ArticlePDF Available

International Market Entry Strategies: Relational, Digital, and Hybrid Approaches


Abstract and Figures

The adoption of digital communications, facilitated by Internet technology, has been among the most significant international business developments of the past 25 years. This article investigates the effect of these new technologies and the changing global business environment to understand how relational approaches to international market entry (IME) are changing in light of macro developments. Despite substantial resources in business practice dedicated to combining relational strategies in digital settings, this analysis of extant literature reveals that fewer than 3% of peer-reviewed research articles in the international marketing domain examine digital contexts. To address this gap, the authors assess 25 years of literature to provide (1) a description of the evolution of IME research; (2) a review and synthesis of pertinent literature that adopts relational, digital, and hybrid approaches to IME; (3) a taxonomy of IME strategies; and (4) directions for further research.
Content may be subject to copyright.
International Market Entry Strategies:
Relational, Digital, and Hybrid
George F. Watson IV, Scott Weaven, Helen Perkins, Deepak Sardana, and
Robert W. Palmatier
The adoption of digital communications, facilitated by Internet technology, has been among the most significant international
business developments of the past 25 years. This article investigates the effect of these new technologies and the changing global
business environment to understand how relational approaches to international market entry (IME) are changing in light of
macro developments. Despite substantial resources in business practice dedicated to combining relational strategies in digital
settings, this analysis of extant literature reveals that fewer than 3% of peer-reviewed research articles in the international
marketing domain examine digital contexts. To address this gap, the authors assess 25 years of literature to provide (1) a
description of the evolution of IME research; (2) a review and synthesis of pertinent literature that adopts relational, digital, and
hybrid approaches to IME; (3) a taxonomy of IME strategies; and (4) directions for further research.
Keywords: international market entry, relationship marketing, digital marketing, hybrid strategies
Modern digital communications, facilitated by In-
ternet technology (IT), account for approximately
22% of global economic output (Manyika et al.
2016). Advances in communications, logistics, and
ITcombined with shrinking economic distances among
nations, cross-border economic integration, and convergence
in customer tastes and preferenceshave fundamen-
tally altered firmsability to identify and sell to customers
in international markets (Brun, Durif, and Ricard 2014;
Mathews et al. 2016). Reflecting the importance of these
developments, among its research priorities, the Marketing
Science Institute (2016) asks of researchers, How will we
reach the marketplace of the future?Yet fewer than 3% of
articles in our review of the international marketing (IM)
domain examine this future and its digital contexts, even as
companies devote increasingly substantial resources to them.
For example, companies offering digital customer relation-
ship management (CRM) software grew their revenues by
12.3% to $26.3 billion in 2015 (Poulter 2016). It remains
unclear how these broader advances in digital and business
environments affect international market entry (IME). In
response, this article seeks to identify the effects of the changing
global business environment on IME strategies and analyze the
conditions that might influence the success or failure of dif-
ferent IME strategies (i.e., relational, digital, or hybrid).
Our discussion of the emergence of digital technologies in
IME strategies tracks contemporary business developments
and highlights the shortage of attention to the intersection of
relational and digital approaches to IME. Of the 6,045
internationally oriented articles published in 29 prominent
peer-reviewed marketing and business journals since 1994,
approximately 60% contain relational topics. Such articles
George F. Watson IV is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Colorado State
University (email: Scott Weaven is Pro-
fessor of Marketing and Department Head (email: s.weaven@griffith.; Helen Perkins is Lecturer (email:;
Deepak Sardana is Lecturer (email:, De-
partment of Marketing, Griffith Business School, Gold Coast Campus,
Griffith University. Robert W. Palmatier is Professor of Marketing,
University of Washington (email: Bulent Menguc
served as associate editor for this article.
Journal of International Marketing
©2018, American Marketing Association
Vol. 26, No. 1, 2018, pp. 3060
DOI: 10.1509/jim.17.0034
ISSN 1069-031X (print) 1547-7215 (electronic)
30 Journal of International Marketing
also account for a little more than 60% of the total citations
attributed to IM research in this period. Relatively few IM
publications (159, or 3%) and citations (2,776, or 1%) out
of the total work in international relationship-marketing
research examine digital topics. In contrast, 1,004 domestic
market articles, accruing 41,626 citations, examine hybrid
(i.e., relational and digital simultaneously) topics across
these same 29 journals in the same time period.
To inform this under-researched area, we begin with an
assessment of the emergence of digital technologies in in-
ternational relationship-marketing research to highlight its
relative absence from contemporary academic thought. Next,
we analyze the evolution of IME strategies, to provide a
temporal overview of the effects of prior changes in global
environments, as well as emerging IME approaches and
contexts. In a third step, we review and synthesize literature
pertaining to key relational, digital, and hybrid approaches
by examining the legal, logistical, market, and cultural
considerations for each; in so doing, we explicate some
theoretical and empirical insights. Finally, we develop a
taxonomy of IME approaches that reflects the combined
use of relational and/or digital strategies, identified in our
literature review and reflected in illustrative business case
examples, to provide a framework for effective IME strategies.
With the insights gained across these four perspectives, we
delineate three major trends: the ubiquity of data-rich envi-
ronments, marketing automation, and artificial intelligence.
Each trend provides opportunities for impactful research due
to its implications for firm learning and knowledge, as well as
interorganizational trust and commitment.
In turn, we offer three main contributions. First, our review
of relevant research into relational, digital, and hybrid
approaches to IME provides a holistic overview of an
underdeveloped domain. Digital interactions with channel
partners and customers occur in substantially different en-
vironments than those described in traditional relationship-
marketing literature. In particular, hybrid approaches to IME
require the adaptation of relational tactics to exploit new
opportunities afforded by digital platforms. Interpersonal
interactions may be missing, but Internet-mediated channels
offer the unique benefits of convenience, speed, and even an
ability to avoid salespeople entirely (Bhatnagar and Ghose
2004). In such environments, hybrid approaches need to
address core relational issues such as trust, privacy, security,
information sharing, bilateral communication, and shared
learning, all in new ways (Creed, Zutshi, and Ross 2009).
Rather than relying on person-to-person interactions or
artificial boundary spanners, firms need to establish effective
online relationship-building strategies with channel partners
(Kozlenkova et al. 2017).
Second, our taxonomic classification of IME strategies helps
define the domain of inquiry and identifies the conditions in
classification of various approaches (e.g., licensing, joint ven-
tures, pure digital delivery), discuss likely determinants of their
success or failure in each context, and offer illustrative cases
to highlight key managerial considerations across distinct
business environments. The value of relational approaches
appears to increase with greater risk, particularly when the
need arises to safeguard tangible firm assets (e.g., supply
chains, distribution channels) and intangible customer as-
sets (e.g., proprietary information, location data, usage
behavior) in the face of novel legal, logistical, market, and
cultural realities in a new foreign market. Success demands the
appropriate adaptation of relational approaches in physical
and digital contexts, especially as the rate of technological
change accelerates and new technologies disrupt established
Third, we offer directions for research, based on our assess-
ment of extant literature and emerging practices in response to
contemporary developments in IME practice. Considering
the inherently uncertain environment of digitally mediated
buyerseller exchanges, new technologies that facilitate
online relationship-marketing strategies can help mitigate
cross-border market entry risks. Data-rich marketing
environments, which are generally on the rise, feed into de-
velopments in marketing automation and artificial intelligence;
yet despite their significant potential to alter relationship
building in digital environments, they remain relatively
understudied in IME literature.
International relationship-marketing literature, and IM
research more generally, consists of thousands of publica-
tions that examine various aspects of the exchange between
international buyers and sellers(Samiee, Chabowski, and
Hult 2015, p. 2). Considering the breadth of this literature,
we propose using the keywords published with the articles
as a good proxy for authorscollective sense of the past and
present interests of the field (Mela, Roos, and Deng 2013).
Analyses of these keywords, as well as citations of the articles
in which they are contained, can reveal the share-of-mind
for a particular subject or theme (Watson et al. 2015b).
Extant citation-based analyses focus on marketing thought
more generally (Baumgartner and Pieters 2003; Mela, Roos,
and Deng 2013; Samiee and Chabowski 2012; Tellis,
Chandy, and Ackerman 1999) or subdomains of the
International Market Entry Strategies 31
field, such as international relationship marketing and
customer relationship management (Kevork and Vre-
chopoulos 2009; Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015).
To advance this research legacy, we investigate business-
to-business (B2B) interorganizational contexts in par-
ticular. Rather than reproduce the overall knowledge
structure of international relationship-marketing literature,
we use these techniques to assess the extent to which digital
themes have taken hold within academic research since the
arrival of relationship marketing and IT.
Consistent with recent methodological best practices, we
developed three lists of pertinent keywords to use in
drawing data from the Web of Science (Chabowski, Mena,
and Gonzalez-Padron 2011; Samiee and Chabowski 2012;
Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015).1Within this database,
we searched the publication title, abstract, author-provided
keywords, and reference list for each article (Thomson
Reuters 2009)2published in 29 management, marketing,
and international business journals (Samiee and Chabowski
2012; Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015).3We eliminated
from consideration book reviews, editorials, and other
nonprimary research. The articles for potential inclusion
were published after 1994, which is the year Morgan and
Hunts (1994) seminal article appeared and essentially
founded relationship-marketing research (Palmatier et al.
2006). This date also marks the beginning of the in-
termediate periodin international relationship-marketing
literature (Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015, p. 5) and is
an early point in the widespread expansion of Internet
communications (Elmer-Dewitt and Jackson 1994).
With a comprehensive list of keywords, we sought to
capture the full breadth of research across related domains,
not just IME strategies. Therefore, we determined whether
an article was international in nature (henceforth, category 1)
by whether it contained keywords such as international,
veloped country,”“developing country,”“emerging coun-
try,”“emerging market,”“export,and import(Samiee
and Chabowski 2012). Next, to discern whether an article
focused on relationship marketing (category 2), we searched
forkeywordssuchasrelationship marketing,”“governance,
dyadic,”“buyer, seller,”“supplier,”“opportunism,”“co-
reciprocity,”“norms,and asset specificity(Palmatier
et al. 2006; Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015). Finally,
we investigated whether an article focused on digital con-
texts and topics (category 3), with search terms such as
digital,”“internet,”“online,”“internet commerce,
cyberspace,”“cyber-security,”“world wide web,”“web
2.0,”“m-commerce,”“mobile commerce,”“e-commerce,
electronic commerce,”“e-retailing,”“mobile,”“wireless,
and smartphone.By combining and excluding these three
keyword lists using Boolean operators, we could determine
whether a particular article published in the international
domain across the 29 journals of interest was primarily re-
lational (classified into categories 1 and 2 but not 3), primarily
digital (classified into categories 1 and 3 but not 2), or hybrid
(classified into all categories 13).
This search identified 6,045 articles that received 218,055
citations. Of these, 3,693 relational articles accounted for
133,723 citations; the 94 digital articles, 2,776 citations; and
the 159 hybrid articles, 4,070 citations. Due to disparities
in the number of published articles across categories, we
chart the logged annual number of published articles at-
tributed to these categories in Figure 1, to offer greater
readability (Watson et al. 2015b).
In particular, the 3,693 relational articles account for more than
60% of international literature published over this more than
20-year period, as well as more than 60% of the citations. In
stark contrast, barely 3% (159) of the publications and 1%
(2,776) of total citations of international relationship-marketing
research examine digital topics. For comparison, we note that
1,004 domestic (rather than international) articles, with 41,626
citations, examine hybrid topics (i.e., relational and digital si-
multaneously) across these 29 journals in the same period.
Yet, as we noted previously, modern digital communications
facilitated by IT account for approximately 22% of global
economic output (Manyika et al. 2016), suggesting the
substantial need for international relationship marketing to
Scholars summarize their work through their choice of title,
abstract, and keywords to help other scholars determine
whether their article is of interest. We use a broad list of
keywords and follow recent studies employing similar methods
(e.g., Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015; Watson et al.
2015b) such that this approach should capture this literature
stream well.
The exact syntax for the search queries is available
on request.
The 29 journals were Academy of Management Review,
Administrative Science Quarterly,British Journal of Manage-
ment,California Management Review,(Columbia) Journal of
World Business,Decision Sciences,European Journal of Mar-
keting,Industrial Marketing Management,International Busi-
ness Review,International Marketing Review,Journal of the
Academy of Marketing Science,Journal of Business,Journal of
Business & Industrial Marketing,Journal of Business Research,
Journal of International Business Studies,Journal of In-
ternational Marketing,Journal of Management,Journal of
Management Studies,Journal of Marketing,Journal of Mar-
keting Research,Journal of Product Innovation Management,
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing,Journal of Retailing,
Long Range Planning,Management International Review,
Management Science,Marketing Science,Organization Science,
and Strategic Management Journal.
32 Journal of International Marketing
devote more attention to these important topics. In particular,
as digital markets cross physical borders, the importance of
managing relationships across foreign contexts grows, espe-
cially in light of continued technological developments. To
encourage such investigations, we detail the evolution of IME
research next, then review pertinent literature that describes the
legal, logistical, market, and cultural considerations firms might
encounter when entering foreign markets. We base these an-
alyses on our assessments of the content, works cited, and
article lists contained in comprehensive reviews (Samiee and
Chabowski 2012; Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015), meta-
analyses (Leonidou et al. 2014; Palmatier et al. 2006; Samaha,
Beck, and Palmatier 2014), and well-cited articles related to
each approach (Morgan and Hunt 1994).
The past 30 years have witnessed significant shifts in IM
research and practice, driven by increasing dynamism,
global competitiveness, and altered international trade en-
vironments (Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015). Most
research takes a relational exchange perspective to examine
the interactions between buyers and sellers in international
contexts (Hoppner and Griffith 2015; Samiee, Chabowski,
and Hult 2015), but historical views of IME strategies entail
three major approaches, according to their level of rela-
tionalism: transactional, relational, or hybridized. Table 1
depicts the evolution of these IME approaches, in terms of
key theories, trends, and insights.
Figure 1. Article Count: International Marketing 19942016
1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
(Articles by Year)
Articles (Total)
Hybrid Articles
Hybrid Articles
Digital Articles
Notes: Article count is based on 29 peer-reviewed business and marketing journals. For the complete list, see footnote 3. Articles were counted if a keyword of interest based on
previous literature (e.g., Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015) appeared in the publication title, abstract, author-provided keywords, or article reference identifiers, available in the
Thomson Reuters (2009) Web of Science Database. Category 1 (international): international,”“global,”“foreign,”“cross-national,”“cross-cultural,”“developed country,
developing country,”“emerging country,”“emerging market,”“export,and import.Category 2 (relationship marketing): relationship marketing,”“governance,”“de-
pendence,”“exchange,”“inter-firm,”“interdependence,”“dyadic,”“buyer, seller,”“supplier,”“opportunism,”“cooperation,”“trust,”“commitment,”“conflict,”“power,”“reci-
procity,”“norms,and asset specificity.Category 3 (digital): digital,”“internet,”“online,”“internet commerce,”“cyberspace,”“cyber-security,”“world wide web,”“web 2.0,
m-commerce,”“mobile commerce,”“e-commerce,”“electronic commerce,”“e-retailing,”“mobile,”“wireless,and smartphone.By combining and or excluding each of
these three keyword lists with Boolean operators, we determi ned whether a particular article was primarily relational (categories 1 and 2 but not 3), primarily digital (categories 1 and 3
but not 2), or primarily hybrid (categories 1, 2, and 3) within international research. Due to the large disparities in the sizes of these categories, we logged the article count by year, for
enhanced readability.
International Market Entry Strategies 33
Table 1. Evolution of International Market Entry Approaches
Transactional Approaches Relational Approaches Digital Approaches Hybrid Approaches
Pre-1980s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Influential theories Classical economics Transaction cost econom-
ics; power dependence
theory; agency theory
Social exchange theory;
Dynamic capabilities;
resource-based view
Network theories;
commitmenttrust relation-
ship; resource-based view
Unit of analysis Dyadic Dyadic; channel
organization boundary
Task-oriented electronic
individual transactions
Network structure; technology-
mediated marketplaces;
direct-to-customer marketing
Key trends and
Manufacturer exporting;
reductions in trade
barriers and tariffs
Foreign competition en-
tering domestic markets
Globalization of markets;
customer retention,
loyalty, and satisfaction;
rise of service economy
E-commerce; digital delivery,
SaaS; logistic and com-
munication technology
Multichannel; social media;
mobile shopping; virtual
Key insights Profit maximization logic
dominated; analyses
were focused on re-
source commitments
and controllable mar-
ket entry decisions.
The focus was on firms
located in developed
nations that expanded
their operations into
countries with similar
Expanding operations
into culturally, eco-
nomically, and legally
dissimilar environ-
ments shifted focus
from dyadic views of
buyer and seller inter-
actions to the broader
influence of interper-
sonal relationships on
firm success.
Diffusion of control over
communication and
products, from the firm
to the marketplace,
disrupted nondigital
business models due to
rapid technological
Technological and trade devel-
opments present new market
opportunities by reducing
geographic, temporal, and
informational barriers to
entry but increase the com-
plexity of global exchanges.
Illustrative articles Vernon (1966); Wind,
Douglas, and Perlmut-
ter (1973)
Anderson and Coughlan
(1987); Anderson and
Narus (1990);
Williamson (1985)
Dwyer, Schurr, and Oh
(1987); Ganesan (1994);
Morgan and Hunt
Creed, Zutshi, and Ross
(2009); Pavlou, Liang,
and Xue (2007); Vara-
darajan and Yadav
Keeling, Keeling, and McGol-
drick (2013); Pagani (2013);
Yadav and Pavlou (2014)
34 Journal of International Marketing
1980s and Prior: Transactional Era
Transactional IME approaches focus primarily on a set of
profit-maximizing, risk-minimizing channel structure decisions
(physical and/or digital) to deliver goods and services to an
international market. Early IME research considered the
increasing internationalization of business that accelerated
in the late 1970s. Globalization came to the forefront of
managerial concern; the notion of profit maximization, as
derived from neo-classical economics, dominated academic
thought, such that early IM literature mainly relied on
transaction cost economics and related perspectives (e.g.,
Williamson 1985). The studies examined manufacturing
distributor exchanges, product life cycles, and managerial
perceptions of IM, often in the context of foreign-market
entry (Anderson and Narus 1990; Teece 1986). Accord-
ingly, the focal points of interest in these early studies of
dyadic buyerseller exchanges involved resource commit-
ments; controllable market-entry decisions; and the use of
wholly owned subsidiaries, acquisitions, or equity stake
holdings (Anderson and Coughlan 1987). Key concerns
were the bounded rationality of managers, partner op-
portunism, monitoring (e.g., agency theory), and optimal
governance choices, reflecting the less integrated in-
ternational community. The perspective also strongly im-
plied that firms in developed nations expanded their
operations into culturally and economically comparable
countries (Hoppner and Griffith 2015). However, such a
focus on control and short-term exchanges attracted con-
siderable criticism (Dwyer, Schurr, and Oh 1987), citing the
deficiencies that arose from failing to account for rela-
tionalism in both domestic and international markets.
1990s: The Rise of Relationship Marketing
In response to these criticisms, insights into relationship
marketing joined the transaction cost arguments, with the
idea that the pursuit of caring associations and continuityin
business relationships was critical to effective IME (Samiee,
Chabowski, and Hult 2015, p. 2). Relational IME approaches
focus primarily on a set of strategies that seek to establish,
maintain, and develop effective and mutually beneficial re-
lationships between exchange partners (Leonidou et al. 2014;
Skarmeas, Zeriti, and Baltas 2016; Zhuang and Zhang 2011).
By the late 1980s, academic research entered an open debate
about whether the field was experiencing a paradigm shift
toward relationship marketing (Gr ¨onroos 1990), which
exerted strong influences throughout the 1990s (M¨oller
and Halinen 2000). Accordingly, IM research expanded to
address the implications of employing a relationship-marketing
lens to understand cross-border business. It also acknowledged
that businesses located in developed nations were increasingly
entering developing rather than developed economies;
that is, they were expanding into culturally, economically,
and legally dissimilar environments, in which local relation-
ships proved immensely important for success (Hillman,
Zardkoohi, and Bierman 1999; Samaha, Beck, and Palmatier
To safeguard tangible business investments in riskier foreign
markets, having good relationships emerged as a critical
factor (Jap and Ganesan 2000). Weak legal environments in
developing economies complicated the kind of contract
enforcement necessary for the transactional governance de-
scribed by the transaction cost literature (Sheng, Zhou, and Li
2011). For example, foreign firms that sought to enter the
Chinese domestic market wererequiredtopartnerwitha
local, often government-owned enterprise (Faccio 2006), and
the resulting transfer of proprietary intelligence and resources
weakened firmscompetitive advantage, by design (Nee,
Opper, and Wong 2007). A more dyadic view of buyerseller
interactions also assisted in revealing the role of interpersonal
relationships (Kogut and Singh 1988). Substantial research
focused on the use of firm resources to encourage ongoing
commitment and trust in marketing channel arrangements,
such as strategic alliances and joint ventures (Calantone and
Zhao 2001). The developments reflected the importance of
the exchange in interfirm relationships, diverging from prior
work on the singular firms decisions as the unit of analysis
(Achrol and Kotler 2012).
2000s to Present: The Merger of Digital and
Relational Marketing
Hybrid IME approaches focus on determining the appro-
priate mix of relational strategies employed within a
channel structure that makes use of digital communication
technologies to deliver the firms product or service in a
foreign market. Changes in global markets since the early
2000s, due to advances in information technology, domestic
market saturation, and increasing competition in developing
economies, have brought about a third wave in the devel-
opment of IME approaches. Technological disruptions, in
particular, have outsized impacts on firm behavior (Ashraf,
Thongpapanl, and Auh 2014). Logistics and communication
technology infrastructure enable firms to reach customers
through task-oriented, human-to-technology transactions,
though these channels often reduce levels of trust and loyalty
(Keeling, Keeling, and McGoldrick 2013). Such changes also
create new challenges, such as when they enable channel
partners (e.g., intermediaries, manufacturers) to sell directly
to customers through channel disintermediation and thereby
increase levels of competition and the potential for conflict
(Kozinets et al. 2010).
International Market Entry Strategies 35
Accordingly, many firms combine digital technologies and
relational interactions in hybridized approaches to customer
engagement to develop enduring customer involvement, trust,
commitment, and loyalty toward online brands (Simmons
2008). Such hybrid approaches have naturally proven
popular in markets with high Internet and mobile
penetration (e.g., Japan, South Korea) but are also
growing in use in the United States and other developed
markets (Kim et al. 2011). As the price of smartphones
continues to drop, these approaches are likely to continue
expanding in middle- and lower-income economies as well
(Saadi 2017). The continued drop in smartphone prices has
enormous implications for hybrid approaches in lower-
income economies, in that it enables easy and frequent
multichannel contacts, without requiring the purchase of
relatively expensive computers to access the Internet. The
potential for digital development is highest in Southeast Asia,
Latin America, and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, due to their
relatively low market saturation (Chakravorti, Tunnard, and
Chaturvedi 2015).
Whether the approach is transactional, relational, or hy-
brid, IM clearly has evolved into what Brun, Durif, and
Ricard (2014) call e-relationship marketing.This form
of marketing is key for realizing value in digital exchanges;
it consists of integrated marketing communication facili-
tated by Internet-enabled technology platforms that en-
gender trust, build commitment, improve satisfaction, and
increase loyalty levels among exchange partners. However,
poor applications can degrade relational outcomes (Jackson
2014), so navigating this shift to hybrid approaches to IME is
not entirely straightforward.
Despite the imbalance of literature, with far greater cov-
erage of relational approaches to IME relative to digital or
hybrid approaches, we provide assessments of extant lit-
erature pertaining to all three approaches (see Tables 24,
respectively). For each approach, we highlight the key
concepts and definitions, determinants of IME, and research
findings. In this analysis, we also address four vital mac-
roeconomic considerations with substantial influence on the
success or failure of IME approaches (Dunning 2009): legal
(Cavusgil, Deligonul, and Zhang 2004; Theodosiou and
Katsikeas 2001), logistical (Bowersox and Calantone 1998;
Douglas and Craig 2011), market (Anderson and Coughlan
1987; Cano, Carrillat, and Jaramillo 2004), and cultural
(Samaha, Beck, and Palmatier 2014) considerations. In this
sense, our focus in this section is on the external factors
endemic to a foreign market that are important determinants
in the development of the firms competitive advantage and its
investment decisions(Uddin and Boateng 2011, p. 548).
Relational Approaches to IME
Relational IME approaches primarily center on the set of
strategies that seek to establish, maintain, and develop ef-
fective, mutually beneficial relationships among exchange
partners (Leonidou et al. 2014; Zhuang and Zhang 2011).
In particular, trust, defined as confidence in an exchange
partners integrity and reliability(Morgan and Hunt 1994,
p. 23), and commitment, or the enduring desire to maintain
a valued relationship(Moorman, Zaltman, and Deshpand´e
1992, p. 316), are major determinants of exchange perfor-
mance and lasting keystones of relationship marketing in in-
ternational environments (Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015).
Legal Considerations. In economies with stronger legal
environments, firms can benefit from the careful use of
contractual governance as a formal means to clarify channel
member roles and expectations in new buyerseller re-
lationships to mitigate IME risk (Keeling, Keeling, and
McGoldrick 2013). Contractual negotiation offers a con-
duit that enables goal sharing, dispute resolution, information
exchange, explicit knowledge transfers, and management of
expectations between parties, increasing the levels of trans-
parency and accountability in the relationship (Griffith and
Zhao 2015). In some contexts, however, formal contracts
with specific requirements and extensive monitoring may
signal mistrust, ignore the need for flexibility in the market,
and undermine relationship efficacy, thereby encouraging
(rather than discouraging) opportunism (Poppo and Zenger
2002; Zhuang and Zhang 2011). The successful imple-
mentation of relational approaches can address higher-risk
environments by increasing the levels of customer trust, en-
gagement, loyalty, and satisfaction (Brun, Durif, and Ricard
2014; Palmatier et al. 2006), particularly when weaker legal
environments (as often characterize developing economies)
complicate contract enforcement as a means to safeguard
tangible assets, as anticipated by transaction cost economics
(Sheng, Zhou, and Li 2011). Firms that adjust their contract
specificity and formality to suit local legal characteristics and
contractual norms, perhaps by adopting more relational
governance methods (e.g., trust-enhancing strategies) and
greater tolerance for minor contractual breaches,are more
likely to achieve enhanced exchange performance in for-
eign markets (Yang, Su, and Fam 2012).
Logistical Considerations. Channel structures and in-
formation flows in new markets can influence the success of
relational approaches to IME. For example, delays or
36 Journal of International Marketing
Table 2. Relational Approaches to International Market Entry: Review of Key Literature
Determinants Conditions Conducive to Approach Key Concepts and Definitions Key Findings Articles
determinants ·Legal system: Foreign laws and
regulations will differ from those in
the home market, influencing firm
preferences for contractual vs. re-
lational governance.
·Stability: Exchange partners need to
articulate terms of reference when
operating in volatile environments.
·Enforcement: Legal enforceability
may be uncertain in terms of how
local laws influence the nature of
economic transactions.
·Cost and speed: Differing business
legal environments will determine
the costs and speed associated with
business setup and operations in
business relationships.
·Contract customization: Contract with
foreign partner incorporating tailored
obligations, responsibilities, benefits, and
administrative arrangements to minimize
threats of future misunderstandings.
·Contract specificity: The level of
explicitness, specification, and precision
of contract terms.
·Contract monitoring: Governance pro-
cess that oversees and assesses a partners
compliance with the contract.
·Contract violation: Deviation from con-
tractual stipulations and features.
Contract specificity and contract
monitoring are more effective in
reducing contract violations in
countries with low business risk
and globalized markets because
they do not require the same level
of flexibility or (rapid) adapta-
tion due to mutual understanding
of expectations, contracts, and
the importance of firm reputation.
In countries with high business
risk, contract specificity and mon-
itoring are less effective for mini-
mizing violations, in that high
specificity does not offset volatility
in international markets (i.e.,
reduced flexibility).
Cannon, Achrol, and
Gundlach (2000); Grif-
fith and Zhao (2015);
Leonidou et al. (2017);
Lusch and Brown
(1996); Yang, Su, and
Fam (2012)
determinants ·Channel competition: The number
of and access to potential channel
partners influence the effectiveness
of relationship marketing.
·Channel networks: The group of
associated suppliers, distributors,
and retailers that deliver to end
users an offering brought about by
the coordinated channel efforts of
the focal firm, which affects ap-
proaches to relationship marketing.
·Service-dominant logic: The roles of
exchange partners are not distinct,
so value is always cocreated, jointly
and reciprocally.
·Relationship-specific investments: Ex-
change partnersidiosyncratic invest-
ments, not easily transferable beyond
the bounds of the relationship.
·Institutional distance: Prevention, de-
lay, or distortion of information ex-
changed in a relationship that keeps
parties apart.
·Network characteristics: Embeddedness
is the degree to which firms are enmeshed
in a network with overlapping social and
economic ties that lead to repeated
transactions. Density is the level of in-
terconnectedness among network mem-
bers (strong vs. weak ties). Centrality is
the number of direct ties between a firm
and others, and authority is power in
decision making.
Relationship-specific investments
such as customized transaction
procedures strengthen relational
bonds and create value through
lower interaction costs and scope
for innovation. Firm abilities to
access and/or develop foreign-
channel networks can offer
superior information processing,
knowledge creation, and adaptive
abilities. Institutional distance in
foreign channels will influence
perceptions of legitimacy and
market ambiguity, which in turn
inform optimal governance choices
to minimize any adverse perfor-
mance impacts.
Akaka, Vargo, and Lusch
(2013); ); Leonidou
et al. (2014); Palmatier,
Dant, and Grewal
(2007); Skarmeas,
Katsikeas, and
Schlegelmilch (2002);
Yang, Su, and Fam
International Market Entry Strategies 37
Table 2. Continued
Determinants Conditions Conducive to Approach Key Concepts and Definitions Key Findings Articles
determinants ·Environmental turbulence: Eco-
nomic and political (in)stability
may enhance the benefits of rela-
tional approaches in high-risk
business environments.
·Market concentration: Relational
investments need to be considered
within the context of firm brand/
competitive positioning because
dependence may restrict movement
to/from foreign partners.
·Psychic distance: Customerssub-
jective assessment of differences
between home and foreign-market
firms may act as barriers to rela-
tionship formation.
·Opportunism: Self-interested behavior
with guile.
·Power: The capability of one firm to
exert influence over another (includes
noncoercive and coercive elements).
·Coercion: A firms influence on an-
other through the imposition or threat
of harsh sanctions for noncompliance.
·Dependence: A firms need to maintain
a relationship with another to achieve
its goals.
Markets with higher uncertainty
may require more relational
marketing effort and increased
levels of communication to en-
gender trust, minimize perceived
opportunism, and focus on rela-
tional approaches to increase
perceptions of trustworthiness.
Economic and political instabil-
ity may favor a relational market
orientation with less reliance on
formal contracts and formal
planning due to the need for more
flexibility (e.g., Chinese cultural
preferences for relational
approaches to business
Griffith and Zhao
(2015); Palmatier,
Dant, and Grewal
(2007); Sousa and
Bradley (2006);
Zhuang and Zhang
determinants ·Individualismcollectivism: Cul-
tural emphasis in which individuals
are expected to be self-reliant and
distant from others (individualism),
rather than mutually dependent and
closely tied to others (collectivism).
·Power distance: Cultural accept-
ability of inequalities between
more and less powerful members of
·Uncertainty avoidance: The pro-
pensity of societal members to feel
threatened by ambiguous or un-
known situations.
·Masculinityfemininity: The degree
to which tough(masculine)
characteristics are valued over
tender(feminine) characteristics
in a culture.
·Trustcommitment: Trust is confi-
dence in an exchange partners reli-
ability and integrity, and commitment
is an enduring desire to maintain
a valued relationship.
·Relational market orientation: All ac-
tivities of the firm to establish, develop,
and maintain relationships with cus-
tomers and other parties at a profit by
mutual exchange and the fulfillment of
·Cultural sensitivity: Awareness of and
willingness to manage differences
between domestic and foreign busi-
ness practices.
·Adaptation: The extent that one party
makes substantial adjustments to fit
the needs of a foreign exchange
Cultural sensitivity is linked to
enduring commitment, so firms
should invest in cultural training
programs and hire managers
educated in other cultures. Rela-
tional market orientations, cross-
cultural training, and frequent
visits to foreign exchange part-
ners reduce the psychic distance
to promote more accurate as-
sessment of differences between
home and foreign markets, as
well as greater willingness for
interaction in foreign-country
contexts (standardization vs.
adaptation strategies), ultimately
leading to performance gains.
Conway and Swift
(2000); Hofstede
(1980); Rothaermel,
Kotha, and Steensma
(2006); Samaha, Beck,
and Palmatier (2014);
Skarmeas, Katsikeas,
and Schlegelmilch
38 Journal of International Marketing
Table 3. Digital Approaches to International Market Entry: Review of Key Literature
Determinants Conditions Conducive to Approach Key Concepts and Definitions Key Findings Articles
determinants ·Government regulation: Local
governments exhibit varying degrees
of openness to foreign firms freely
operating online.
·Transactional rule of law: The strength
of foreign-market regulation that may
affect online transactional integrity.
·Anti-piracy environment: Firms must
be able to protect digital offerings from
copying and protect themselves against
·Digital engagement metrics:
Measures to assess digital marketing
·Big data: Large, complex data sets,
difficult to process using traditional
tools or applications.
·Digital espionage: Illegally attempt-
ing to access nonpublic information
about a firms
customers, employees, technologies,
and trade secrets for the purpose of
damaging the targets business
A strong legal environment in a foreign
market benefits new market entrants
by reducing uncertainty in expected
legal protections, through higher
transparency and stability of the
boundaries of acceptable behavior.
It also lowers reputational costs to
honest businesses by effectively
punishing transgressors, and it increases
trust in digital exchanges. However,
strong government intervention may
require the transfer of proprietary
technology and practices, weakening
the competitive position of new
Oxley and Yeung (2001);
Schu and Morschett
(2017); Tiago and
Verissimo (2014)
determinants ·Digital infrastructure: Accessibility
of high-speed wireless networks,
high Internet penetration rates, high
mobile communication penetra-
tion, and digital technology for
sales channels.
·Physical infrastructure: E-tailers; abil-
ity to find reliable channel
partners to ensure product
availability, efficient order
processing, and transportation.
·IT capabilities: Firm information
resources and information
technology skills influence the like-
lihood of adopting digital marketing
·Computer-mediated environment:
The dynamic, distributed, poten-
tially global network enabling firms
and consumers to communicate and
access digital content.
·Two-sided market: An electronic
market-making intermediary (info-
mediary) that facilitates negotiation
and transactions between buying and
selling firms.
·B2B auctions: Online reverse
auction mechanisms, typically used
for procurement, in which sellers
compete to obtain the buyers
business by lowering their prices.
Information network navigation,
search, integration, decision making
through new modalities, and multiple
synchronized devices are increasingly
the norm. Trends toward marketing-
mix and distribution innovation are
enabled by improved technology
capabilities and cost reductions. Firms
motivated to improve their efficiency
with IT resources when entering
online exchanges tend to gain most. In
some B2B markets utilizing auctions,
price transparency (open format) can
actually damage long-term relation-
ships by arousing supplier suspicions
of buyer opportunism, while non-
transparent auctions (sealed-bid)
surprisingly avoid this problem.
Deng and Wang (2017);
Jap (2003, 2007);
Leeflang et al. (2014);
Varadarajan and
Yadav (2002); Yadav
and Pavlou (2014)
International Market Entry Strategies 39
Table 3. Continued
Determinants Conditions Conducive to Approach Key Concepts and Definitions Key Findings Articles
determinants ·Platform adoption: The prevalence,
medium (e.g., desktop, mobile), and
comfort with which potential
customers complete digital
·Product offering: Products and
services that are readily digitizable
facilitate the adoption of digital
marketing strategies.
·Market concentration: High
concentration or market actors or
infomediaries increase the risk of
collusion and price fixing. Market
size and increasing complexity de-
termine the business structure.
·Foreign-market orientation: A firm
focuses all activities and processes
on creating customer value by
leveraging its knowledge about
foreign markets.
·Entrepreneurial orientation: A
firms aggressive competitiveness,
inclination to take risks, and pref-
erence for change and innovation.
Competitive advantage and performance
outcomes depend on the firmsability
to leverage valuable and inimitable
resources. Firm resources (e.g., brand
strength, supplier relations) mediate the
positive influence of both firm-market
orientation and foreign-market
orientation on financial performance
outcomes. An entrepreneurial
orientation does not appear to
influence competitive advantages or
firm performance.
Colton, Roth, and
Bearden (2010); Pagani
(2013); Sultan, Rohm,
and Gao (2009)
determinants ·Internet commerce readiness: The
mix of optimism, innovativeness,
discomfort, and insecurity
exhibited toward using the online
exchange among a markets
·Cultural distance: Markets that are
culturally similar (e.g., that share
a language) are easier for foreign
firms to enter.
·Firm reputation: Influences e-retail
competitive advantages and thus
the effectiveness of the digital
strategy in a global marketplace.
·International network capabilities:
Relational capabilities such as mu-
tual exchange knowledge, trust,
cooperation, and social interactions
for customer and international
business network relationship
·International strategic orientation:
Openness to, appreciation of, and
understanding of other cultures, and
strong commitment to
international markets.
International strategic orientation and
foreign-market information, leverag-
ing Internet-enabled marketing activ-
ities, develops information and
knowledge capabilities that can reduce
the business liability of foreignness in
unfamiliar cross-border and
cross-cultural environments. Empirical
evidence supports the indirect influence
of Internet marketing capabilities on
international firm performance (e.g.,
international sales, market growth)
through positive effects on information
availability and international network
Ashraf et al. (2017);
Kotha, Rindova, and
Rothaermel (2001);
Mathews et al. (2016)
40 Journal of International Marketing
Table 4. Hybrid Approaches to International Market Entry: Review of Key Literature
Determinants Conditions Conducive to Approach Key Concepts and Definitions Key Findings Articles
determinants ·Information security laws: Interna-
tional privacy and information
security laws affect how online
consumer information is managed
with associated costs.
·Data collection laws: Laws
governing the type and amount of
customer-related information that
can be collected, or is required to be
collected, by firms.
·Data breach disclosure require-
ments: Requirements governing the
disclosure of data breach events
involving customer information.
·Consumer privacy concerns: The
perceived risk related to loss of
control and security of personal
·Opt-out information control
choice: Consumers take action to
protect their information.
·Opt-in information control choice:
Firms gain permission from con-
sumers to use and share
Concerns over consumer privacy stem
from the creation of large integrated
databases containing comprehensive
individual-level information. Offering
consumers control over the dissemi-
nation and use of their personal data
mitigates privacy concerns and builds
trust and commitment to the online
brand. The choice between opt-out
and opt-in control does not seem to
matter; the simple offer of some con-
trol through choice may be enough to
build trust.
Eastlick, Lotz, and War-
rington (2006); Martin,
Borah, and Palmatier
determinants ·Advanced Internet infrastructure:
International availability of
enhanced Internet functionality and
interactivity across international
·Dynamic capabilities: Firm (and
industry) preparedness to embrace
technology development, continu-
ous improvement, and
e-relationship strategy.
·Geographic distance: Increases the
time and material costs associated
with delivering physical goods from
digital transactions.
·Organizational alignment: Inter-
firm and intraorganizational coor-
dination of activities and priorities.
·Quality: Site reliability, privacy,
efficiency, value-added services,
and information usefulness.
·Image: Site reputation for offering
more value-added services than
·Cooperation: Parties work together
to achieve mutual goals, leading to
outcomes beyond those that would
be achieved if they acted solely in
their own interests.
The most important antecedent of
customer loyalty and competitive
advantage is perceived quality of the
site, including its reliability, privacy,
usability, design, access, information
availability, value-added services to
complement transactional activities,
and information usefulness (up-to-
date, credible, trustworthy). The
second most important contributor
is site image, assuming it provides
better added value than the
Ashraf et al. (2017);
Colton, Roth, and
Bearden (2010); Janita
and Miranda (2013);
Pardo, Ivens, and
Wilson (2013)
International Market Entry Strategies 41
Table 4. Continued
Determinants Conditions Conducive to Approach Key Concepts and Definitions Key Findings Articles
determinants ·Price consciousness: Suppliers need
to remain cognizant of customers
being price driven over relationship
driven, such that costs and pricing
considerations are central to rela-
tionship-building efforts.
·Incumbent firms: Emerging threats
from multinational firms originat-
ing in developing countries may
disrupt operations in developed
nations or produce significant bar-
riers to entry in foreign markets.
·Competitive intensity: Online cus-
tomer acquisition via the web can
be expensive and difficult because
competition is a click away.
·Brand relationship: The long-lasting
bond between brand and consumer
as a function of emotional connection
and communication.
·Online brand: The digital brand is
both a technology and a product,
where the user is also the consumer.
·Online brand experience: The inter-
nal subjective and holistic response to
Disruptions to existing marketing
channel structures due to the emer-
gence of service economies, market
uncertainty, globalization, and
growth in Internet-enabled commu-
nications technologies and big data
induce multichannel retailing, verti-
cal integration strategies, and
relational governance. Increasingly
advanced digital infrastructure and
mobile usage enable direct commu-
nication with customers. Real-time
collection of customer preference
and purchase data and the devel-
opment of closer retailercustomer
relationships place additional pres-
sure on traditional retail channels
and increase market competition.
Kozlenkova et al. (2017);
Lancastre and Lages
(2006); Morgan-
Thomas and Veloutsou
(2013); Watson et al.
determinants ·Information sharing: Cultural
differences and communication
norms may influence intended
decoding of communication
methods, messages, and images.
·Shared cultural values: The ideals
that guide or qualify a boundary
spanners personal conduct, inter-
action, and involvement with other
exchange partners.
·E-service quality: The extent to
which a digital interface facilitates
efficient and effective exchanges.
·Relational schema/performance
scripts: Expectations of the nature
of interactions in a relationship.
·Social presence cues: Social
representations designed to com-
pensate for a lack of interpersonal
·E-relationship marketing: Estab-
lishing, maintaining, enhancing,
and commercializing networked
customer relationships.
·Satisfaction: Perceived customer
focus, simplicity and ease of
e-experience, information accessibil-
ity and availability, and visible com-
mitment to e-relationship and e-
Technologically mediated relationships
are seen as less friendly, less cooper-
ative, and more task oriented than
face-to-face relationships. Internet-
mediated channels suffer from a lack
of interpersonal interactions yet offer
unique benefits of convenience, speed,
and social avoidance, if desired.
Efficacy of social presence cues online
depends on their type; avatars are
poorly received in e-tailing. It is im-
portant to enhance the overall
customer experience through careful
scripting of online interaction
sequences to improve perceptions of
friendliness in an online environment.
Berthon et al. (2008);
Brun, Durif, and Ricard
(2014); Jap and Mohr
(2002); Keeling, Keel-
ing, and McGoldrick
42 Journal of International Marketing
distortions in information exchanges due to the institutional
dissimilarities in foreign channels will influence perceptions of
legitimacy and market ambiguity between channel partners,
which in turn inform the optimal governance choices for
minimizing adverse performance impacts (Leonidou et al.
2014). To help overcome institutional distance and un-
familiarity, relationship-building activities can strengthen
channel networks of associated suppliers, distributors, and
retailers that deliver market offerings to end users through a
better coordination of focal firm efforts, as well as by in-
sulating these networks from competitive forces (Palmatier
et al. 2006). Similarly, firmsabilities to access or develop
foreign-channel networks can offer superior information
processing, knowledge creation, and adaptive abilities (Roth-
aermel, Kotha, and Steensma 2006). Relationship-specific
investments can assist in alleviating these difficulties by
strengthening relational bonds, creating value, lowering
exchange costs, and providing an avenue for innovation
and cocreation of knowledge to improve exchange perfor-
mance (Akaka, Vargo, and Lusch 2013; Skarmeas, Katsikeas,
and Schlegelmilch 2002).
Market Considerations. Physical and psychological dis-
tance, risk of opportunism, environmental turbulence, risk
of communication misunderstanding, and even the threat of
outright deception tend to be substantial in cross-border
interfirm relationships. A willingness to adjust to the market
is key; if a market is characterized by intense competition
and low uncertainty, relying too much on relational ties may
prove problematic (Kostova 1997). Taking a more trans-
actional approach that acknowledges competitive market
forces, customizes channel contracts, and includes addi-
tional monitoring thus may be a better short-term strategy.
Economic and political instability (i.e., environmental tur-
bulence) may favor a relational market orientation with less
reliance on formal contracts and formal planning, due to the
need for greater flexibility. Markets characterized by higher
levels of uncertainty also may require more relational mar-
keting effort and increased levels of communication to en-
gender trust, minimize perceived opportunism, and increase
perceptions of trustworthiness(Samaha,Beck,andPalmatier
2014). Consequently, the relational capabilities of firms
operating in complex international markets play a critical role
in determining market growth and financial performance, in
part due to their risk mitigation effects (Griffith and Zhao
2015; Samiee, Chabowski, and Hult 2015).
Cultural Considerations. Cultural differences may lead to
misinterpretations of specific business practices, commu-
nication styles, institutional/power structures, or gover-
nance mechanisms (Yang, Su, and Fam 2012). Cultural
factors, such as individualismcollectivism, acceptance of
power distance, preferences for uncertainty avoidance, and
dominance of masculinity or femininity values in social
interactions, can have profound impacts on the effectiveness
of relational approaches (Samaha, Beck, and Palmatier
2014). Although channel partners acting in the best interest
of committed, well-trusted sellers discourage opportunistic
behavior, outsiderfirms that seek to enter lower-trust
societies often find that a relational orientation is appro-
priate only for insiders(Wang 2007). Relational market
orientation, cross-cultural training, and frequent visits to
foreign exchange partners reduce psychic distance and can
promote more accurate assessments of differences between
home and foreign markets, as well as a greater willingness to
interact in foreign-country contexts (with standardization
or adaptation strategies), which ultimately should lead to
performance gains (Conway and Swift 2000; Skarmeas,
Katsikeas, and Schlegelmilch 2002). However, patience,
time, and substantial resources are also required to build
managerial ties and genuine personal relationships with key
stakeholders (i.e., relationship-specific investments). Should
managers decide to make such investments, the resulting
relational approaches can increase firm credibility and ul-
timately improve exchange performance (Voldnes, Gronhaug,
and Nilssen 2012).
For relational approaches to IME to succeed, managers
must recognize, understand, and adapt to the contextual
factors of a foreign market, which inform the relative ef-
fectiveness of relational strategies in transactions charac-
terized by geographic distance and economic, cultural, and
political differences (Samaha, Beck, and Palmatier 2014).
Logically, international exchange relationships should in-
clude elements of both relationship-building strategies and
prudent contractual governance for optimal performance
because they represent complementary rather than mutually
exclusive orientations (Seshadri and Mishra 2004). For ex-
ample, relational governance may take precedence over con-
tractual governance in uncertain markets, to incorporate
appropriate levels of flexibility and tolerance (Griffith and Zhao
2015), but transactional approaches may tend to work better in
stable markets or when the investment costs of relational
strategies substantially outweigh their potential benefits.
Digital Approaches to IME
Internet communication technologies have a significant
and growing influence on business transactions in many
markets (Janita and Miranda 2013; Mathews et al.
2016). These communication advances enable busi-
nesses to identify and exploit market opportunities faster
and across wider geographic areas than was previously
possible (Creed, Zutshi, and Ross 2009). Although
International Market Entry Strategies 43
entrepreneurs have developed entirely new business
models to exploit these technological developments,
such business environments are also fraught with sub-
stantial risk and widespread influence, as demonstrated
by the dot-com boom (and bust) of the early 2000s.
Legal Considerations. Advances in digital technologies
prompted a multitude of new considerations for marketing
managers in this domain, especially in relation to the avail-
ability and dissemination of information (Varadarajan and
Yadav 2002). Legally, these new information flows are subject
to varying regulations across markets. Local government
regulations may exhibit varying degrees of openness to foreign
firms operating freely online, differing levels of transactional
integrity, and divergent approaches to the protection and
enforcement of digital piracy. Moreover, firms may find
themselves subject to digital espionage attempts from foreign-
market firms and even government agencies (Reinmoeller
and Ansari 2016), all of which necessitate a strong un-
derstanding of the legal protections available to firms entering
new foreign markets, as well as avenues for protecting in-
tangible firm assets.
Logistical Considerations. Other features also differentiate
digital environments from traditional IME settings, such as
the reduced (electronic) proximity between buyers and
sellers and varying temporal distances (i.e., time between
purchase and receipt is greater for physical goods but lesser
for digital products) (Simmons 2008). As information
availability and disseminationhasenabledincreasedfirm
learning and knowledge about new markets and new cus-
tomers, it has also had profound effects on the de-
centralization of channel structures and the development of
interorganizational networks (Gupta 2008; Yadav and
Pavlou 2014). Digital infrastructures enable both the ability
to find new channel partners in foreign markets (Petersen,
Welch, and Liesch 2002) and new, digital-only business
models that easily cross national boundaries (e.g., software
as a service [SaaS]). For example, start-up businesses oper-
ating within the digital space automatically have the po-
tential to be born global, due to the very nature of the
digitally mediated, real-time communication channels that
connect buyers and sellers from all over the world (Watson
et al. 2015b). Furthermore, the physical infrastructure of
channels has become more distributed and accessible, due to
developments in technological platforms such as cloud
computing (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure,
Google Cloud Platform) and point-of-sale online payment
processing (e.g., Square, Shopify) that previously were
prohibitively difficult or expensive to adopt. Accordingly,
firms that are motivated to improve their capabilities with IT
resources tend to gain more (Yadav and Pavlou 2014).
Market Considerations. For customers, Internet-enabled
technologies make comparisons easier and support com-
petitive evaluations, by offering multiple sources of credible
information about the price and nonprice attributes of
potential channel partners. Firms and customers that rely on
digital technologies in their marketing and purchasing
practices benefit from rich information, obtained with
lower search costs (H¨aubl and Trifts 2000), which can
reduce the information asymmetry between buyers and sellers
and mitigate the potential for opportunism and conflict. For
example, because digital approaches to marketing can serve as
both distribution and promotion channels, they can reduce
firmsmarketing costs and increase their marketing efficiency
(Varadarajan and Yadav 2002). The result is a more effective
buyerseller match, though there is a concomitant threat of
increased competition, only a click away. Continued tech-
nological developments in digital communication technol-
ogies and the accessibility (and decreasing prices) of smartphones
have had enormous implications for expanding straight-to-
customer IME strategies in lower-income economies (via
channel disintermediation); yet firms still need to adapt their
mobile IME strategies to match the readiness of local
markets (Ashraf et al. 2017; Mathews et al. 2016). The
average global selling price of smartphones has fallen by
approximately 25% since 2011 (Saadi 2017), and this price
trend has enormous potential to extend levels of digital
economic development in developing markets, thus en-
abling firms to access millions of potential new customers.
Cultural Considerations. Finally, digital approaches to IME
represent a firm resource that can establish a foundation for
specific marketing capabilities. Empirical evidence supports
the indirect influence of Internet marketing capabilities on
international firm performance (e.g., international sales,
market growth) through positive effects on information
availability and international network capabilities (Mathews
et al. 2016). When combined with foreign-market in-
formation, these capabilities help reduce liabilities in un-
familiar cross-border and cross-cultural environments
(Kotha, Rindova, and Rothaermel 2001). The effective use of
digital information technologies also can facilitate valuable
learning about foreign markets and potential international
customers, including cultural, political, and economic con-
texts, which may help assuage information asymmetry and
the sense of foreignness(i.e., cultural distance) (Mathews
et al. 2016). Managers develop firm resources when they
combine existing marketing processes, skills, and information
with IT resources to enhance capabilities pertaining to sales
force systems, channel management and support, competitive
intelligence, operational efficiency, and marketing-mix
decisions tailored to new markets (Ray, Barney, and
Muhanna 2004; Gabrielsson and Gabrielsson 2011).
44 Journal of International Marketing
For example, web-based technologies can build an in-
ternational customer base, provide information, enable
price-based competition, and facilitate CRM (Verma,
Sharma, and Sheth 2016). Improved technology capabilities
and cost reductions enable trends toward greater market
customization of product, promotion, pricing, distribution,
tomers also perceive digital approaches as riskier and less
trustworthy than face-to-face settings (McCole 2002), so the
application of traditional relationship-marketing strategies
through digital means (i.e., hybrid approaches) may have
substantial value for firms, especially in complex and
competitive international marketplaces.
Hybrid Approaches to IME
Hybrid approaches to IME blend relational and digital
strategies, increasing the potential complexity of firm efforts
to enter a market. Not only must firms overcome risks as-
sociated with the local market,theymustdosowithinthe
constraints of digital environments that can limit the level of
interpersonal interactions that help build strong buyerseller
Legal Considerations. A substantial function of CRM is to
procure timely, accurate information about customers, so
legal stipulations relating to the ability to gather, use, and
protect digital metrics of customers may pose substantial
operational difficulties and compliance costs (Sen and Borle
2015). In part, this challenge reflects concerns about cus-
tomer data privacy stemming from the creation of large,
integrated databases that contain comprehensive, individual-
level information. Offering consumers control over the dis-
semination and use of their personal data mitigates privacy
concerns and builds trust and commitment to the online
brand (Tucker 2014). The choice between opt-out versus opt-
in methods does not seem to matter; the simple offer of some
form of control to the customer may be sufficient to build
trust (Martin, Borah, and Palmatier 2017). Yet, some basic
level of trust in the reliability and security of Internet-enabled
communications systems must exist; nascent relationships can
deteriorate quickly following even minor breaches of in-
tangible customer assets, such as account and usage in-
formation (Eastlick, Lotz, and Warrington 2006; Martin,
Borah, and Palmatier 2017).
Logistical Considerations. In digital environments, the
perceived quality of the site, including its reliability, privacy,
usability, design, access, information availability, value-
added services to complement transactional activities, and
information usefulness (up-to-date, credible, trustworthy
data) represent primary antecedents of customer loyalty and
competitive advantage (Janita and Miranda 2013). That is, a
well-executed digital environment provides the foundation
for hybrid strategies, but rapid rates of technological change
necessitate constant reevaluations of hybrid approaches.
Central to such ongoing assessments is the maintenance of
close channel-member relationships, which are critical for
executing the accurate, reliable, logistically challenging ful-
fillment of products and services in digital exchanges (Colton,
Roth, and Bearden 2010). These buyersupplier relations can
be a source of competitive advantage if they are imperfectly
imitable, which becomes increasingly difficult to achieve in
thefaceofmoredistributedandaccessible value chains in the
channel. Furthermore, the accessibility of end users to up-
stream firms increases with the proliferation of Internet
access provided by increasingly affordable computers
and smartphones (Ashraf et al. 2017), which heightens
the need for effective multichannel strategies to prevent
conflict with existing channel relationships, as well as ef-
fective management of new end user relationships after dis-
intermediation (Srinivasan and Moorman 2005).
Market Considerations. Early relationships in digitally
mediated contexts often feature a transactional approach,
with low levels of engagement and trust, a strong emphasis
on price, a high tendency to switch, and greater risk per-
ception (Brun, Durif, and Ricard 2014; Zhang et al. 2016).
In highly competitive digital markets, incumbent firms in the
local market tend to be better attuned to local conditions.
However, as exchange frequency increasessupported by
transparent, effective, reliable, secure, Internet-enabled com-
munication systemstrust in the company and engagement
levels rise, while perceived risk and switching tendencies de-
crease (Conway and Swift 2000). Beyond technical capabil-
ities, brand strength offers another means to mitigate the
uncertainty, turbulence, and potential confusion of digital
markets (Morgan-Thomas and Veloutsou 2013). Hybrid
approaches can have distinct effects for various firm out-
comes. For example, online platform providers generate much
of their revenues from pay-per-click search advertising, pay-
per-impression display advertising, and membership fees.
High-trust, committed customers generate less search ad-
vertising revenue than low-trust, organic visitors, but they
are more effective for generating display advertising and
membership fee revenue, due to their greater engagement
and time spent on the platform (Kozlenkova et al. 2017). By
creating customer bonds, through connections to a brands
emotionally laden values, firms can produce relational ex-
periences, even in digital settings (Wang, Pauleen, and
Zhang 2016). A strong brand reputation also decreases
psychological barriers and increases feelings of technolog-
ical self-efficacy, which should enhance the perceived ease of
use of online exchanges (Song et al. 2010).
International Market Entry Strategies 45
Cultural Considerations. Cultural differences across mar-
kets can alter the effectiveness of relational strategies used in
digital settings, so firms must acknowledge the advantages
and shortcomings of their technological choices. Relational
approaches through digital settings often lack the interpersonal
interactions that tend to drive trust, but they generate advan-
tages associated with increased levels of convenience, speed,
and efficiency (Bhatnagar and Ghose 2004). Moreover,
channel partners may perceive technologically mediated
exchangesaslessfriendlyand more transaction focused
than face-to-face exchanges, because the lack of human
interaction eliminates various tangible and sensory cues
(Keeling, Keeling, and McGoldrick 2013). To overcome
these concerns, firms have sought to expand the function-
ality, flexibility, and feedback opportunities in their digital
interactions (Keeling, Keeling, and McGoldrick 2013), as
well as social cues, by implementing relational schema and
performance scripts (Bickmore and Picard 2005). The ex-
tent to which such interactions produce transparency,
accountability, feedback opportunities, and expectations of
reciprocity defines their influence on customer perceptions
of quality, friendliness, and satisfaction in the exchange
(Keeling, Keeling, and McGoldrick 2013). Ultimately, estab-
lishing interactions with customers remains a primary goal of
firms that employ hybrid approaches to IME, for which en-
gagement, trust, and commitment still constitute the central
elements of effective CRM in digitally mediated exchanges.
Digitally mediated channels have led to the development
of new business models of international buyerseller value
exchanges (Janita and Miranda 2013; Mathews et al.
2016) that recognize the need to adapt extant relational
strategies to leverage the advantages available through
these technologies. As this review and synthesis of liter-
ature highlights, digital interactions with customers occur
in substantially different environments than the conven-
tional settings addressed by extant relationship-marketing
literature. To exploit the multitude of opportunities afforded
by digital platforms, hybrid approaches can adapt relational
tactics to accommodate unique business environments. In
particular, they should concentrate on core relational issues
(e.g., trust, privacy, security, information sharing, bilateral
communication, shared learning)which are relatively more
difficult to achieve with digital IME strategies.
Taxonomic analysis in marketing originates in strategic
management literature and is useful to identify and describe
strategies for firms in competitive markets (Jap and Mohr
2002; Namiki 1994; Porter 1980). Taxonomies are based
on the principle that the strategies adopted by firms in different
classifications indicate relatively heterogeneous strategic be-
haviors, but firms in the same classification demonstrate ho-
mogeneous strategic behaviors (Cavusgil, Chan, and Zhang
2003). In this section, we propose a taxonomy of IME strategies
basedonafirms simultaneous implementation of digital and
relational approaches, as a basis for our topological identi-
fication. Figure 2 provides a visual representation of our IME
taxonomy, which crosses high and low levels of digital and
relational IME strategies to define four main categories:
traditional, relational, digital, and hybrid. In line with each
type, we provide concrete examples of IME approaches (e.g.,
licensing, joint ventures, pure digital delivery, SaaS), discuss
relevant conditions that influence success or failure in each
context, and offer short cases to illustrate the managerial
considerations in both successful (Table 5) and unsuccessful
(Table 6) implementations.
In line with each type, we provide concrete examples of
IME approaches (e.g., licensing, joint ventures, pure digital
delivery, SaaS), discuss relevant conditions that influence
success or failure in each context, and offer short cases to
illustrate the managerial considerations in both successful and
unsuccessful implementations. Figure 2 provides a visual
representation of our IME taxonomy, which crosses high and
low levels of digital and relational IME strategies to define four
main categories: traditional, relational, digital, and hybrid.
Low DigitalLow Relational: Traditional
Traditional IME strategies refer to planned systems of de-
livering and distributing goods and services to an international
market through foreign-channel intermediaries. Before the
development of Internet-enabled communications, conven-
tional IME strategies focused on manufactured goods and the
need to secure tangible firm assets and monitor international
partners, so they gave rise to approaches designed to bridge or
avoid differences across countries (Akaka, Vargo, and Lusch
2013). For example, with a pure exporting strategy, a firm can
sellandshipitsdomestically manufactured goods to a
foreign distributor in the desired market without requiring a
physical presence in the country. Licensing agreements (e.g.,
Microsoft Enterprise Agreements) and franchising (e.g.,
Hertz corporate car rentals in Europe) also allow firms to
enter international markets by assigning most of the capital
risk to local agents. If the firmsofferingsdemandcomplex
manufacturing techniques, it may prefer fully integrated
production, such as through the purchase of a local firm, or
foreign direct investment to build physical assets in foreign
markets. Such options are prevalent in the services sector,
too, such as when a consulting firm sets up offices abroad
46 Journal of International Marketing
to ensure control over its output to international customers
(e.g., the Berlin offices of McKinsey & Co.).
Such traditional IME strategies must account for distinctions
between foreign and domestic environments, including dif-
ferences in culture (language, tastes), currency, legal concepts,
import duties and customs, and physical distance (Akaka,
Vargo, and Lusch 2013). Culture largely determines whether
firms can sell their products as isor instead should make
significant changes or develop new offerings specific to the
chosen market (Cavusgil, Deligonul, and Yaprak 2005). For
example, UPS initially entered the Chinese market in 1988 on
the strength of its exportimport B2B services and chose to
partner with local carriers for domestic delivery to learn the
market, rather than directly transplant its U.S. model by
purchasing its own Chinese air routes and acquiring local
distributors (Gao and Prime 2010). Although this choice
limited UPSs short-term growth, it was able to avoid the risks
of what was then a volatile market, prior to Chinasentryinto
the World Trade Organization, while also learning that Chinese
business customers preferred customized logistic services over
standardized offerings. By 2002, Chinese exports helped UPS
grow its revenues by 60%. Fluctuations in exchange rates can
also render firm offerings prohibitively expensive or, alterna-
tively, so inexpensive that supply stock-outs become an issue.
The varying legal and regulatory requirements across markets
may also add costs (e.g., Japanese vs. U.S. environmental
regulations) or threaten to put a firm in violation of legislation
(e.g., European antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft).
Low DigitalHigh Relational: Relational
Relational IME strategies refer to firm actions that aim to
build strong relationships with exchange partners to
overcome exchange risks associated with foreign markets,
including physical and psychological distance, opportunism,
relational instability, communication difficulties, and deception
Figure 2. Taxonomy of IME Strategies
Digital IME Strategies Hybrid IME Strategies
Relational IME StrategiesTraditional IME Strategies
• Legal environment
Customs and import
Currency exchange
• Local preferences
• Pure export
• Licensing
• Direct investment
• Local company
• Internet-logistic
Readily digitizable
product offering
Brand strength
• Pure digital delivery
Drop shipping
• Software as a
Cloud computing
Personal information
security laws
Brand strength
• Intellectual property
• Social media usage
Professional social
network websites
B2B customer
service platforms
relationship and
social media
Market ambiguity
• Local customs
• Cultural sensitivity
• Contract
Joint ventures
• Alliance networks
• Hiring of local
Dedicated account
managers and
International Market Entry Strategies 47
Table 5. Successes: Illustrative Examples of Taxonomies of International Market Entry
Low DigitalLow
Relational: Traditional IME
Low DigitalHigh
Relational: Relational IME
High DigitalLow
Relational: Digital IME
High DigitalHigh
Relational: Hybrid IME
Embraer Aircraft (Worldwide) Fleetguard Filters (India) Blackboard Educational (Australia) Google SMEs (India)
Context Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA
(Embraer) was established in 1969 by
the Brazilian government to manufac-
ture planes, primarily for the Brazilian
Air Force and, later, nonmilitary re-
gional aircraft. However, the company
fell into bankruptcy by the early 1990s
and was subsequently privatized to an
investor group in 1994. Under private
leadership, the company restructured
and entered new product segments in
the regional commercial aircraft
market underserved by larger manu-
facturers like Boeing.
Fleetguard Filters Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of
Cummins Filtration Inc., is a leading
original equipment and aftermarket auto
component manufacturer of heavy-duty
air, fuel, lube, hydraulic filters, air intake
systems, coolants, and chemicals for
commercial engines. It is an International
Organization for Standardization Technical
Specificationcertified filter company that
services automotive and industrial engine
and equipment manufacturers through
distributors, sales representatives, and
retailer networks throughout India.
Blackboard Inc., based in the
United States, is one of the
pioneer providers of learning
management system solutions to
educational institutions such as
high schools, community
colleges, and universities across
the globe. It holds the largest
market share for learning
management systems in the
United States and Australia.
The Indian market is both large
(>1 billion people) and high-
growth (four times the world
average), so capturing the
Indian B2B digital advertising
market was a central goal in
Googles global market strat-
egy. Containing more than
47 million small and medium-
sized enterprises (SMEs), the
Indian market was given ex-
plicit priority as a strategic
market by senior leadership.
IME strategy Success in the aeronautics industry de-
pends on design and manufacturing
competence, price and operational
costs of aircraft, and postsales services
provided to relatively few customers
spread around the world. At the time
of its reorganization, Embraer decided
to venture into the then-underserved
market for jets flying regional routes,
characterized by roughly 50-seat jets
flying routes of approximately 1 hour
and 600 miles in length. Its exported
product, the ERJ-145, hit the market
in 1996 as a lighter, cheaper, and 15%
less expensive to operate alternative to
its main rival, the Bombardier CRJ-
Although Fleetguard focuses on developing
innovative new products for its clients, much
of its success has been attributed to building
strong relationships with channel partners.
Removing conventional strategies based on
sales and incentive targets, Fleetguard has
programs for distributors, resulting in
reductions in (distributor) stock holding
periods by more than half in comparison
with its closest competitors. Central to its
high-relational approach is building channel
partner trust, ongoing commitment, and
satisfaction by adopting a theory of
constraintsmanagement methodology and
ensuring that Fleetguard managers maintain
a close and active role in communicating and
managing inventory levels with individual
Since it was founded in 1997, the
company has been aggressive in its
international growth and used its
early-entry advantage in this
market, combined with its consoli-
dation strategy, to buy out its direct
competitors. With such a dominant
position in the market, it primarily
uses a digital approach to sell its
learning management platforms to
cational institutions. It has a rela-
tively small physical office presence
in the AsiaPacific region, to save
on costs, and relatively few channel
partners, with none in Australia.
Customer support is primarily
provided through low-cost phone
and email communications.
Google hosts more than 175,000
websites for small businesses in
8,000 cities in India, free of
charge. With its Digital
Unlocked program, Google
supports a Digital India cam-
paign, promising to conduct
more than 5,000 online work-
shops for small businesses to be
jointly certified by Google and
the Indian School of Business.
Through Googles Launchpad
Accelerator, it has recruited
experts to assist start-ups, and it
provides its My Business App
to allow small businesses to
develop their websites. To
promote customer engagement,
Google also provides free Wi-Fi
in hundreds of railway stations.
48 Journal of International Marketing
Table 5. Continued
Low DigitalLow
Relational: Traditional IME
Low DigitalHigh
Relational: Relational IME
High DigitalLow
Relational: Digital IME
High DigitalHigh
Relational: Hybrid IME
Embraer Aircraft (Worldwide) Fleetguard Filters (India) Blackboard Educational (Australia) Google SMEs (India)
The new EJR-145 secured its first
contract with a regional operator of
Continental Airlines in 1996, and by
September 2000, Embraer delivered
its 300th ERJ-145 with British Re-
gional Airlines. In comparison, it
took Canadas Bombardier almost
seven years to deliver 300 of the EJR-
145s nearest competitor. By 1998,
Embraer had returned to profit-
ability, and by 2002, exports
accounted for 90% of total sales and
led worldwide unit sales for regional
aircraft. By the end of 2004,
Embraer was the second-largest re-
gional jet manufacturer in the world,
after Bombardier, and it registered
net profits of $380 million.
Fleetguards dominance in the original
equipment and aftermarket automotive
sector has resulted from its focus on tra-
ditional approaches to relationship mar-
keting to drive cost efficiencies and
continually improve service outcomes.
Moreover, it has an explicit strategy of
retaining staff (even in periods of economic
uncertainty) to minimize potential disrup-
tions to existing relationships with channel
partners. Such approaches have seen sub-
stantial growth in Fleetguards network,
which has grown to 60,000 outlets and
a network of over 2,000 distributors in
2016, with considerable growth in turn-
over from 5,600 million ($87 million) in
2011 to over 9,230 million ($144 million)
in 2017.
The approach taken by Black-
board has resulted in good per-
formance, primarily due to its
leadership within the learning
management systems market. In
July 2011, Blackboard agreed to
a $1.64 billion buyout led by
Providence Equity Partners,
which ramped up the companys
approaches. As of 2016, the
company brought in more than
$565 million in revenue from
16,000 clients located in more
than 90 countries worldwide.
Google has made significant
inroads in the Indian market
and continues to achieve high
profits in its sales of B2B ad-
vertising, including triple-
digit advertising growth in
2011 and 2012, as a testament
to the success of its 2012
India: Get Your Business
Onlinecampaign. Contin-
ued success looks likely con-
sidering the countrys
continued online and mobile
growth, where its app market
ranked first in Google Play
downloads worldwide.
International Market Entry Strategies 49
Table 6. Failures: Illustrative Examples of Taxonomies of International Market Entry
Low DigitalLow Relational:
Traditional IME
Low DigitalHigh Relational:
Relational IME
High DigitalLow Relational:
Digital IME
High DigitalHigh Relational:
Hybrid IME
Dubai Ports World (United States) Michels Patisserie Franchises (China) eBay Small Business (China) Adobe SMEs (India)
Context Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
Dubai Ports World (DP World) oper-
ates multiple related businesses in
marine port management, maritime
services, logistics, and technology-
driven trade solutions. Its operations
span 70+ marine and inland terminals
across 40 countries in six continents in
both developed and developing econ-
omies, and it was looking to expand
operations into the United States. The
company is owned by the government
of Dubai through a holding company.
Founded in Sydney, Australia, in 1988,
Michels Patisserie utilized a franchise
concept to establish several retail formats,
including high street and strip positions,
inline shopping center stores, and kiosks.
It remains one of the most successful retail
food concepts in Australia, serving more
than 20 million cups of coffee and 9.5
million slices of cake each year. However,
by the mid-2000s, the company recog-
nized it was close to market saturation
and investigated options to grow the
brand internationally.
eBay entered the Chinese market in
2004 to capture customers, but in
pursuit of success, its business
model entailed enlisting small
business owners and traders who
would use eBays platform to sell
products to end users. At the same
time, Alibaba saw major competi-
tion in eBay and responded with
a competing website, Taobao, for
small business owners and traders
to sell online to end customers.
Software piracy is a major issue in
developing countries, particu-
larly in India, which is highly
connected but relatively low in-
come. Adobe and its competitors
are also impacted by piracy, and
products priced for developed
markets do not translate well to
developing economies. Yet
Adobe considered India an im-
portant growth country and
a key market.
IME strategy In February 2006, the stockholders of the
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Naviga-
tion Company (P&O), a British firm,
agreed to a sale of that company to DP
World in which they would assume the
leases of P&O to manage major U.S.
facilities at the Port of New York and
New Jersey, Port of Philadelphia, Port of
Baltimore, Port of New Orleans, and
Port of Miami, as well as operations in
16 other ports outside the United States.
The deal was approved by the U.S.
Committee on Foreign Investment, but
domestic businesses affected by the
merger raised concerns about foreign
ownership of economically important
ports, which quickly became a political
controversy, due to fears of foreign
control over strategic U.S. assets related
to concerns about terrorism and illicit
Michels initially expanded to culturally
similar markets (e.g., New Zealand,
Singapore, Malaysia) but also recog-
nized the potential of the Chinese mar-
ket. The firms IME strategy typically
involved establishing turnkeystores
and centralized bakery operations out-
side of the expensive city center; a third-
party joint venture arrangement
between a local Chinese entrepreneur
added an additional layer of complexity.
Corporate headquarters maintained
close relational ties with their head
franchisee in China but had minimal
involvement with the territorial licensing
and day-to-day operations. Lower than
expected sales, suboptimal store loca-
tions, and government regulation put
pressure on the brand, necessitating
conversions of franchise stores to com-
pany ownership at great cost.
The approach taken by eBay was pri-
marily transactional, rebranding itself
in China as eBay EachNetand
spending heavily to advertise online.
EBay signed exclusive advertising
rights with major portals to outbid
Taobao. Still, eBay EachNet lost
market share to Taobao, primarily due
to its limited contextual understanding
and misapplication of its high-digital
and low-relational approach.
Although EachNet tried to dominate
digital advertising, Taobao understood
that Chinese small business owners at
the time spent more time watching TV
than browsing the Internet, and it
advertised accordingly. Additionally,
EachNet charged customers relatively
high rates, whereas Taobaos services
were offered free of cost to small
traders and business owners.
Adobe has extensive networks of
channel partners and retailers to
sell its various products to indi-
viduals and small and micro
businesses. Adobe provides ex-
tensive and costly digital support
to its channel partners while try-
ing to build relationships with
them. Yet it often encounters
problems when individuals and
small businesses use pirated
versions of its software. To
address this piracy issue, the
company often lends its network
and legal support to its channel
partners to enforce punitive
measures. Channel partners, in
collusion with institutional au-
thorities, often raid and audit
individuals and small businesses
to check for piracy.
50 Journal of International Marketing
Table 6. Continued
Low DigitalLow Relational:
Traditional IME
Low DigitalHigh Relational:
Relational IME
High DigitalLow Relational:
Digital IME
High DigitalHigh Relational:
Hybrid IME
Dubai Ports World (United States) Michels Patisserie Franchises (China) eBay Small Business (China) Adobe SMEs (India)
Despite support from then-President
George W. Bush and significant
business publications, a Congressio-
nal House Panel voted 622 to block
the deal, essentially forcing DP
World to sell its P&O-acquired
U.S.-based assets to a U.S. entity.
Eventually, it went to American
International Groupsasset man-
agement division for an undisclosed
sum and was renamed Ports America.
Despite its best efforts, DP World
was unable to overcome the domestic
politics and legal maneuvering of
interested parties in the local market.
While Michels Patisserie experienced
domestic success through maintaining
close working relationships with
franchisees, by abrogating decision-
making authority to its master fran-
chisee and territorial licensee in China,
its ability to respond to challenges was
curtailed. Strategic changes came too
late, and by 2007, franchise opera-
tions were sold to the Retail Food
Group Ltd., as Michels exited the
Chinese market.
Knowledge of local and cultural
issues also worked in favor of
Taobao. For example, Taobao re-
alized that most of its consumers
were not sophisticated enough to
utilize options for auctions, and
they needed simple and intuitive
sales function. In contrast, eBay
applied the auction function that
worked well for it in the United
States. EBay quit the Chinese mar-
ket in 2006, leaving its remaining
customers to shift their allegiance to
Taobao, whose philosophy was to
let its customers profit first.
While it is incorrect to state that
Adobe is performing poorly in
India, individuals and small
businesses are not happy
customers because they feel co-
erced and harassed to buy legal
products to conduct their busi-
ness. One of the reasons is the
faulty pricing strategy in a poor
and developing country like In-
dia. Prices for Adobes products
in India are on par with those in
highly developed countries, such
that its products are deemed
unaffordable by even the most
genuine users in India.
International Market Entry Strategies 51
(Leonidou et al. 2014). Principally, relational approaches at-
tempt to enhance commitment and trust (i.e., informal gov-
ernance), often through relationship-specific investments or
contractual obligations tailored to the local market (i.e., formal
governance). These approaches take many forms, including
joint ventures, alliance networks, cooperative planning, and
hiring local personnel (Yang, Su, and Fam 2012). They
encourage information sharing, flexibility, and solidarity,
and in conjunction with flexible contracts, they can provide a
foundation for establishing legitimized practices (Poppo and
Zenger 2002).
In turn, various conditions influence the success of relational-
focused IME strategies. Market ambiguity or dynamic
business environments often require increased communi-
cation, to engender trust and minimize perceptions of op-
portunism that may arise from the internal uncertainty that
firms experience when entering foreign markets (Yang, Su,
and Fam 2012). However, the scope and magnitude of
relationship-specific investments must reflect the firms
competitive positioning in the marketplace because these
investments could restrict expansion with other foreign
partners or limit alternative opportunities (Skarmeas, Kat-
sikeas, and Schlegelmilch 2002). Legal considerations in-
clude procedures to govern information sharing, joint codes
of conduct and monitoring, mediation, responsibility
guidelines, and ethical codes that align with the local market
(Leonidou et al. 2014). Cultural sensitivity to laws and legal
practice is also paramount to success and may explain why
relationship-marketing activities achieve varying levels of
effectiveness across international borders (Samaha, Beck,
and Palmatier 2014). For example, collectivist cultures often
favor more relational flexibility, to ensure agility in un-
certain political and economic environments. Accordingly,
investments in cross-cultural training can promote better
assessments of differences between domestic and foreign
markets (Skarmeas, Katsikeas, and Schlegelmilch 2002).
High DigitalLow Relational: Digital Strategies
Digital IME strategies involve the arms-length delivery and
distribution of goods and services to a foreign market
through Internet-enabled communication technologies.
Through Internet-enabled communications, modern busi-
nesses can identify and exploit market opportunities faster
and across wider geographic areas (Creed, Zutshi, and Ross
2009), as well as develop new business models to connect
sellers and buyers interested in transactional exchanges of
both goods and services. For example, manufacturers can
sell through multiple international online affiliates that
provide independent expertise, reviews, and information
in a commission-only model (Gilliland and Rudd 2013).
Technology developments also facilitate purely digital ap-
proaches, such as SaaS (e.g., Dropbox) and pure digital
delivery (streaming video subscriptions, multiplayer gam-
ing), which often derive revenues from pay-per-click search
advertising, pay-per-impression display advertising, or
membership fees (Edelman 2014).
Such digital approaches naturally occur for products and
services that can be readily distributed through digital
platforms and for physical products that benefit from digital
augmentation (e.g., exclusive web-based content with
purchase of Adobe Analytics). They depend on the acces-
sibility, penetration, capacity, functionality, and efficiency
of the Internet and web-based infrastructure (Tiago and
Verissimo 2014). Firm experience and internal technolog-
ical capabilities also determine the success of digital ini-
tiatives. Less concentrated industries (i.e., with more and
highly fragmented intermediaries) tend to lead firms to
embrace direct marketing through e-marketplaces, but high
concentration at this intermediary level creates a threat of
retaliation, thereby disincentivizing firms from marketing
directly to customers (Varadarajan and Yadav 2002). To
gain competitive advantages, e-tailers must work closely
with suppliers to ensure product availability, efficient order
processing, and transportation (Colton, Roth, and Bearden
2010). Brand strength also influences this competitive ad-
vantage and the effectiveness of a digital strategy in a global
marketplace. If firms rely on foreign-market distributors for
the efficient delivery of goods, foreign labor laws will affect
their digital strategy (Tiago and Verissimo 2014). Fur-
thermore, firms must protect their digital offerings from
piracy and need access to independent third-party audits of
search engines to detect fraud. These efforts largely depend
on the foreign markets legal statutes and enforcement
High DigitalHigh Relational: Hybrid Strategies
Hybrid IME strategies refer to firm actions that blend
customer relationship building into digital channels of de-
livery and distribution of goods and services to a foreign
market. In a landscape in which digital marketing is fun-
damental to business (Brun, Durif, and Ricard 2014;
Mathews et al. 2016), relational strategies require adaptation
to exploit modern technological advantages, especially those
that facilitate exchanges. Relational approaches integrated
into digital environments help alleviate the risk perceptions
that arise in purely digital contexts. For example, digital
service providers such as ZenDesk help business customers
handle their own customer service issues related to digital
exchanges. Digital, technology, and social media platforms
also make it possible for a new type of firm to help customers
52 Journal of International Marketing
develop professional relationships (e.g., LinkedIn, AngelList)
or customer relationships (e.g., Salesforce, HootSuite).
In addition, online retailing and relationship-marketing man-
agement help expand foreign markets by combining the ad-
vantages of digital approaches (e.g., convenience, availability of
information) and relational approaches (e.g., risk mitigation,
governance). Hybrid approaches can supplement or replace
offline relationship-marketing efforts (Keeling, Keeling, and
McGoldrick 2013), such as when social media encourage
e-relationship and brand development or increase customers
readiness to engage with digital communication and trans-
action technologies (Brun, Durif, and Ricard 2014). Firm
technology that demonstrates trustworthiness (e.g., mini-
mizes security risks, increases price consistency) can generate
cooperation and commitment. Because digital purchases also
involve transactions of sensitive information, legal consid-
erations also can be substantial. Depending on the local
market, laws surrounding privacy and personal information
security will affect the management of online customer data,
particularly in markets in which governments monitor online
activities (Eastlick, Lotz, and Warrington 2006). International
marketers must define desirable levels of transparency for
both data and technology across different markets while
combating leakage to competitors; weak or nonexistent legal
protection for intellectual property can threaten the survival
of firms entering international markets (Wang, Pauleen, and
Zhang 2016). Cultural factors also warrant consideration
(Morgan-Thomas and Veloutsou 2013). For example,
managers should design and test communications for re-
ceptivity by customers to ensure they are acceptable in dif-
ferent cultural contexts. Social media and other digitally
delivered relational approaches also should include ap-
propriate social cues, images, and communications to avoid
misunderstanding or relationship damage.
Taxonomic Summary
Increasing customer familiarity with (and use of) technology-
mediated firm interactions presents both risks and oppor-
tunities for firms entering foreign markets. In particular, the
value of relational approaches increases, due to the enhanced
risk, which in turn is a result of the legal, logistical, market,
and cultural realities of the local environment. Whether firms
need to safeguard their tangible firm assets to enter a foreign
market (e.g., supply chains, distribution channels) or must
protect intangible customer assets (e.g., personal information,
location data, usage behavior), they must consistently es-
tablish and maintain customer trust. Thus, relational ap-
proaches are well suited. However, a core difficulty for
marketers lies in finding ways to adapt their relational
approaches to accommodate growth in the use of digital
interfaces, particularly considering the accelerating rate of
technological change.
Despite their enormous influence, Internet-enabled technologies
remain at a relatively nascent stage of development; they stand
poised to exert even greater impacts on business strategy and
practice in the next 30 years. Our review and analysis of prior
literature leads us to believe that three main topics are likely to
establish important avenues for research: the ubiquity of data-
rich marketing environments, marketing automation, and ar-
tificial intelligence. Each area has potentially vast implications
for developing trust and commitment in buyerseller relation-
ships, as well as expanding firm knowledge and learning. Along
these lines, they hold potential to substantially influence various
measures of firm performance across multiple time horizons.
Data-Rich Environments
Modern businesses can capture, integrate, and use data
from multiple sources, which provides opportunities to gain
insights into current marketing practices and develop firm
knowledge as a basis for establishing new marketing strat-
egies (Sun 2006). Analyzing data from multiple sources can
be advantageous in terms of gaining new customers and
improving the engagement of existing customers, through a
deeper understanding of their needs. Likewise, firms can
better understand the influences of competitors, foreign
markets, and new product opportunitiesall in real time.
Data-rich marketing environments enable firms to include
more parameters in their analyses of new customers or
market opportunities (e.g., trend mining with marketing
analytics), extract more value, and more accurately mea-
sure advertising campaign results (Weinberg, Davis, and
Berger 2013). Relatedly, they facilitate quick historical
comparison to past product-market performance bench-
acquisition and retention metrics, for more effective man-
agerial decision making (Katsikeas et. al 2016). The col-
lection, analysis, and exchange of big data should extend
firmsrelational capabilities in international markets and
elicit greater trust and relational commitment, due to in-
creased transparency (e.g., communication) and more in-depth
customer knowledge. This, in turn, may also improve the speed
and success of international expansion by increasing local
market legitimacy (Wu and Zhou 2017). However, some
caveats to the use of big data remain. Companies such as
Amazon and Facebook note increasing concerns about how
customers perceive their data collection approaches, with the
recognition that excessive data collection may create customer
International Market Entry Strategies 53
(and community) reactance and dissent that could harm
profitability and brand value (Swant 2016). It also would be
valuable to examine potential power and dependency changes
in international business relationships when one channel
partner controls the bulk of the exchange information, as is
thecasewithinfomediaries,two-sided platforms, B2B auc-
tions, and other electronic marketplaces (Gal-Or and Gal-Or
2005; Lancastre and Lages 2006). Such informational ad-
vantages may destabilize international relationships if less
dependent (more powerful) relational partners exhibit op-
portunistic behaviors (Geyskens et al. 1996).
Marketing Automation
Marketing automation extends traditional marketing
methods by gathering information from multiple data
sources and then altering marketing content rapidly as
needed (Hunter and Perreault 2007). In turn, data avail-
ability is critical for the effective automation of firm leaning
and knowledge implementation, which requires accurate
assessments of dynamic customer preferences (Heimbach,
Kostyra, and Hinz 2015). Marketing automation makes it
possible to customize or personalize marketing-mix elements
to targeted customer segments and seamlessly manage
channel partner logistics; yet it can be difficult to execute
complex operations in digitally mediated environments
(Heimbach, Kostyra, and Hinz 2015). Customers re-
or engagement, due to the relevance of the marketing in-
formation (J¨arvinen and Karjaluoto 2015). In this case, the
benefits include enhanced customer conversion rates,
cross- and up-selling outcomes, and improved customer
retention rates. Similarly, customer experience with automated
services is likely to impact real-time customer mindset per-
formance outcomes like satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty
(Katsikeas et al. 2016), both of which are linked to accounting
and financial performance of the firm (Watson et al. 2015a).
Automation holds promising advances for sales force man-
agement as well. For example, Hunter and Perreault (2007)
find that using sales technologies to analyze and communicate
information has a positive effect on salespeoplescustomer
relationshipbuilding performance but a negative effect on
their administrative performance (e.g., submitting required
sales reports). They posit that such effects imply a trade-off
between selling and nonselling responsibilities. Considering
that marketing automation leverages relevant, timely in-
formation, automating certain internal marketing processes
may prove beneficial for leveraging digital and hybrid IME
relationship-building strategies.
To date, relatively little research has investigated the im-
plications of increased uses of automation in marketing or
its effect on buyerseller relationship quality, suggesting
potentially fruitful avenues for research. For example, do
greater levels of automation stress relationship quality
because the partner increasingly is serviced by automated,
digital processes rather than account managers? Can
automated processes focused on one market work well
in an international expansion? Studies of how international
partners might share responsibilities for the design and ad-
ministration of automated contentespecially from power,
dependence, and information asymmetry perspectivesare
likely to be insightful. On a related note, many firms have
outsourced or offshored their CRM processes, precisely in
response to the emergence of global, low-cost, high-speed
communication and information processing networks
(Kalaignanam and Varadarajan 2012), yet the effects of
automation are still not well known over the customer life
cycle. For example, some call centers offer varying levels of
customer service depending on a customers profitability and
will assign customers with lower lifetime value to automated,
menu-based service (Zeithaml, Rust, and Lemon 2001).
Accordingly, we suggest the need to investigate the extent that
automating potentially important relationship-building in-
teractions may help or hinder customer expansion and re-
tention across multiple sociocultural contexts.
Artificial Intelligence
There is ample scope for the practical application of arti-
ficial intelligence (AI) to IM, precisely due to its potential to
exploit the ubiquity of data-rich marketing environments
for firm learning and knowledge. For example, self-organizing
maps based on artificial neural networks can assist small
businesses in making decisions about optimal overseas market
locations (Fish and Ruby 2009). To advance such insights,
researchers might consider ways that AI can supplement
managerial decision making about market entry, channel
partner selection, product optimization, pricing decisions, and
advertising strategies. Effectively implemented, AI systems are
likely to outperform statistical-based tools for complex,
qualitative, or difficult-to-program marketing problems
and decision scenarios (Mart´
ınez-L ´opez and Casillas 2013);
yet researchers and practitioners are still working to realize
this promise. Relatively little literature links the use of AI to
marketing applications (Casillas and Mart´
ınez-L ´opez 2009),
such as the use of AI to analyze massive, user-generated
data or support finer judgments about customer groups in
diverse international market contexts (Cooke and Zubcsek
2017). Likewise, AI holds substantial promise pertaining
to forward-looking operational performance gains, such
as forecasting and evaluating new-product success or
market entry timing decisions (Katsikeas et al. 2016; Wu
and Zhou 2017).
54 Journal of International Marketing
Nor is there sufficient research into the opportunities for using
AI systems to interact with and enhance interorganizational
trust and commitment in business settings. For example, how
might AI supplement or replace customer service represen-
tatives and salespeople? Early studies describe how AI helps
salespeople target and acquire new customers more efficiently
(DHaen and Van den Poel 2013), but they ignore its potential
for carrying out relationship-building activities. To what
extent might the use of AI by boundary spanners hinder or
enhance trust and commitment? Moreover, marketers and
researchers lack clear guidelines about the contexts in which
AI is more appropriate or effective for building customer
relationships and whether customers will be receptive to these
technologies, especially if they minimize human interactions.
Avatars (i.e., digital simulations of salespeople or assistants)
might increase social presence cues and facilitate trust, and
some evidence suggests that their use can improve the overall
customer online experience (Holzwarth, Janiszewski, and
Neumann 2006). However, evidence of the acceptability
and influence of avatars in virtual environments is equivocal,
and some findings challenge the universality of customer
acceptance or perceivedusefulnessinvarioustransnational
contexts (Mahdjoubi, Koh, and Moobela 2014).
The adoption of digital communications technologies has
been one of the most significant developments in business
since the mid-1990s. With the development of the Internet
and its penetration into developing economies, dramatic
increases in the globalization of media, culture, and thought
have prompted firms to bypass local relational infrastructures
and enter foreign markets with a digital (transactional) or
hybrid digitalrelational strategy. This article provides con-
text and direction for academic researchers and marketing
professionals working on IME topics, by highlighting the
development of academic research in this domain; reviewing
and synthesizing pertinent theory associated with relational,
digital, and hybrid approaches to IME; providing a taxon-
omy of modern IME strategies and illustrative case studies;
and suggesting potentially impactful areas for research based
on their implications for firm learning and knowledge, as well
as interorganizational trust and commitment.
Achrol, Ravi S., and Philip Kotler (2012), Frontiers of the
Marketing Paradigm in the Third Millennium,Journal of the
Academy of Marketing Science, 40 (1), 3552.
Akaka, Melissa Archpru, Stephen L. Vargo, and Robert F.
Lusch (2013), The Complexity of Context: A Service
Ecosystems Approach for International Marketing,Journal
of International Marketing, 21 (4), 120.
Anderson, Erin, and Anne T. Coughlan (1987), International
Market Entry and Expansion via Independent or Integrated
Channels ofDistribution,Journal of Marketing,51(1),7182.
Anderson, James C., and James A. Narus (1990), A Model of
Distributor Firm and Manufacturer Firm Working Partner-
ships,Journal of Marketing, 54 (1), 4258.
Ashraf, Abdul R., Narongsak Thongpapanl, and Seigyoung
Auh (2014), The Application of the Technology Acceptance
Model Under Different Cultural Contexts: The Case of Online
Shopping Adoption,Journal of International Marketing,
22 (3), 6893.
Ashraf, Abdul R., Narongsak (Tek) Thongpapanl, Bulent
Menguc, and Gavin Northey (2017), The Role of
M-Commerce Readiness in Emerging and Developed Mar-
kets,Journal of International Marketing, 25 (2), 2551.
Baumgartner, Hans, and Rik Pieters (2003), The Structural Influ-
ence of Marketing Journals: A Citation Analysis of the Discipline
and Its Subareas over Time,Journal of Marketing,67(2),12339.
Berthon, Pierre, Leyland Pitt, Jean-Paul Berthon, Colin
Campbell, and Des Thwaites (2008), e-Relationships for
e-Readiness: Culture and Corruption in International e-B2B,
Industrial Marketing Management, 37 (1), 8391.
Bhatnagar, Amit, and Sanjoy Ghose (2004), Online In-
formation Search Termination Patterns Across Product Cat-
egories and Consumer Demographics,Journal of Retailing,
80 (3), 22128.
Bickmore, Timothy W., and Rosalind W. Picard (2005),
Establishing and Maintaining Long-Term Human-Computer
Relationships,ACM Transactions on Computer-Human In-
teraction (TOCHI),12(2),293
Bowersox, Donald J., and Roger J. Calantone (1998), Exec-
utive Insights: Global Insights,Journal of International
Marketing, 6 (4), 8393.
Brun, Isabelle, Fabien Durif, and Line Ricard (2014), E-
Relationship Marketing: A Cognitive Mapping Introspection
in the Banking Sector,European Journal of Marketing,
48 (3/4), 57294.
Calantone, Roger J., and Yushan Sam Zhao (2001), Joint
Ventures in China: A Comparative Study of Japanese, Korean,
and U.S. Partners,Journal of International Marketing, 9 (1),
Cannon, Joseph P., Ravi S. Achrol, and Gregory T. Gundlach
(2000), Contracts, Norms, and Plural Form of Gover-
nance,Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,28(2),
International Market Entry Strategies 55
Cano, Cynthia R., Francois A. Carrillat, and Fernando Jar-
amillo (2004), A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between
Market Orientation and Business Performance: Evidence
from Five Continents,International Journal of Research in
Marketing, 21 (1), 179200.
Casillas, Jorge, and Francisco J. Mart´
ınez-L ´opez (2009),
Mining Uncertain Data with Multiobjective Genetic Fuzzy
Systems to be Applied in Consumer Behavior Modeling,
Expert Systems with Applications, 36 (2), 164559.
Cavusgil, S. Tamer, Kwong Chan, and Chun Zhang (2003),
Strategic Orientations in Export Pricing: A Clustering
Approach to Create Firm Taxonomies,Journal of International
Cavusgil, S. Tamer, Seyda Deligonul, and Attila Yaprak (2005),
International Marketing as a Field of Study: A Critical
Assessment of Earlier Development and a Look Forward,
Journal of International Marketing, 13 (4), 127.
Cavusgil, S. Tamer, Seyda Deligonul, and Chun Zhang (2004),
Curbing Foreign Distributor Opportunism: An Examination
of Trust, Contracts, and the Legal Environment in In-
ternational Channel Relationships,Journal of International
Marketing, 12 (2), 727.
Chabowski, Brian R., Jeannette A. Mena, and Tracy L. Gon-
zalez-Padron (2011), The Structure of Sustainability Re-
search in Marketing, 19582008: A Basis for Future Research
Opportunities,Journal of the Academy of Marketing
Science, 39 (1), 5570.
Chakravorti, Bhaskar, Christopher Tunnard, and Ravi Shankar
Chaturvedi (2015), Where the Digital Economy Is Moving
the Fastest,Harvard Business Review (February), 19.
Colton, Deborah A., Martin S. Roth, and William O. Bearden
(2010), Drivers of International E-Tail Performance: The
Complexities of Orientations and Resources,Journal of
International Marketing, 18 (1), 122.
Conway, Tony, and Jonathan S. Swift (2000), International Re-
lationship Marketing: The Importance of Psychic Distance,
European Journal of Marketing, 34 (11/12), 1391414.
Cooke, Alan D.J., and Peter P. Zubcsek (2017), The Connected
Consumer: Connected Devices and the Evolution of Customer
Intelligence,Journal of the Association for Consumer Re-
search, 2 (2), 16478.
Creed, Andrew, Ambika Zutshi, and Jane Ross (2009), Re-
lational Ethics in Global Commerce,Journal of Electronic
Commerce in Organizations, 7 (1), 3549.
Deng, Ziliang, and Zeyu Wang (2017), Early-Mover Advan-
tages at Cross-Border Business-to-Business E-Commerce
Portals,Journal of Business Research, 69 (2), 600211.
DHaen, Jeroen, and Dirk Van den Poel (2013), Model-
Supported Business-to-Business Prospect Prediction Based
on an Iterative Customer Acquisition Framework,Industrial
Marketing Management, 42 (4), 54451.
Douglas, Susan P., and C. Samuel Craig (2011), Convergence
and Divergence: Developing a Semiglobal Marketing Strat-
egy,Journal of International Marketing, 19 (1), 82101.
Dunning, John H. (2009), Location and the Multinational
Enterprise: A Neglected Factor?Journal of International
Business Studies, 40 (1), 519.
Dwyer, F. Robert, Paul H. Schurr, and Sejo Oh (1987),
Developing BuyerSeller Relationships,Journal of Mar-
keting, 51 (2), 1127.
Eastlick, Mary Ann, Sherry L. Lotz, and Patricia Warrington
(2006), Understanding Online B-to-C Relationships: An
Integrated Model of Privacy Concerns, Trust, and Commit-
ment,Journal of Business Research, 59 (8), 87786.
Edelman, Benjamin (2014), Pitfalls and Fraud in Online Ad-
vertising Metrics,Journal of Advertising Research,54(2),
Elmer-Dewitt, Philip, and David S. Jackson (1994), Battle for
the Soul of the Internet,Time Magazine, 144 (4), 5057.
Faccio, Mara (2006), Politically Connected Firms,American
Economic Review, 96 (1), 36986.
Fish, Kelly, and Paula Ruby (2009), An Artificial Intelligence
Foreign Market Screening Method for Small Businesses,In-
ternational Journal of Entrepreneurship, 13 (January), 6581.
Gabrielsson, Mika, and Peter Gabrielsson (2011), Internet-
Based Sales Channel Strategies of Born Global Firms,
International Business Review, 20 (1), 8899.
Gal-Or, Esther, and Mordechai Gal-Or (2005), Customized
Advertising via a Common Media Distributor,Marketing
Science, 24 (2), 24153.
Ganesan, Shankar (1994), Determinants of Long-Term
Orientation in BuyerSeller Relationships,Journal of Mar-
keting, 58 (2), 119.
Gao, Hongmei, and Penelope Prime (2010), Facilitators and
Obstacles of Intercultural Business Communication for
American Companies in China: Lessons Learned from the UPS
Case,Global Business Languages, 15 (1), 14369.
Geyskens, Inge, Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp, Lisa K. Scheer,
and Nirmalya Kumar (1996), The Effects of Trust and In-
terdependence on Relationship Commitment: A Trans-
Atlantic Study,International Journal of Research in
Marketing, 13 (4), 30317.
56 Journal of International Marketing
Gilliland, David I., and John M. Rudd (2013), Control of
Electronic Channel Affiliates: An Exploratory Study and
Research Propositions,Journal of Business Research,
66 (12), 265056.
Griffith, David A., and Yanhui Zhao (2015), Contract Spec-
ificity, Contract Violation, and Relationship Performance in
International BuyerSupplier Relationships,Journal of
International Marketing, 23 (3), 2240.
Gr ¨onroos, Christian (1990), Relationship Approach to
Marketing in Service Contexts: The Marketing and Orga-
nizational Behavior Interface,Journal of Business Research,
20 (1), 311.
Gupta, Sudheer (2008), Channel Structure with Knowledge
Spillovers,Marketing Science, 27 (2), 24761.
aubl, Gerald, and Valerie Trifts (2000), Consumer Deci-
sion Making in Online Shopping Environments: The
Effects of Interactive Decision Aids,Marketing Science,
19 (1), 421.
Heimbach, Irina, Daniel S. Kostyra, and Oliver Hinz (2015),
Marketing Automation,Business & Information Systems
Engineering, 57 (2), 12933.
Hillman, Amy J., Asghar Zardkoohi, and Leonard Bierman
(1999), Corporate Political Strategies and Firm Performance:
Indications of Firm-Specific Benefits from Personal Service in
the US Government,Strategic Management Journal, 20 (1),
Hofstede, Geert H. (1980), Cultures Consequences: In-
ternational Differences in Work-Related Values. Newbury
Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Holzwarth, Martin, Chris Janiszewski, and Marcus M. Neu-
mann (2006), The Influence of Avatars on Online Consumer
Shopping Behavior,Journal of Marketing, 70 (4), 1936.
Hoppner, Jessica J., and David A. Griffith (2015), Looking
Back to Move Forward: A Review of the Evolution of Re-
search in International Marketing Channels,Journal of
Retailing, 91 (4), 61026.
Hunter, Gary K., and William D. Perreault Jr. (2007), Making
Sales Technology Effective,Journal of Marketing,71(1),1634.
Jackson, Tyrone W. (2014), Personalisation and CRM,
Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management,
15 (1), 2436.
Janita, M. Soledad, and F. Javier Miranda (2013), The
Antecedents of Client Loyalty in Business-to-Business (B2B)
Electronic Marketplaces,Industrial Marketing Management,
42 (2), 81423.
Jap, Sandy D. (2003), An Exploratory Study of the
Introduction of Online Reverse Auctions,Journal of Mar-
keting, 67 (3), 96107.
Jap, Sandy D. (2007), The Impact of Online Reverse Auction
Design on BuyerSeller Relationships,Journal of Marketing,
71 (1), 14659.
Jap, Sandy D., and Shankar Ganesan (2000), Control Mech-
anisms and the Relationship Life Cycle: Implications for
Safeguarding Specific Investments and Developing Commit-
ment,Journal of Marketing Research, 37 (2), 22745.
Jap, Sandy D., and Jakki J. Mohr (2002), Leveraging Internet
Technologies in B2B Relationships,California Management
Review, 44 (4), 2438.
arvinen, Joel, and Heikki Karjaluoto (2015), The Use of Web
Analytics for Digital Marketing Performance Measurement,
Industrial Marketing Management, 50, 11727.
Kalaignanam, Kartik, and Rajan Varadarajan (2012), Off-
shore Outsourcing of Customer Relationship Management:
Conceptual Model and Propositions,Journal of the Academy
of Marketing Science,40(2),34763.
Katsikeas, Constantine S., Neil A. Morgan, Leonidas C. Leoni-
dou, and G. Tomas M. Hult (2016), Assessing Performance
Outcomes in Marketing,Journal of Marketing, 80 (March),
Keeling, Kathleen, Debbie Keeling, and Peter McGoldrick
(2013), Retail Relationships in a Digital Age,Journal of
Business Research, 66 (1), 84755.
Kevork, Eleni K., and Adam P. Vrechopoulos (2009), CRM
Literature: Conceptual and Functional Insights by Keyword
Analysis,Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 27 (1), 4885.
Kim, Stephen K., Richard G. McFarland, Soongi Kwon, Sanggi
Son, and David A. Griffith (2011), Understanding Gover-
nance Decisions in a Partially Integrated Channel: A Con-
tingent Alignment Framework,Journal of Marketing
Research, 48 (3), 60316.
Kogut, Bruce, and Harbir Singh (1988), The Effect of National
Culture on the Choice of Entry Mode,Journal of In-
ternational Business Studies, 19 (3), 41132.
Kostova, Tatiana (1997), Country Institutional Profiles:
Concept and Measurement,Academy of Management
Proceedings, 1997 (August), 18084.
Kotha, Suresh, Violina R. Rindova, and Frank T. Rothaermel
(2001), Assets and Actions: Firm-Specific Factors in the
Internationalization of U.S. Internet Firms,Journal of In-
ternational Business Studies, 32 (4), 76991.
International Market Entry Strategies 57
Kozinets, Robert V., Kristine De Valck, Andrea C. Wojnicki,
and Sarah J.S. Wilner (2010), Networked Narratives: Un-
derstanding Word-of-Mouth Marketing in Online Commu-
nities,Journal of Marketing, 74 (2), 7189.
Kozlenkova, Irina V., Robert W. Palmatier, Eric (Er) Fang,
Bangming Xiao, and Minxue Huang (2017), Online
Relationship Formation,Journal of Marketing,81(3),
Lancastre, Andrew, and Luis Filipe Lages (2006), The Re-
lationship Between Buyer and a B2B E-Marketplace: Co-
operation Determinants in an Electronic Market Context,
Industrial Marketing Management, 35 (6), 77489.
Leeflang, Peter S.H., Peter C. Verhoef, Peter Dahlstr¨om, and
Tjark Freundt (2014), Challenges and Solutions for Mar-
keting in a Digital Era,European Management Journal
32 (1), 112.
Leonidou, Leonidas C., Bilge Aykol, Thomas A. Fotiadis, Paul
Christodoulides, and Athina Zeriti (2017), Betrayal in In-
ternational Buyer-Seller Relationships: Its Drivers and Per-
formance Implications,Journal of World Business, 52 (1),
Leonidou, Leonidas C., Saeed Samiee, Bilge Aykol, and Michael
A. Talias (2014), Antecedents and Outcomes of Exporter
Importer Relationship Quality: Synthesis, Meta-Analysis, and
Directions for Further Research,Journal of International
Marketing, 22 (2), 2146.
Lusch, Robert F., and James R. Brown (1996), In-
terdependency, Contracting, and Relational Behavior in
Marketing Channels,Journal of Marketing, 60 (4), 1938.
Mahdjoubi, Lamine, Jing Hao Koh, and Cletus Moobela
(2014), Effects of Interactive Real-Time Simulations and
Humanoid Avatars on ConsumersResponses in Online
House Products Marketing,Computer-Aided Civil and In-
frastructure Engineering, 29 (1), 3146.
Manyika, James, Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Woetzel, Kalin
Stamenov, and Dhruv Dhingra (2016), Digital Globalization:
The New Era of Global Flows,McKinsey Global Institute,
Marketing Science Institute (2016), Research Priorities 20162018,
Martin, Kelly D., Abhishek Borah, and Robert W. Palmatier
(2017), Data Privacy: Effects on Customer and Firm Perfor-
mance,Journal of Marketing,81(1),3658.
ınez-L ´opez, Francisco J., and Jorge Casillas (2013),
Artificial Intelligence-Based Systems Applied in Industrial
Marketing: An Historical Overview, Current and Future
Insights,Industrial Marketing Management,42(4),
Mathews, Shane, Constanza Bianchi, Keith J. Perks, Marilyn
Healy, and Rumintha Wickramasekera (2016), Internet
Marketing Capabilities and International Market Growth,
International Business Review, 25 (4), 82030.
McCole, Patrick (2002), The Role of Trust for Electronic
Commerce in Services,International Journalof Contemporary
Hospitality Management,14(2),8187.
Mela, Carl F., Jason Roos, and Yiting Deng (2013), A Keyword
History of Marketing Science,Marketing Science,32(1),
oller, Kristian, and Aino Halinen (2000), Relationship
Marketing Theory: Its Roots and Direction,Journal of
Marketing Management, 16 (1/3), 2954.
Moorman, Christine, Gerald Zaltman, and Rohit Deshpand´e
(1992), Relationships Between Providers and Users of
Market Research: The Dynamics of Trust Within and Between
Organizations,Journal of Marketing Research, 29 (August),
Morgan, Robert M., and Shelby D. Hunt (1994), The
CommitmentTrust Theory of Relationship Marketing,
Journal of Marketing, 58 (3), 2038.
Morgan-Thomas, Anna, and Cleopatra Veloutsou (2013),
Beyond Technology Acceptance: Brand Relationships and
Online Brand Experience,Journal of Business Research,
66 (1), 2127.
Namiki, Nobuaki (1994), A Taxonomic Analysis of Export
Marketing Strategy: An Exploratory Study of U.S. Exporters
of Electronic Products,Journal of Global Marketing, 8 (1),
Nee, Victor, Sonja Opper, and Sonia Wong (2007),
Developmental State and Corporate Governance in China,
Management and Organization Review, 3 (1), 1953.
Oxley, Joanne E., and Bernard Yeung (2001), E-Commerce
Readiness: Institutional Environment and International
Competitiveness,Journal of International Business Studies,
32 (4), 70524.
Pagani, Margherita (2013), Digital Business Strategy and
Value Creation: Framing the Dynamic Cycle of Control
Points,Management Information Systems Quarterly,37(2),
Palmatier, Robert W., Rajiv P. Dant, and Dhruv Grewal (2007),
A Comparative Longitudinal Analysis of Theoretical Per-
spectives of Interorganizational Relationship Performance,
Journal of Marketing, 71 (4), 17294.
58 Journal of International Marketing
Palmatier, Robert W., Rajiv P. Dant, Dhruv Grewal, and
Kenneth R. Evans (2006), Factors Influencing the Effec-
tiveness of Relationship Marketing: A Meta-Analysis,
Journal of Marketing, 70 (4), 13653.
Pardo, Catherine, Bj ¨orn S. Ivens, and Kevin Wilson (2013),
Assessing and Strengthening Internal Alignment of New
Marketing Units: An Interpretative Tool,Industrial Mar-
keting Management, 42 (2), 107482.
Pavlou, Paul A., H. Liang, and Y. Xue (2007), Understanding
and Mitigating Uncertainty in Online Exchange Relation-
ships: A Principle-Agent Perspective,Management In-
formation Systems Quarterly, 31 (1), 10536.
Pazgal, Amit, and David Soberman (2008), Behavior-Based
Discrimination: Is It a Winning Play, and If So, When?
Marketing Science, 27 (6), 97794.
Petersen, Bent, Lawrence S. Welch, and Peter W. Liesch (2002),
The Internet and Foreign Market Expansion by Firms,
Management International Review, 42 (2), 20721.
Poppo, Laura, and Todd Zenger (2002), Do Formal Contracts
and Relational Governance Function as Substitutes or Com-
plements?Strategic Management Journal, 23(8), 70725.
Porter, Michael E. (1980), Competitive Strategy. New York:
The Free Press.
Poulter, Julian (2016), Market Share Analysis: Customer
Relationship Management Software, Worldwide 2015,
Gartner Research,
Ray, Gautam, Jay B. Barney, and Waleed A. Muhanna (2004),
Capabilities, Business Processes, and Competitive Advan-
tage: Choosing the Dependent Variable in Empirical Tests of
the Resource-Based View,Strategic Management Journal,
25 (1), 2337.
Reinmoeller, Patrick, and Shaz Ansari (2016), The Persistence
of a Stigmatized Practice: A Study of Competitive In-
telligence,British Journal of Management, 27 (1), 11642.
Rothaermel, Frank T., Suresh Kotha, and Kevin Steensma
(2006), International Market Entry by U.S. Internet Firms:
An Empirical Analysis of Country Risk, National Culture, and
Market Size,Journal of Management, 32 (1), 5682.
Saadi, Malik (2017), Handsets & Devices,ABI Research,
London, England. Accessed on March 15, 2017, https://www.
Samaha, Stephen A., Joshua T. Beck, and Robert W. Palmatier
(2014), The Role of Culture in International Relationship
Marketing,Journal of Marketing, 78 (5), 7898.
Samiee, Saeed, and Brian R. Chabowski (2012), Knowledge
Structure in International Marketing: A Multi-Method Bib-
liometric Analysis,Journal of the Academy of Marketing
Science, 40 (2), 36486.
Samiee, Saeed, Brian R. Chabowski, and G. Tomas M. Hult
(2015), International Relationship Marketing: Intellectual
Foundations and Avenues for Further Research,Journal of
International Marketing, 23 (4), 121.
Schu, Matthias, and Dirk Morschett (2017), Foreign Market
Selection of Online Retailers: A Path-Dependent Perspective
on Influence Factors,International Business Review, 26 (3),
Sen, Ravi, and Sharad Borle (2015), Estimating the Contextual
Risk of Data Breach: An Empirical Approach,Journal of
Management Information Systems, 32 (2), 31441.
Seshadri, Sudhi, and Randhir Mishra (2004), Relationship
Marketing and Contract Theory,Industrial Marketing
Management, 33 (6), 51326.
Sheng, Shibin, Kevin Zheng Zhou, and Julie Juan Li (2011), The
Effects of Business and Political Ties on Firm Performance: Evi-
dence from China,Journal of Marketing,75(1),115.
Simmons, Geoff (2008), Marketing to Postmodern Con-
sumers: Introducing the Internet Chameleon,European
Journal of Marketing, 42 (3/4), 299310.
Skarmeas, Dionisis, Constantine S. Katsikeas, and Bodo B.
Schlegelmilch (2002), Drivers of Commitment and Its Impact
on Performance in Cross-Cultural Buyer-Seller Relationship:
The Importers Perspective,Journal of International Business
Studies, 33 (4), 75783.
Skarmeas, Dionysis, Athina Zeriti, and George Baltas (2016),
Relationship Value: Drivers and Outcomes in International
Marketing Channels,Journal of International Marketing,
24 (1), 2240.
Song, Peijian, Cheng Zhang, Yunjie Calvin Xu, and Lihua
Huang (2010), Brand Extension of Online Technology
Products: Evidence from Search Engine to Virtual Communities
and Online News,Decision Support Systems,49(1),9199.
Sousa, Carlos M.P., and Frank Bradley (2006), Cultural
Distance and Psychic Distance: Two Peas in a Pod?Journal of
International Marketing, 14 (1), 4970.
Srinivasan, Raji, and Christine Moorman (2005), Strategic
Firm Commitments and Rewards for Customer Relationship
Management in Online Retailing,Journal of Marketing,
69 (4), 193200.
Sultan, Fareena, Andrew J. Rohm, and Tao Tony Gao (2009),
Factors Influencing Consumer Acceptance of Mobile
International Market Entry Strategies 59
Marketing: A Two-Country Study of Youth Markets,
Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23 (4), 30820.
Sun, Baohong (2006), Technology, Innovation, and Implica-
tions for Customer Relationship Management,Marketing
Science, 25 (6), 59497.
Swant, Marty (2016), Facebook and Amazon Seem to Be In-
creasingly Concerned About Your Data,Adweek (February 24),
Teece, David J (1986), Transactions Cost Economics and the
Multinational Enterprise An Assessment,Journal of Economic
Behavior & Organization,7(1),2145.
Tellis, Gerard J., Rajesh K. Chandy, and David S. Ackerman
(1999), In Search of Diversity: The Record of Major
Marketing Journals,Journal of Marketing Research,36(1),
Theodosiou, Marios, and Constantine S. Katsikeas (2001),
Factors Influencing the Degree of International Pricing
Strategy Standardization of Multinational Corporations,
Journal of International Marketing, 9 (3), 118.
Thomson Reuters (2009), Web of Science 8.0. New York:
Thomson Reuters.
Tiago, Maria Teresa Pinheiro Melo Borges, and Jose Manuel
Cristovao Verissimo (2014), Digital Marketing and Social
Media: Why Bother?Business Horizons, 57 (6), 70308.
Tucker, Catherine (2014), Social Networks, Personalized
Advertising, and Privacy Controls,Journal of Marketing
Research, 51 (October), 54662.
Uddin, Moshfique, and Agyenim Boateng (2011), Explaining
the Trends in the UK Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions:
An Analysis of Macro-Economic Factors,International
Business Review, 20 (2), 54756.
Varadarajan, P. Rajan, and Manjit S. Yadav (2002), Marketing
Strategy and the Internet: An Organizing Framework,Journal of
the Academy of Marketing Science, 30 (4), 296312.
Verma, Varsha, Dheeraj Sharma, and Jagdish Sheth (2016),
Does Relationship Marketing Matter in Online Retailing? A
Meta-Analytic Approach,Journal of the Academy of Mar-
keting Science, 44 (2), 20617.
Vernon, Raymond (1966), International Investment and In-
ternational Trade in the Product Cycle,Quarterly Journal of
Economics, 80 (2), 190207.
Voldnes, Goril, Kjell Gronhaug, and Frode Nilssen (2012),
Satisfaction in BuyerSeller Relationships: Influence of Cul-
tural Differences,Industrial Marketing Management,41(7),
Wang, Cheng Lu (2007), Guanxi vs. Relationship Marketing:
Exploring Underlying Differences,Industrial Marketing
Management, 36 (1), 8186.
Wang, William Y.C., David J. Pauleen, and Tingting Zhang
(2016), How Social Media Applications Affect B2B Com-
munication and Improve Business Performance in SMEs,
Industrial Marketing Management, 54, 414.
Watson, George F., IV, Joshua T. Beck, Conor M. Henderson,
and Robert W. Palmatier (2015a), Building, Measuring, and
Profiting from Customer Loyalty,Journal of the Academy of
Marketing Science, 43 (6), 790825.
Watson, George F., IV, Stefan Worm, Robert W. Palmatier, and
Shankar Ganesan (2015b), The Evolution of Marketing
Channels: Trends and Research Directions,Journal of
Retailing, 91 (4), 54668.
Weinberg, Bruce D., Lenita Davis, and Paul D. Berger (2013),
Perspectives on Big Data,Journal of Marketing Analytics,
1 (4), 187201.
Williamson, Oliver E. (1985), The Economic Institutions of
Capitalism. New York: The Free Press.
Wind, Yoram, Susan P. Douglas, and Howard V. Perlmutter
(1973), Guidelines for Developing International Marketing
Strategies,Journal of Marketing, 37 (2), 1223.
Wu, Aiqi, and Lianxi Zhou (2017), Understanding Earliness of
Internationalization and Its Impact on Post-Entry Geographic
Diversity of International Young Ventures,Journal of
International Marketing, forthcoming (published elec-
tronically October 27), DOI: 10.1509/jim.16.0123.
Yadav, Manjit S., and Paul A. Pavlou (2014), Marketing in
Computer-Mediated Environments: Research Synthesis and
New Directions,Journal of Marketing, 78 (January), 2040.
Yang, Zhilin, Chenting Su, and Kim-Shyan Fam (2012),
Dealing with Institutional Distances in International Mar-
keting Channels: Governance Strategies that Engender Le-
gitimacy and Efficiency,Journal of Marketing, 76 (3), 4155.
Zeithaml, Valarie A., Roland T. Rust, and Katherine N. Lemon
(2001), The Customer Pyramid: Creating and Serving
Profitable Customers,California Management Review,
43 (4), 11842.
Zhang, Jonathan Z., George F. Watson IV, Robert W. Pal-
matier, and Rajiv P. Dant (2016), Dynamic Relationship
Marketing,Journal of Marketing, 80 (September), 5375.
Zhuang, Guijun, and Xubing Zhang (2011), Impact of Re-
lationship Marketing Orientation on the Exercise of Interfirm
Power and Relational Governance in Marketing Channels:
Empirical Evidence from China,Journal of Marketing
Channels, 18 (4), 279302.
60 Journal of International Marketing
... Adopsi komunikasi digital, yang difasilitasi oleh teknologi Internet, telah menjadi salah satu perkembangan bisnis internasional paling signifikan dalam 25 tahun terakhir. Artikel ini menyelidiki efek dari teknologi baru ini dan lingkungan bisnis global yang berubah untuk memahami bagaimana pendekatan relasional untuk memasuki pasar internasional berubah mengingat perkembangan makro (Watson IV et al. 2018). Meskipun sumber daya substansial dalam praktik bisnis didedikasikan untuk menggabungkan strategi relasional dalam pengaturan digital, analisis literatur yang masih ada ini mengungkapkan bahwa kurang dari 3% artikel penelitian peer-review dalam domain pemasaran internasional memeriksa konteks digital. ...
Full-text available
Since the emergence of the digital era, changes have occurred in all aspects of life. This change also creates opportunities and challenges, especially in the international business world. Knowledge of market entry strategies in the digital era is an important matter. Therefore, a review is needed to understand the phenomena related to this topic. The method used in this review is a descriptive method of scientific articles obtained from Harzing's Publish or Perish tools. The results obtained indicate several important things that need to be known and variables that also need to be considered in dealing with market entry strategies in the digital era that can be used.
... Similarly, Canhoto, Quinton [56] reveals that digital strategies are the main method for gaining a competitive edge over other firms in a longer period. Furthermore, Watson IV, Weaven [57] posit that technological know-how is the most vibrant strategy of both domestic and export businesses. Most organizations use digital strategy and digital tactics to strive in turbulent markets [58]. ...
Full-text available
Research on the relationship between digitalization and firm performance has grown exponentially over the past decade. However, most studies in this area have concentrated on large firms, focusing on IT capabilities in developed markets. The exploration of how digitalization drives sustainable competitive performance in emerging SMEs remains a largely uncharted territory. Specifically, the mechanisms through which digital strategy enhances digital capability and, in turn, leads to sustainable competitive performance in manufacturing SMEs, have received limited attention. To bridge this gap and contribute to the literature, we conducted a survey involving 376 manufacturing SMEs and employed SPSS.25 and AMOS.24 for data analysis. Our results indicate that digital strategy positively influences the sustainable competitive performance of manufacturing SMEs, with this relationship being partially mediated by digital capability. Additionally, we found that digital culture plays a reinforcing role in the connection between digital strategy and digital capability. This study contributes to the literature on dynamic capability by highlighting the significance of digital strategy and digital culture as antecedents to sustainable competitive performance, with digital capability acting as an intervening variable for manufacturing SMEs. The findings show that SMEs should promote digital culture and strategies that in turn enhance their digital capability and sustainable competitive performance in the dynamic markets.
... A study by Watson et al. (2018) indicates that DB-driven decision support systems advance firms' analytical skills and facilitate knowledge access and sharing. Hence, it supports firms to be entrepreneurially oriented by continuously up-to-date searching and tracking new information regarding customers' profiles, competitors' behavior, market demand trends and competition levels (Lozada et al., 2023). ...
Full-text available
Purpose Based on the dynamic capability view, this study aims to draw for the first time the missing link between big data analytics capabilities (BDAC) on both green absorptive capacity (GAC) and green entrepreneurship orientation (GEO). It is theoretically necessary to address how BDAC levels up the GAC to achieve the same level of GEO and then respond to their green business agenda. In addition, the study introduces knowledge sharing (KS) and green organizational ambidexterity (GOA) as potential moderating factors in the relationship between GEO and eco-innovation and explores the mediation role of GAC in the BDAC–GEO relationship. Design/methodology/approach The study collected 268 questionnaires from employees working in Chinese manufacturing firms using a self-administered survey and cross-sectional research design. The study applied SmartPLS to analyze the obtained data. Findings The findings revealed that BDAC positively and significantly influences GAC and GEO, positively impacting eco-innovation. The KS and GOA's moderation effect strengthens the relationship between GEO and eco-innovation. GAC partially mediates the relationship between BDAC and GEO. Practical implications The study advises firms to invest heavily in developing technological aspects of BDAC as a dynamic strategic capability that facilitates tracking and anticipating the future behavior changes of customers, competitors and market demands. BDAC also allows firms to upgrade and reconfigure their dynamic capabilities by responding to managerial, operational and strategic necessities. BDAC is necessary to increase GAC's impact and help drive GEO's eco-business agenda. Notably, the study gave superior attention to KS and GOA as a backbone of GEO to improve eco-innovation economic and managerial outcomes. Originality/value The study highlights the necessity to upgrade and integrate technological aspects of BDAC within firms' GEO to enhance green practices. Significantly, green business practices changed quickly as customers' needs and eco-markets fluctuated; BDAC is the crucial dynamic capability fostering GAC and entrepreneurs' green mindset to deal with environmental challenges. To the best of the author’s knowledge, this study is to predict the potential effect of BDAC on both GAC and GEO. BDAC helps firms to develop GEO eco-business agenda and balance green growth with green issues.
... Previous studies have argued that the Internet is a channel that enhances exports and internationalisation (Sinkovics and Sinkovics, 2013;Watson et al., 2018) and a tool for competitive advantage, generating international sales from a home-market base (Samiee, 2020). However, companies operating online might face problems related to service quality, logistics and customer satisfaction (Bilgihan, 2016;Huang et al., 2019). ...
Purpose The Chinese market represents an increasingly popular destination for wine firms and recent opportunities derive from the growth of e-commerce. The aim of this paper is to understand the impact of digital platforms on wine firms' internationalisation in China by adopting the service ecosystems approach. Design/methodology/approach The authors carried out a case study of Italian premium wine firms from the Valpolicella area by collecting 27 semi-structured interviews with key informants that operate at the micro-, meso- and macro-levels of the internationalisation ecosystem. Italian wine firms were selected as the focus of the analysis, given the recent sales growth of their products in the Chinese market. Findings Results show that digital platforms hold a key role in the wine firms' internationalisation in China, intervening with resource integration mechanisms, alignment to the cultural context and mediating firms' digital presence in the market. The platformisation dynamics also reveal the existence of enablers and constraints in the firm internationalisation through digital platforms. Research limitations/implications The authors aim to contribute to the marketing literature by analysing how digital platforms influence the wine firms' internationalisation in China through an original perspective, i.e. the service ecosystems lens. Originality/value The study adopts the service ecosystems approach to understand the internationalisation of wine firms in the Chinese market through digital platforms.