Factors that influence on B2B IT website’s effectiveness

Essay, 2016

18 Pages



1. The role of the website in B2B e-commerce

2. Factors that influence on B2B website’s effectiveness
2.1. Design quality (colour, readable font, layout) of the website
2.2 Quality of Structure (menu/navigation)
2.3. Communication quality
2.4. Quality of informative visual aspects (content quality, vocabulary, readability)
2.5. Interactivity of a website

3. Summary


To provide a holistic picture of B2B e-commerce and factors that influence on website’s effectiveness, this paper is organized as follows. First, types of e-commerce models and the role of website in B2B are addressed. This is followed by a discussion of factors that result in B2B website’s effectiveness.

1. The role of the website in B2B e-commerce

A substantial increase of commerce on the Internet has determined the necessity to evaluate the quality of business websites. A weak website of a company could create a negative impact for a company on the Internet. Therefore, it is essential to assess the quality of the website in order to improve it and increase effectiveness of both the website and the company (Hasan and Abuelrubb, 2011).

There are different types of websites, or e-commerce models established depending on who is involved in the transaction (Laudon et al. 2007; Turban et al. 2009). Commercial websites include business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), consumer-to-business (C2B) and the main purpose of such websites is to be profitable by selling products and services (Cebi, 2013).

The B2B model is an inter-organisational information system where a company deals with transactions between its own value chain and other business organisation. B2B links businesses in the value chain to each other, enabling all types of transactions to be conducted over the Internet. (Becker, 2008; Dietel et al., 2001).

Robbins and Stylianou (2003) stress that generally the main purpose of B2B corporate websites is to provide general information about the company, trade, news and product information. Moreover, the vast majority of websites are not intended to support the execution of transactions, networking or two-way information sharing, but simply to convey information (Lopes and Melão, 2016).

According to Lin et al. (2011) it is suggested that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are unwilling to invest in websites due to challenges they face in getting a return on investment (ROI). It could be difficult to see transparent advantages and contributions of a given website to the overall profitability of a company. SMEs, who may have no idea how to measure a website’s effectiveness and cannot adapt quickly to the new circumstances of the e-commerce era usually believe that a website is an ineffective instrument. However, launching and developing a website plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of a company’s business by increasing the visibility of the company on Internet and as a result, the overall profit of the company, enhancing communication between all levels and types of intermediaries, which consequently has a positive impact on shareholders’ satisfaction. Moreover, implementation of a website is a major step in the improvement of e-commerce and the building of relationships and interaction with stakeholders.

In addition, Lin et al. (2011) stress that if B2B companies intend to invest in their websites, they should start from a detailed analysis of their businesses and existing websites.

2. Factors that influence on B2B website’s effectiveness

A company’s website and its Internet presence are the most impactful tools that can reach its real and potential consumers. With the fast growth of the Internet, online users are becoming more involved in different application programs. Moreover, a substantial increase of the Internet opens new opportunities to all spheres of business. In particular, with the help of the Internet, a company can reach consumers and target audiences by providing not only common information about the organisation and its business, but also the opportunity to interact with the company (Cebi, 2013).

The explosion of the Internet has determined the necessity to evaluate the quality of business websites. A weak website of a company could create a negative impact for that company on the Internet. Therefore, it is essential to assess the quality of the website in order to improve it, and increase effectiveness of both the website and the company (Hasan and Abuelrubb, 2011).

Miller (2012) highlights that the website of the company is one of the most significant marketing tools among all online or offline instruments.

In the last decade, much research has been devoted to seeking vital criteria for launching effective and successful websites. Whereas varying bodies of research study websites from different perspectives through theoretic and adjustment (empirical) approaches, numerous studies have tried to observe and compare different websites to identify benefits and hindrances, as well as good and bad features (Hasan and Abuelrubb, 2011). Also there are numerous bodies of research that focus on analysing websites from different fields and businesses.

Government websites are analysed by Zhang and Dran (2001); Kokkinaki et al. (2005). In this specific field researchers analyse the quality of a given website from the user’s point of view, as well as how to reach consumers with particular websites or observe quality measurements of essential websites' elements that could influence the effectiveness of e-government websites.

Educational websites are analysed by Yoo and Jin (2004); Singh and Sook (2002), who also concentrate their attention on the quality of websites and customers' satisfaction. However, if Yoo and Jin (2004) focus on design, Singh and Sook (2002) analyse and evaluate factors that cause problems while accessing and visiting some educational websites, in particular, university websites in the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

Additionally, business-to-business and business-to-consumer websites are often studied with a range of different approaches. Some researchers investigate website factors that are crucial to a successful online business (Chakraborty et al., 2002; Delone and Mclean, 2004). Other researchers focus on the customization of websites, when a company can analyse consumers’ interests, demands, expectations and previous search of information. In this case the task of the company is to provide the customer information s/he is looking for as quickly as possible and to develop a website featuring consumer satisfaction and the perspective of a given website’s orientation (Hasan and Abuelrubb, 2011; Chanaron, 2005; Zhang and Dran, 2001; Chakraborty et al., 2002).

What is more, some researchers analyse the usability of websites and examine how website design, content, structure, adoption readiness and constraints influence the effectiveness of a company’s website in order to implement factors when developing and designing efficient websites (Hasan and Abuelrubb, 2011; Heimlich, 1999; Heimlich and Wang, 1999; Singh and Fisher, 1999; Cebi, 2013; Lin et al., 2011; Leong et al., 2002; Fogg et al., 2003).

Moreover, other groups of researchers in their published articles investigate and develop necessary tools to measure and assess quality of websites; they suggest their own framework to measure vital elements of the website or to apply existing models to discover and analyse if websites contain these essential elements and how they could affect a user’s credibility to the company (Signore, 2005; Mich et al., 2003; Barnes and Vidgen, 2001; Fogg et al., 2001).

Furthermore, Hasan and Abuelrubb (2011) emphasize in their research four crucial dimensions for evaluation of a website’s effectiveness:

- content quality (timely, relevant, accurate, etc.),
- design quality (attractive, colour, text, etc.),
- organisation quality (index, mapping, links, logo, etc.)
- user-friendly quality (usability, reliability, customization, etc.).

In addition, Fogg et al. (2003) claim that their research identifies the following four vital factors of user-friendliness and effectiveness of a website:

- design;
- structure;
- information focus; and
- usefulness of information.

2.1. Design quality (colour, readable font, layout) of the website

Many companies face a challenge to design an effective corporate website (Chakraborty et al., 2004). There are numerous studies that focus on website design quality and consumer behavior (e.g., Kwon et al., 2002; Moss et al., 2006). However, in spite of the website design importance, previous studies do not provide consistent information on which website attributes influence users' perceptions (Thongpapanl and Ashraf, 2011).

Al-Qeisi et al. (2014), Sanchez-Franco and Rondan-Cataluña (2010), Sameti et al. (2016) claim that website design quality directly and indirectly result in online usage. Constantinides (2004) suggests that SMEs need to redesign their websites in order to improve usability, aesthetics, and interactivity. As a result, companies try to improve the design of their websites and to enhance the quality of customers' interaction experiences (Vila and Kuster, 2011). Moreover, Kim et al. (2013) assert that a good, well-designed and usable website is necessary not only for e-commerce and transactions, but also as a platform that will actively support Web 2.0 applications and crowd-sourcing activities.

The design of a usable website is fundamental to e-commerce success. The main guiding principles for usable interface design are simplicity and consistency. Readability is affected by size of displayed characters, the relative contrast among text characters, and page background (Nielsen, 2000). This means user-centered websites with simple and consistent design features across web pages, making the pages easy to read and digest (Lee and Kozar, 2012). In addition, users tend to scan information on website rather than read. Therefore, pages containing bullet points and less text appear easier to scan (Nielsen, 1997; Nielsen, 2000; Bonnardel, 2011).

Also George (2005) in the study gives recommendations to companies and stresses that color and graphics attract the attention of potential customers. In addition it is proposed that proper font size and color increase the visibility of a website. Some studies claim that blue colours are most favorable, whereas yellow and yellow-green hues are least favorable (e.g., Becker, 2002; Babin et al., 2003; Fortmann-Roe, 2011; Bonnardel et al., 2011; Palmer et al., 2013). Furthermore, Lopes and Melão (2016) state that images on website could be essential in order to command users’ attention.

Besides, a well-designed web site can build trust and confidence. Trust is a significant concern to online services users. Research indicates that overall site design and performance influence satisfaction in IT firms (Hsu, 2013).

Design quality (colour, readable font, layout) of the website may influence a B2B website’s usability and therefore, its effectiveness

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 2.1. Initial theory-based Design quality.

Source: Proposed be the author.

2.2 Quality of Structure (menu/navigation)

The efficiency of a website is often perceived by users as the ability to quickly find necessary information on that website. As a result, people pay much more attention to website interface and navigation features (Palmer, 2002). Nielsen (2000) claims that with the help of user-friendly menu/navigation users can easily find what they are looking for on website. Comfortable and useful navigation and structure help visitors to find relevant information quickly (Barnes and Vidgen, 2002). Eighmey (1997) claims that there is a crucial role with regard to easy navigation, and stresses that an effective navigation structure increases the efficiency of the website. Also consistency in terms of layout and terminology influences the effectiveness of the navigation experience. (Henriksson et al., 2007). On the other hand, Stevenson et al. (2000) agree that the complexity of a website and pages that lower ease of use also lower efficiency and positive perception of the site. What is more, in a study based on B2B websites it is stressed that good navigation and structure of a website enhance commitment toward that website (Bauer et al., 2002).


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Factors that influence on B2B IT website’s effectiveness
Digital marketing
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Valeriya Zhukova (Author), 2016, Factors that influence on B2B IT website’s effectiveness, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/350525


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