An Empirical Examination of the Decision to Invest in Fulfillment Capabilities: A Study of Internet Retailers
Internet technology has allowed for a higher degree of decoupling between the information-intensive sales process and the physical process of inventory management than its brick-and-mortar counterpart. As a result, some Internet retailers choose to outsource inventory and back-end operations to focus on the sales/marketing aspects of e-commerce. Nonetheless, many retailers keep fulfillment capabilities in-house. In this paper, we identify and empirically test factors that persuade firms to integrate inventory and fulfillment capabilities with virtual storefronts. Based on the extant literature and previous research in e-commerce, we formulate nine theoretical predictions. We then use data from a sample of over 50 public Internet retailers to test whether empirical data are consistent with these hypotheses. Finally, given the strategic importance and financial magnitude of the inventory investment decision, we analyze the effect of this decision on the economic success of Internet retailers during the period of study. We find that there are many circumstances in which it is prudent to own fulfillment capabilities and inventory. Empirical data are consistent with hypotheses that this tendency is higher for older firms selling small, high-margin products, offering lower levels of product variety, and facing lower demand uncertainty. We also discover that firms making inventory ownership decisions that are consistent with an empirical benchmark derived from environmental and strategic factors are less likely to go bankrupt than those making inconsistent inventory choices.
Volume (Year): 52 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mossman, Charles E, et al, 1998. "An Empirical Comparison of Bankruptcy Models," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 33(2), pages 35-53, May.
- Angela K. Davis, 2002. "The Value Relevance of Revenue for Internet Firms: Does Reporting Grossed-up or Barter Revenue Make a Difference?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 445-477, May.
- Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
- Ittner, Christopher D. & Larcker, David F. & Randall, Taylor, 2003. "Performance implications of strategic performance measurement in financial services firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(7-8), pages 715-741.
- Sharon Novak & Steven D. Eppinger, 2001. "Sourcing By Design: Product Complexity and the Supply Chain," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 189-204, January.
- Aleda V. Roth & William E. Jackson, III, 1995. "Strategic Determinants of Service Quality and Performance: Evidence from the Banking Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(11), pages 1720-1733, November.
- Erin Anderson & David C. Schmittlein, 1984. "Integration of the Sales Force: An Empirical Examination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
- Taylor Randall & Karl Ulrich, 2001. "Product Variety, Supply Chain Structure, and Firm Performance: Analysis of the U.S. Bicycle Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(12), pages 1588-1604, December.
- Barry L. Bayus & William P. Putsis, Jr., 1999. "Product Proliferation: An Empirical Analysis of Product Line Determinants and Market Outcomes," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(2), pages 137-153.
- Gary D. Eppen, 1979. "Note--Effects of Centralization on Expected Costs in a Multi-Location Newsboy Problem," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(5), pages 498-501, May.
- Marvin B. Lieberman & Rajeev Dhawan, 2005. "Assessing the Resource Base of Japanese and U.S. Auto Producers: A Stochastic Frontier Production Function Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(7), pages 1060-1075, July.
- Taylor Randall & Karl Ulrich & David Reibstein, 1998. "Brand Equity and Vertical Product Line Extent," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 356-379.
- Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-528, June.
- Kevin B. Hendricks & Vinod R. Singhal, 2005. "Association Between Supply Chain Glitches and Operating Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(5), pages 695-711, May.
- Shumway, Tyler, 2001. "Forecasting Bankruptcy More Accurately: A Simple Hazard Model," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(1), pages 101-124, January.
- George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185-185.
- Serguei Netessine & Nils Rudi, 2006. "Supply Chain Choice on the Internet," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(6), pages 844-864, June.