabilities of mobile channel
  • Contingency theory
  • Omnichannel retailing