Critical success factors for B2B e-markets: a strategic fit perspective

Michael Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The objective of this paper is to explore and determine a set of factors that are critical to the success of business-to-business (B2B) e-markets in the aerospace and defence, healthcare, higher education and local government industry sectors, in order to advance our current understanding of what factors facilitate e-market adoption and success. The paper examines critical success factors (CSFs) for e-markets from a strategic fit perspective. Design/methodology/approach: The study adopted a semi-inductive qualitative approach based on a review of the literature, followed by a pilot study and 58 indepth semi-structured interviews with senior level executives in buyer, supplier, e-market and third-party organisations. Qualitative data analysis software, QSR N6, was used to code and analyse the interview data for citations that corresponded with the candidate e-market CSFs that had been identified either in the literature, pilot study or during the course of the interviews with respondents. The CSFs for e-markets were ranked by the frequency of respondents citing a particular CSF. Findings: The study found eight factors that are critical to e-market success and four factors (critical mass, integration issues, value proposition, and leadership participation) were found to be conducive to e-market success in all four industry sectors. Likewise, four factors (industry knowledge, revenue model, branding and reputation, and rich content) were found to be only conducive to e-market success in three of the four industry sectors. Practical implications: The paper can help academic researchers, managers, consultants, practitioners and other professionals better understand what factors are critical to the success of e-markets and other online enterprises operating in the B2B marketspace. Originality/value: There have been numerous calls for more empirical research on the dynamics of e-market adoption for more than a decade. To date, research on the CSFs for e-markets has been largely anecdotal and sporadic with a paucity of studies noting factors that are likely to be favourable to e-market success. This study addresses the call for more research on e-markets and imparts empirical evidence on factors that are perceived to be conducive to the success of e-markets. It contributes to the base of knowledge on e-markets by relating the concept of CSFs with the theory of strategic fit as, to date, no known study has examined CSFs for e-markets from a strategic fit perspective. The study also presents the benefits capabilities-industry participants' needs fit conceptual model as a precursor for theory building in future studies on B2B e-markets and informs stakeholders involved in developing e-markets or other online B2B ventures to better comprehend the conditions and determinants of success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-727
Number of pages30
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • B2B e-markets
  • benefits
  • business-to-business marketing
  • buyers
  • critical success factors
  • dynamic capabilities
  • e-market capabilities
  • electronic commerce
  • industry participants
  • needs
  • qualitative research
  • strategic fit
  • suppliers


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