9. CHANNEL CONFLICT
The hallmark of revolutionary technical change in the marketplace, such as with the emergence of the Internet, is the destruction of traditional business practices -- and firms that adhere to the status quo too long. Managers are forced to "cannibalize" their own profitable businesses only to see a diminished return on investment. If they don't, a competitor will do it for them.
One aspect of the Internet that has received much attention is the web's ability to close the gap between buyer and seller, thereby eliminating layers of middlemen or intermediaries in the distribution channel. For those in the middle, the notion of "disintermediation" is surely an unwelcome turn of events. Since the process of disintermediation is usually not instantaneous, managers find themselves caught in the uncomfortable position of needing to placate business partners in the distribution channel while taking steps toward the eventual demise of these relationships.
The problem of channel conflict is made more complicated by the introduction of new intermediaries that serve the special needs of e-commerce. Delivery, for example, becomes a critical part of overall customer satisfaction.
Things to read:
Challenges and Opportunities in Multichannel Customer Management
Scott A. Neslin, et al. | 01.29.2006
The Internet’s Role in the Modern Purchase Process
DoubleClick | 07.00.2005
Channel Conflict and Coordination in the E-Commerce Age
Andy A. Tsay and Narendra Agrawal | 07.08.2004
Managing Channels of Distribution in the Age of E-Commerce
Kevin L. Webb | 03.21.2002
Multi-Channel Holiday 2003 Shopping Study
DoubleClick | 01.00.2004
The Effects of Internet Shopping on Overall Consumer Spending
Frank Lynn & Associates
Customer Channel Migration
Asim Ansari, Carl Mela and Scott Neslin
The Effect of Third-party Information on the Division of Channel Profits
Greg Shaffer and Florian Zettelmeyer