Greenmountaincoffee represents a new breed of retailers; changing the way business is conducted online with their business to consumer model (B2C. ) and business to business model (B2B) models. It is a virtual reseller, one of the main new intermediaries (Sarkar et al, 1996. ) They are an electronic-commerce only intermediary; business and customer relationship management (CRM) is conducted purely via their website; a virtual marketplace with no direct contact between buyers and sellers.
Greenmountaincoffee have created a virtualized value system through their accelerated ordering, delivery and payment of goods and services, while reducing operating and inventory costs associated with traditional bricks and mortar stores. They have access to global markets, economies of scale and the ability to personalize. Greenmountaincoffee business model as a virtual community, which “helps build customer loyalty and trust through an interplay of virtual and physical realities. ” (Hagel and Armstrong, 1997.
) Greenmountaincoffee strengthens their association as a virtual store with “shopping trolley technology” (Cooke, 1997. ) Shopping carts and checkouts act as reminders of physical environments. (Weick, 1995. ) Collaborative filtering helps them achieve personalization and mass customization. Customer extension is offered via their site and e-mails. This has enabled “mutual close relationships” (Berscheid, 1985) significantly increasing customer loyalty, a major source of competitive advantage.
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Technology is integral to Greenmountaincoffee sustained competitive advantage. Greenmountaincoffee operates on a client to server basis. Their technology consists of a web browser linked to the Internet, which goes to a web server. The web server is linked to a business process server, which may be linked to a series of other servers such as payments and security servers. As previously mentioned they also use SSL technology to protect e-commerce transactions.