Factors influencing the utilization of internet purchasing in small organizations


Operations and Supply Chain Management

Date of this version


Document Type



Many companies have jumped on the Internet bandwagon in an attempt to get rich quick in today’s marketplace. While there have been numerous success stories, the amount of reported failures has been extremely high. In spite of all the recent failures, a select few organizations have been able to use e-commerce as a means to increase the overall profitability of their firm. An often-overlooked factor in website effectiveness and development is the effect of individual user differences on the acceptance of the new technology. This exploratory study examines how individual user views and preferences affect the use of the Internet as a purchasing medium.

This research presents an exploratory study of data gathered through a survey of 416 customers of a major Internet retailer of commodity office supplies. Cluster analysis is employed to develop a model that classifies users of Internet purchasing into six distinct groups. The clusters are developed using a variety of items that measure end users’ viewpoints and preferences regarding the Internet as a purchasing medium. These factors are based on the widely supported Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The classification system is then used to demonstrate how these groups vary on strategic items, cost issues and individual productivity measures. The findings provide important insights to companies seeking to capitalize on the Internet as a retailing channel by identifying factors that may lead to a loyal customer base rather than an opportunistic one that switches sites frequently solely to obtain lower prices.





Published in

Journal of Operations Management

Citation/Other Information

21(2), pp225-245.