E-Business in an Established Customer Vendor Relationship - Implications for Customer Service and Logistics

University dissertation from Packaging Logistics, Lund University

Abstract: E-business is becoming more and more common today. The predictions of future growth give clear indications that companies will use e-business more and more. However in the growth of e-business it has been identified that there is a common lack of understanding in customer needs and logistics. In order to reduce some of this non-understanding this thesis seeks answers to the following question: - How can the addition of an online store (e-business store) in an established customer vendor relationship influence customer service, logistical operations and the interaction between the vendor and the customer? Two case studies have been performed, further a third case has been identified in order to support case study two. Case study one was performed in the B2C market and case two and three were in the B2B market. Case one was with the Swedish Pharmacy Direct, who recently had developed an e-business site for shopping directed towards consumers. Case two was a Spare Parts Vendor selling spare parts two companies using the mother company’s machinery. Case three was a Swedish paper company, Papyrus AB. Case two and three are offering web shops to their customers for ordering of products sold. From the case studies it is concluded that the addition of an online store will influence the customer service given and the interaction between the vendor and the customer. Logistical operations can be influenced but it is not necessary. An online store has positive effects on customer service delivered to the customer. The main increase in customer service comes from the providing of information online. The information is easier accessible and more available since it is provide on the Internet. Increasing customer service is not all about information but can also be to enhance the overall interaction between the customer and vendor when doing business. In the study it was detected that the use of e-business can in fact improve customer processes. Hence the use of e-business opens up for new solutions that formerly weren’t possible. For instance doctors could pre order prescriptions to the patient so that it is ready for pick up when the customer arrives at the pharmacy. Logistical operations are predicted to be influenced from the use of e-business. From the case studies it can be concluded that the logistical operations can both be unaffected as well as affected. In the B2C case there is a need for new logistical structures since the delivery of the products to customer is performed by the vendor and not by the customers themselves. In the B2B cases the physical operations have not been altered at all, instead the e-business solutions have been adopted to the existing operations. IV Further it concluded that the introduction of an online store opens up for new solutions of logistical structures.