Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 11 Number 4 1995 pp. 9-31

Inter Shop: Enhancing the Vendor/Customer Dialectic in Electronic Shopping

Baty Ii, James B and Lee, Ronald M

ABSTRACT: Electronic shopping systems offer new horizons in vendor marketing, customer convenience, and overall market efficiencies. Information networks can gather thousands of vendors and millions of customers into an information-rich marketplace that serves both their perspectives. Unfortunately, existing electronic shopping systems provide a vendor/customer dialectic that offers low product differentiation and comparability. This limits market efficiency and results in negative experiences for both vendors and customers. We propose a functional architecture for a new generation of electronic shopping infrastructures to dramatically improve vendor representation and customer navigation. This design reshapes the vendor/customer dialectic by providing higher levels of both product differentiation and comparability. A prototype implementation of the architecture is described.

Key words and phrases: electronic commerce, electronic shopping, home shopping, hypertext, hypermedia, multimedia, heterogeneous databases, object-oriented databases