Examining drivers of e-commerce marketing capabilities and their impact on export venture e-commerce performance and export market growth: mediating role of efficiencies

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Rapid growth of the Internet infrastructure in Iran during the past decade and new advancements in IT and e-commerce area in the world have contributed to the importance of the Internet and e-commerce. These changes have resulted in prospering Internet-based businesses and e-commerce in Iran and also across the world. This study aims to examine drivers of e-commerce marketing capabilities and their impact on export venture e-commerce performance and export market growth with mediating role of efficiencies. Results from a survey of 380 managers or employees working in export section of Iran’s firms indicate that drivers of e-commerce resources and technology orientation have a positive impact on e-commerce marketing capabilities whereas no significant relationship was found between market orientation and e-commerce marketing capabilities. Further, it was also found that efficiencies including distribution and communication mediate the relationship between e-commerce marketing capabilities and export venture e-commerce performance. Finally, export venture e-commerce performance has a positive impact on export market growth.


The Internet is an evolving technology through which the new business relationships development has been facilitated and cross-border market opportunities have been given to companies (Hinson & Adjasi, 2009; Petersen et al., 2002)

In today’s global marketplace, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of exports. Firms engage with international markets through exporting as the most popular way (Leonidou & Katsikeas, 2010). 

While it’s been identified that there is a potential link between the Internet and export outcomes (Morgan-Thomas, 2009), the specific role of the Internet on international marketing pathways has mainly been disregarded by extant research (Sinkovics et al., 2013). Further, the evaluation of the Internet that plays as a driver of the international performance of firms has also been overlooked by existing research (Pezderka et al., 2012; Lu and Julian, 2008)

In today’s exporting world, investing in e-commerce resources has turned into usual practice and as a result, is easily imitated by other firms. But gaining success is not simply ensured by investing in resources related to information technologies (IT). Therefore, researchers challenge the direct impact of IT resources on performance (Ravichandran et al., 2009)

E-commerce is definitely one of the greatest technological developments in the last two decades, driving in-depth change in global business. It has primary benefits that involve entering into new markets, enhanced customer base, well-run and efficient supply chains, enhanced customer service, increased profits and diminished costs (Karavdic and Gregory, 2005).

According to the recent findings used the resource-based view of thecompany (RBV), focusing on the outcomes of resource deployment processes (e.g. capabilities) and how firm capabilities aid in executing firm strategies are suggested by these findings (Vorhies et al., 2009)

Though the existence of theoretical and conceptual advances in this area, surprisingly, little empirical work exists assessing the prediction of capabilities theory as “technology-based capabilities assist in creating marketing efficiencies” (DeSarbo et al., 2007). Though focusing on developing resources and capabilities such as e-commerce has much importance for international marketers, lack of knowledge on how the integration of IT resources and capabilities boosts marketing efficiencies and improves exporting performance as well as export market growth is considered as an important gap, existing in the exports arena. Further, in this study the concept of e-marketing has been considered as a vital aspect of e-commerce marketing.

On the other hand, Iran as a developing country has advanced considerably in IT and its infrastructures in the country during the past decade. Given the existing export markets in neighboring Iran, paying attention to the use of IT in various industries and employing it in direction of expanding and improving exports seems to be essential. Therefore, this study aims to examine drivers of e-commerce marketing capabilities and their impact on export venture e-commerce performance and export market growth with mediating role of efficiencies.


In this model, we added two more drivers (such as market orientation and technology orientation) to the model proposed by Gregory et al., (2017). Furthermore, we assessed the relationship between export venture e-commerce performance and export market growth. As we can see, the length of relationships between latent variables (except market orientation whose relationship with e-commerce marketing capabilities was not supported) is greater than 0.4. This indicates that our model is strongly supported, particularly in terms of the hypotheses of H3 and H4 whose length of relationships are greater than 0.7. Therefore, managers of exporting firms should note these results in their decision-making and this model can be used in the context of new technologies particularly e-commerce


At the end, we do thank all those who helped us to conduct this research, particularly those exporting firms that gave us the list of their employees to contact them and also those employees who cooperated with us in answering to the questionnaire. 


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