Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Irish Academy of Management


Relationship marketing has emerged as a central tenet in the B2B literature (Athanasopoulou, 2009). Research indicates that firms will be more successful if they build long term, mutually supportive relationships with their business customers (Rauyruen and Miller, 2007). Retailers are responding to ever increasing competitive challenges by building collaborative relationships with customers, suppliers and service providers. Increasingly SME retailers have been adopting third party web services to help them leverage the technical expertise and knowledge required to become more strategic in their e-business ventures (Ray and Ray, 2006). Such arrangements rely on relational exchange characterized by high levels of trust and commitment (Dwyer et al., 1997; Morgan and Hunt, 1994). The exploratory empirical research undertaken at this stage of study addresses this research deficiency and identifies key factors that impact retailers appraisal of and loyalty towards third party web solution providers. Ten qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with SME retailers and web solution providers. Judgemental sampling (Wright, 1996) was adopted and a cross-case analysis strategy (Gummesson, 1991) helped identify factors such as, technology readiness, communication and collaboration, and institutional mechanisms that influence relationship quality between retailers and web solution providers.


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