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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14566
An integrative approach to the role of the internet and electronic commerce within SME internationalisation: Case Globe Hope
Author: Saario, Taru
Title: An integrative approach to the role of the internet and electronic commerce within SME internationalisation: Case Globe Hope
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; internet; internet; verkkokauppa; electronic commerce; e-business; e-business; pk-yritykset; smes; kansainvälistyminen; internationalization
Pages: 95
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14566.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2324119)
Key terms: SME, Internationalisation, electronic commerce, the Internet
Objective of the Study The objective of the study was to examine how the Internet and electronic commerce in particular are being used in SME internationalisation. The research focused on the internationalisation process of a Finnish SME company operating on fashion retail industry. The study explored the internationalisation process of the case company to answer three research questions: 1) In what ways can a Finnish SME retail company use the Internet to enter a new foreign market area? 2) What is the role of e-commerce in case company's internationalisation process? 3) How can the web store's potential as a tool for internationsalition be maximized?

Theoretical Framework and Methodology The theoretical framework of the research was based on a synthesis of SME internationalisation research as well as on e-commerce management theories. Through a method of a longitudinal, realism-based single case study, the internationalisation process of the case company was carefully investigated and analysed. The data consisted of semi-structured theme interviews with staff members and marketing materials, including company web site and web store.

Findings and Conclusions The research revealed that SME internet-based internationalisation process can include features of both incremental and revolutionary development. The Internet can be used to overcome the traditional SME internationalisation barriers and to provide low-investment entry mode and speed up the foreign market entry. Electronic commerce can be used as a facilitator for the SME internationalisation process, and it offers a low-cost, international marketplace. However, domestically successful web store requires modifications in order to facilitate international growth.

The modifications in case company's web store were analysed using the Buying Funnel Model adjusted to e-retailing environment by Jansen & Schuster (2011). The web store was modified for international use by providing new language options, increasing the user-friendliness and streamlining the purchase process and offering appropriate payment options regarding the target market. Customer's mental journey during the shopping experience was relatively well supported in the case company's internationally modified web store. However, the overall sales and customer loyalty could be increased by meeting the current consumer trend of need to engage and interact with brands and by allowing the consumer genuinely part-take in the process of creating brand value.
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