Contribution Complete Research Paper
Fürstenberghaus - F234
18 - Business Models
The Blurring Line Between Electronic and Physical Channels: Reconceptualising Multichannel Commerce
This paper proposes a revision of the multichannel concept as it has been applied in previous studies on multichannel commerce. Digitalization and technological innovations have blurred the line between physical and electronic channels. A structured literature review on multichannel consumer and firm behaviour is conducted to reveal the established view on multichannel phenomena. By providing empirical evidence on market offerings and consumer perceptions, we expose a significant mismatch between the dominant conceptualization of multichannel commerce applied in research and today’s market realities. This tension highlights the necessity for a changed view on multichannel commerce to study and understand phenomena in converging sales channels. Therefore, an extended conceptualization of multichannel commerce, named the multichannel continuum, is proposed. This is the first study that considers the broad complexity of integrated multichannel decisions. It aims at contributing to the literature on information systems and channel choice by developing a reference frame for studies on how technological advancements that allow the integration of different channels shape consumer and firm decision making in multichannel commerce. Accordingly, a brief research agenda contrasts established findings with unanswered questions, challenges and opportunities that arise in this more complex multichannel market environment.