What is so interesting about cross-border e-commerce?

The topic of my PhD project is ‘how online selling and shopping across national borders in the business-to- consumer market is affected by differences between countries’. I have been an online cross-border shopper for many years now.

First of all I prefer shopping via the Internet over physical stores. Not only for convenience reasons (not leaving the house, shopping at all times of the day), but also because there are so many products available out there that don’t fit in a few physical stores nearby. And the service of people working in physical stores in the Netherlands is deplorable. Second, I prefer shopping via the Internet as you can explore so many online shops, either from the Netherlands or from other countries.

The list of products I’ve bought across borders is endless. From coasters to a wood burner. The latter was definitely the most expensive buy and was recommended to me. The coasters just appeared after a long search. I like to search for a specific product or brand and I don’t pay much attention where the online shop is from I haven’t had experiences yet. Guess that helps.

When I was doing my Master in Marketing at Vrije Universiteit I was really troubled by choosing the topic of my master thesis. Fortunately I was recommended to my supervisor prof dr Hester van Herk. She was part of a project on cross-border e-commerce which captured my interest instantly. When I explored literature further for my PhD research there appeared several interesting gaps. The first part of my project is about SMEs selling across national borders. I look at the factors affecting their business performance, and I compare SMEs from developing markets with SMEs from emerging markets. In the second part of my project I look at consumers and how country perceptions interact with webshop perceptions.

Cross-border e-commerce is for me an endless interesting topic. For the past three years I have been part of the cross-border expert group of the Dutch research project Shopping Tomorrow (www.shoppingtomorrow.nl). This gave me the opportunity to talk about cross-border e-commerce with e-commerce managers from large Dutch firms. Cross-border e-commerce is an opportunity for firms to grow, and for consumers to shop around the world from your home.

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