Internet Retail Operations: Integrating Theory and Practice for Managers, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Internet Retail Operations

Integrating Theory and Practice for Managers, 1st Edition

By Timothy M. Laseter, Elliot Rabinovich

CRC Press

268 pages | 92 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2011-07-19
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The increasing popularity of online shopping makes Internet retailing a megatrend that cannot be ignored. The collaboration of two co-authors bringing academic rigor and broad consulting experience into the mix, Internet Retail Operations: Integrating Theory and Practice for Managers offers enduring insights on operational issues and principles for the management of internet supply chains.

Covering a range of emerging issues supported by a variety of case studies, the book details the evolution of information technology’s role in retail supply chain networks, its impact on supply chain networks, and how this has changed service operations. It addresses information technology in relation to service and retail industries, then explores how supply chain dynamics impact traditional service and retail delivery, the costs involved, and customer satisfaction and loyalty. It includes tables, vignettes, and graphs that make the content practical and relevant.

As you will learn, many attempts at internet retail do not succeed, some because they fail to appreciate the fundamentals, others may have simply been ahead of their time. Many years of experimentation and growth lie ahead. Drawing equally on theory, research results, and real-world experience, the book provides strategies for overcoming the challenges of building operations capability in the evolving world of Internet retailing.

Table of Contents

Internet Retailing: From Experimentation to Execution

Lessons of the Last Bubble

The Unfolding Story

The World Wide Web and Information Technology

What Do We Mean by the Internet?

Technological Advances in the World Wide Web That Enabled the Commercial Adoption of the Internet

Internet Business Models: A Framework

Characterizing Internet Retailing Models

The Role of Merchandise, Services, Promotions, Navigation, and User Interfaces in the Success of Internet Retailing Ventures

Internet Commerce Functionality and Its Potential to Generate Value in the Supply Chain

Web-Enabled Cost Efficiency and Customer Benefits

Web-Enabled Collaboration among Individuals


Scale Economies and the Network Effect in Internet Retailing

Scale Economies

Network Effects

Economies of Scope

Defense versus Offense

Operations Strategy for the Internet

Operations Strategy

From Manufacturing to Operations Strategy

Structural Decisions

Operations Capabilities

From Theory to Practice?

Supply Chain Management for a Virtual World

Long Tails and Unlimited Shelf Space in Internet Retailing

Demand Management

Multichannel Retailing: Combining Internet and Brick-and-Mortar Channels


Defining the Value

What Are the Main Internet Services That Exist in a Supply Chain Context?

How Can the Internet Be Used to Offer Services That Contribute to the Development of Competitive Advantages?

Outsourcing Internet Retail Operations

Internet Retailing Decisions to Outsource Their Distribution Facilities’ Footprint

Logistics Outsourcing Decisions in the Broader Internet Retailing Context

Conclusions and Implications


Understanding the Drivers of Cost-to-Serve

The eBags Story

Trial and Error

Future Growth

Accounting for Intangibles

The Last-Mile Challenge

First-Mover Delivery Models

Limited Online Sales

The Role of Delivery Economics

High Last-Mile Costs

New Trade-Off: Speed versus Variety

Entrenched Competitors

The New Intermediaries

Store and Office Solutions

Labor-Saving Models

Continued Experimentation

Managing Product Returns

The Magnitude of Product Returns in Internet Retailing

Tackling Product Returns

The Role of Third-Party Specialists

Key Principles for Internet Retailers to Follow

Managing Internet Product Returns: A Focus on Effective Service Operations

Challenges and Opportunities in Remarketing Product Returns


Amazon: Supply Chain Strategy and Innovation

Amazon’s Structural Decisions

Amazon’s Operational Decisions

Keeping the Virtuous Cycle Moving Forward


The Last Mile


The Deutsche Post Pilot

The Packstation 24 Trial Run


Entering the U.S. Market

Partnering with E-Tailers


FreshDirect: Expansion Strategy

FreshDirect: Home Grocery Delivery

Beef Industry Background

Cattle Farmers

Feedlots and Slaughterhouses


Grocery Stores


Direct Retail: Omaha Steaks

Direct Retail: Online Grocer

Farm to Fork: Supply Chain Coordination

A Question of Priorities

Musictoday, LLC: Managing Inventory for Night Train

From One Band to Many

The Problems of Success

Getting the Train Back on Track

Train at the Crossing

Better World Books

Company Background

Company Culture

Used-Books Industry


The Internet as Vehicle for Books Sales

Supply Chain of Internet Book Retailing

Value Proposition


The South Bend Facility

Expansion Options


Company History

Overview of Kitchenware Industry

Cost-to-Serve Drivers

Conclusion, Inc’s History

U.S. Grocery Stores and Supermarkets

Alternative Online Grocery Retailing Models

Operations Strategy for

eBags: Managing Growth

eBags History

The Luggage Industry

eBags Business Model

eBags Operations Model

The Footwear Industry

The European Market

Where Do We Go from Here?


About the Authors

Elliot Rabinovich serves on the faculty at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University and brings deep expertise in academic research with a focus on e-commerce and supply chain management. His award-winning research has generated over 20 articles to date in leading academic journals including California Management Review, Decision Sciences, Journal of Business Logistics, Journal of Operations Management, and the MIT-Sloan Management Review. In 2005, he designed and started an annual MBA course on e-commerce and supply chain and service operations management at the W.P. Carey School of Business. He earned a BS in Civil Engineering from the School of Engineering of Antioquia, and a Ph.D. in Logistics-Supply Chain Management from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.

Tim Laseter brings twenty years of industry experience in operations strategy and supply chain management as both an industry practitioner and consultant to leading companies. In 2002 he transitioned to academia by leaving his partnership position at Booz Allen Hamilton to complete his doctorate and join the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia. He now works as an independent consultant while serving as a visiting professor at Darden, the London Business School, IESE Business School in Barcelona, the Stern School at NYU, and Emory’s Goizueta School in Atlanta. A prolific writer for practitioners, he has authored two previous books and currently serves as a contributing editor for Strategy+Business which features his column "Operating Strategies" in every other issue.

About the Series

Supply Chain Integration Modeling, Optimization and Application

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Etiquette
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Business Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Purchasing & Buying
COMPUTERS / Information Technology