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Barriers to entry for a new venture looking to penetrate the online retail industry: High-End Furniture

Abbreviations           5

Abstract          6

Executive Summary            6

Introduction   8

Research Hypothesis         9

Literature Review     10

Definition of e-commerce and barriers to entry  10

General barriers       11

Patents & Licensing            12

Logistics        13

Economies of scale             14

Customer acquisition          15

Technological skills 16

Internet Availability  18

Implementation        20

Taxation         21

Payment        22

Internet Security       23

Internet as the mass distribution channel           25

Technology   27

Methodology 28

Research Strategy   28

Research Approach            29

Qualitative research method          31

Open-ended questions       32

Structured interviews          33

Reliability and validity in a qualitative research 34

Reliability      34

Validity           34

Informant reliability  36

Measures taken by the researcher           37

Respondent validation       39

Incorporating rich and thick verbatim description         39

Randomization         40

Prolonged engagement      40

Purposive sampling 42

Elements of purposive sampling  44

Sample size  45

Sample elements     48

Interviews      49

Recruitment of respondents for interviews         49

Data    51

Interviews present a number of risks which cannot be overlooked    53

Research ethics       55

Confidentiality          55

Informed consent     56

Analysis method      57

Thematic approach  57

Telephone interviews         60

Face to face interviews       60

Transcribing data     61

Limitations     62

Results          64

Logistics        67

Customs and taxation         69

Internet Security       71

Internet as a mass distribution channel  73

Costs of implementation and maintaining an e-commerce website   74

Payment        76

Internet availability  78

Discussion    81

Recommendations  84

Conclusions 85

References   87

Appendices   96

Instruments   101

Abbreviations

T1 Respondent number 1 interviewed over phone
T2 Respondent number 2 interviewed over phone
T3 Respondent number 3 interviewed over phone
T4 Respondent number 4 interviewed over phone
T5 Respondent number 5 interviewed over phone
T6 Respondent number 6 interviewed over phone
F1 Respondent number 1 interviewed face to face
F2 Respondent number 2  interviewed face to face
F3 Respondent number 3 interviewed face to face
F4 Respondent number 4 interviewed face to face
   

Abstract

Conducting this MBA research was indispensable provided the paucity of research undertaken into why the e-commerce adoption rate has been slow among retailers of high-end furniture, while other retailers were more amenable to venturing into online, and selling there. Firstly, the researchers employ interviewing, and qualitative data generation method to generate data. Secondly, thematic analysis was completed with the use of NVIO. Thirdly, the researcher presents the results of the research and identifies the key barriers to e-commerce adoption by producers of high-end furniture.

Executive Summary
This MBA dissertation was conducted to identify the barriers to entry in e-commerce for retailers of high-end producers, and to determine the relative importance of these barriers in relation to each other.

The research employs qualitative research method to examine why the rate of e-commerce adoption has been low in high-end furniture, unlike in other categories. The researcher employed purposive sampling to choose the samples, and has concluded that there are 5 main barriers to entry e-commerce for high-end furniture retailers- logistics, taxation & customs, internet security, the impact of internet’s mass distribution nature and implantation costs.

The results suggest that these barriers to entries somehow hinder producers of high-end furniture from venturing into e-commerce and selling their furniture online.

The results suggest a number of recommendation for businesses in the high-end furniture niche:

  • concentrating on logistics
  • ensuring that there is workforce knowledgeable about taxation and customers
  • investing into internet security systems, and protect the data derived from customers
  • devise a strategy to be able to project exclusivity on the Internet
  • consider the costs of implementation and maintenance and scale accordingly
  • parter up with companies to ensure the online store can accept and process payment from various payment methods

Introduction

Rendered mainstream by Amazon, online retailing (i.e. an electronic commerce where consumer can purchase goods using their web browsers, or apps) have come to be a staple in every brick-and-mortar retailer’s strategy. Online marketplace or a dedicated store can offer unprecedented opportunities to business, big and small.  The U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Retail E-commerce Sales Report for the 2nd quarter of 2013 cites that there are 102,728 online retailers making at minimum $12 000 in revenue. This considerable number of online retailers generating the threshold revenue testifying to how online retail industry has gained such traction.  McKinsey  (2015) expound on the increase in e-commerce luxury sales, and maintains that the growth will be tripled by 2015, suggesting the ever importance of e-commerce adoption for high-end furniture retailers.  The introduction of online marketplace platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommece have lowered the barriers to entry into online-retailing, thus democratizing access to an online marketplace. Nonetheless, penetrating and gaining a foothold in the online retaliating is still fraught with obstacles and challenges.  These obstacles and challenges in penetrating the online retailing are referred to as barriers to entry, which are essentially obstacles hindering new entrants from penetrating a particular. There is a clear gap in academic research into the barriers to entries into the online retailing. The preponderance of the academic literature concentrate on the extrinsic benefits business can derive from venturing into online relating. Therefore, there is a clear need for more research into the barriers to entry for luxury furniture producers.  By identifying the barriers to entry into the online marketplace, luxury furniture makers can better be equipped with strategy to overcome such barriers to entry, rendering their strategy more proactive. This business research paper aims to identify the existing barriers to entry into the online retailing for luxury furniture producers, and recommend strategies for luxury furniture makers when attempting to penetrate the online retail landscape.

Research Hypothesis

This business dissertation aims to answer these research hypothesis, and achieve the research objectives of identifying barriers to entry for penetrating online retail for luxury furniture procedures.  Research questions are essential, and they dictate the research methods (Strauss and Corbin 1998).

  1. What are the barriers of entry into online retailing for luxury furniture producers?
  2. What are the relative importance of these barriers of entry for luxury furniture makers?
  3. What strategies can be utilized to minimize or circumvent these entire into entry for luxury furniture makers?

Researching the barriers into entry and recommending strategies for luxury furniture makers is the key part of this business research.

Literature Review

There is voluminous academic literature conducted into the barriers of entry into online retailing. Nonetheless, most of the research concentrates on most types of businesses making them inapplicable to specific businesses such as high-end furniture retailers. The rate of e-commerce adoption among SMEs pale into comparison next to that among large companies (MacGregor and Vrazalic, 2006).   MacGregor and Vrazalic (2005) cite that notwithstanding the government support and improvements in internet infrastructure, mainly large companies were able to leverage their e-commerce websites, and derive economic benefits. The reluctancy of high-end furniture makers are derived from barriers to entry, which will be analyzed below. Nonetheless, most of the research carried out on barriers to entry concentrate on SMEs.

Definition of e-commerce and barriers to entry

E-commerce has been able to penetrate all aspects of our lives. There are a number of valid definitions of what e-commerce is in academic literature. Wigand (1997) defined e-commerce as a process whereby the Internet is utilized to conduct economic activities, or activities from which economic gain be derived.  On the other hand, WTO (1998) provided for a more encompassing and extensive definition of what e-commerce was by citing that e-commerce is utilizing the Internet as a platform where some miscellaneous services could be conducted. Bain (1956) provided a definition for an entry barrier, defining it as anything which enable incumbent companies to sustain above-normal profits without the threat of entry. Companies sometimes erect barriers to entry to insulate themselves from new entrants and sustain their profitability.

General barriers

Zaid (2012) has compartmentalized the barriers to entries for SMEs, and categorized them as social, legal, cultural, technological, political and organizational.   Zaied (2012) rated the relative importance of each factors in militating against small business starting an e-commerce website, cited social and cultural factors as the least important ones. Subba et al. (2003) notes how the costs associated with launching and sustaining an e-commerce website has decreased.  Notwithstanding, Subba et al. (2003) concludes that the costs are still measurable and thus deter some businesses from implementing e-commerce websites. Dholakia and Kshetri(2004)suggest that there are both external and internal factors impeding e-commerce adoption among SMEs, and compartmentalized the factors into these subgroups.  Dholakia and Kshetri(2004) studied a number of SMEs at varying levels of e-commerce adoption, and concluded that prior technology use among SME owners was an essential factor. The findings of Dholakia and Kshetri (2004) are in harmony with those of Yazdanifard and Zargar (2012) which also emphasize how e-commerce adoption can be hindered by a paucity of technological know-how. On the other hand, success in e-commerce adoption depends on a number of diverse variables, suggests Polatoglu (2007).  Polatoglu (2007) cites that success in e-commerce adoption depends on strategic choices and organizational capacities. Cultural factors hindering e-commerce adoption have been explored by academic research. Travica (2002) cites how important cultural factors can impede e-commerce adoption, emphasizing how cultural perceptions averse to ICT can in fact become a barrier to entry for e-commerce adoption.

Competitive pressure spurs IT innovation, and facilities e-commerce adoption, as suggested by Battisti et al (2007). Perceived benefits of e-commerce incentive businesses to go online, as found by Gibbs and Kraemer (2004).

Patents & Licensing

The Economist (2009) cites that patents, licensing and as such can be the most insurmountable for firms looking to venture into the online marketplace and sell their products there. These barriers act as an insulation for the exiting companies in any given industry. Ozyasar (2017) also came to comparable discussion, by emphasizing how permissions or licenses can act as very steep barriers to entry, discouraging new entrants from penetrating the industries which are subject to licensing, and permission. Hornie and Zammit (2010) also discuss how licensing and regulations can be high barriers to entry. Nonetheless, they cite how online gambling and casinos are subjected to these licensing practices, not e-commerce retailers.

Logistics

Logistics (also referred to as fulfillment plays a key role in ensuring that e-commerces thrive in the global market. Kayikci (2018) finds that the integration of logistics and supply chain can be taxing, but SMEs has to leverage their resources to ensure they make improvements in their logistics. The unprecedented growth in the number of personal vehicles being purchased and driven by consumers constitutes another threat to e-commerce since the increase in the number of cars leads to congestion, thereby, prolonging delivery times (de Souza et al (2014)

Ghezzi et al. (2012) found a positive correlation between poor logistics (i.e. infrastructure) with problems in logistics, and suggested a number of recommendations in terms of strategizing to ensure that the problems associated with infrastructure are mitigated. Incumbents in the e-commerce industry have exhibited a penchant for utilizing their mass output and economy of scale to render fast and secure shipping, like Amazon does for little or no fee. Lewis (2006) found a positive relationship between customer acquisition and low shipping fees.  Granted, most SMEs are devoid of the financial and technological clout to render swift and inexpensive shipping, this acts as one of the key barriers to entry.

Delivery of items ordered occurs frequently in e-commerce. These delays can act as a huge disincentive for the consumers, and make them less like to procure e-commerce products, found Franco and Regi S (2016). AT Kearney, a consultancy based in South Korea, also cites that logistics remains a huge problem for e-commerce business, a conclusion which is in harmony with that of Franco and Regi S (2016).

Overall, ensuring efficient delivery requires more skills and know-how on part of businesses looking to take their businesses to online. Since ensuring seamless delivery and managing logistics requires better integration of technologies over the supply chain.

As much as there tends to be a virtual consensus among researchers as to the how licensing, and permission can constitute high barriers to entry, e-commerce retailing is ordinarily not subject to these restrictive licensing practices, testifying to the inapplicability of these entry to barriers for e-commerce retailers.


Economies of scale

Economies of scale as a barrier to entry can be gained from having a dominant position in an industry.  There are a number of academic literature suggesting the importance of economies of scale as a relatively high barrier to entry.  Ferguson(1974) cites the importance of scale economies by asserting how mass production by the incumbent companies enable them to sustain their portability, and acting as a deterrence for up-coming companies to enter the industry. Schmalensee (1981), on the other hand, concludes that economies of scale as a barrier to entry is far from effective, downplaying its importance as a high barrier to entry.

Rayport and Jaworski (2002) come to similar conclusions as Scmalensee (1981), by indicating that economies of scale as a barrier to entry is undermined with the advent of e-commerce. There persists the notion of early mover advantage within e-commerce businesses, and early mover advantage with e-businesses translate into strategic advantage, suggests Wang et al (2016). The rate at which insurgent e-commerce retailers can gain competitive advantage can be retarded by early movers into e- commerce, such as Amazon, argues Wang et al (2016).Currently, there are a number of tool e-commerce businesses can utilize to overcome these seeming barriers. Nonetheless, the proliferation of tools has lowered these barriers to entries to e-commerce retailers, as suggested by Donkovtceva (2016).

There is a contention as to whether economies of scale can act as a high barrier to entry for e-commerce businesses, with some academic literature stressing its importance, and some depreciating its role as barrier to entry. 

Customer acquisition

Khurana (2017) suggests that, notwithstanding an e—commerce website can be set up with relative ease, it can be quite onerous for e-commerce business including high-end furniture retailers to acquire new customers.  Customer acquisition online somehow considered to be more taxing and onerous, unlike at a physical store. Hirt and Willmott (2014) agree on the fact that e-commerce has afforded customer more transparency as to the pries, ushering in an era of laser focus on price matching, and feature-comparing. These new trends suggest that acquiring customers has been rendered more complicated as a result of the e-commerce boom. When e-commerce stores offering comparable products abound, it causes confusion for the customer as to what to choose from, and such optionality leads to lower switching costs.  Porter (1980) defined switching costs as ‘one-time costs facing the buyer of switching from one supplier’s product to another’s’. Ke et al (2004) found that switching costs are lower in the e-commerce, since technology has shifted how consumer perceive product makers, and make purchasing decisions.  Customer loyalty is key in sustaining any e-commerce businesses, and it correlated with switching costs. Low switching costs signifies how e-commerce business can lose customers even if they make a minor mistake in its execution, finds Yen (2017) suggest that the fact low barriers to entries in e-commerce have ushered in a proliferation of e-commerce websites. The unprecedented increase has directly translated into high competition amongst e-commerce businesses intending to entice more consumers.

Technological skills

Technological skills of employees also play a key role in ensuring the success of e-commerce websites. Technological skills associated with implementing and maintaining an e-commerce website can be high.  There persists a paucity of skilled workforce equipped with technological skills, and this is an entry to barrier to e-commerce in and of itself, discuss Odedra and Straub (2003). Ainin and Noorismawati (2003) also found that the presence of technological skills can play a key role. The businesses. Ainin and Noorismawati (2003 provides support to the fact that the paucity of technologically-knowledgeable workforce was one of the important factors hindering e-commerce adoption.

Oliveira & Martins (2010) define technological readiness as being able to leverage and integrate technological and IT human resources. Mata et al (1995) suggest that technological readiness con-sits of two parts- technological infrastructure and human resource which can manipulate and leverage the technology to complement the e-commerce business.

Greater integration among supply chains is key. Nonetheless, integrating of supply chains entails economic costs, as asserted by Al-Qirim (2007).

Yazdanifard and Zargar (2012) suggest that e-commerce will play even a bigger role in the future of retail. They contend that this level of unprecedented growth requires labor (i.e. workforce) skilled at implementing and managing e-commerce websites. Yazdanifard and Zargar (2012) contend that the demand and supply in IT workforce is will not be sustainable, and this can put potential businesses looking to expand online.  Taylor and Murphy (2004) also note that when adopting an e-commerce website, many businesses face the problem of lack of skilled workforce, substantiating the findings of Yazdanifard and Zagar (2012). Lawson   et al. (2003) agreed on the importance of technological skills in enabling business venture into e-commerce, however, they noted how learning and mastering the technological skills prerequisite for managing an e-commerce website can take around 5 to 10 years.

Deloitte (2017) suggests that leveraging technology is key to deriving the benefits of e-commerce, suggesting comparable views as to how the paucity of technological skills can hinder businesses from going online.

The analyzed literature review suggests that academic interest into the barriers to entry for e-commerce remains fragmented. Huang (2007) also concentrated on the Taiwanese market and considered the Taiwanese legal system and licensing to be one of the most prohibitive barriers into entry.   There are a number of studies to corroborate the findings of Huang (2007).  CIMB ASEAN Research Center (2015) suggests that legal framework can indeed have pernicious or chilling effect on the business looking to venture into e-commerce.

Internet Availability

The availability of high-speed broadband connection is far from guaranteed in some parts of the world. The essence of an e-commerce is to sell products to customers from all around the world. Nonetheless, the availability of high-speed internet connection can militate against realizing this key potential of e-commerce for retailers, cites CIMB ASEAN Research Center (2015). Ainin and Noorismawati (2003) also concurred with the research of CIMB ASEAN Research Center by suggesting that the availability of the Internet was the second most important barrier to entry among businesses which wanted to venture into online. Not all customers have access to the Internet, suggested their seminal study. Nonetheless, Ainin and Noorismawati (2003) research was conducted in 2003, when the Internet penetration rate was deep, and that customers were devoid of access to Internet. Therefore, the findings of the Ainin and Noorismawati (2003) research might not be so applicable to the current business strategies aiming to incorporate online expansion in their portfolio. Kaynak et al. (2005) conducted a study into the reasons of slow adoption of e-commerce by businesses in markets including Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Asia. Kaynal et al. (2005) concluded that slow internet connection and instability in telecommunications were the main factors impeding the e-commerce adoption rates among businesses based in the countries they studied. Okoli and Mbarika (2002) cite how telecommunications infrastructure can either facilitate or impede e-commerce adoption, giving credence to the findings of Kaynal et al. (2005).

Ainin and Noorismawati (2003) suggested that notwithstanding the unprecedented adoption of e-commerce among companies, there persists a number of factors impeding the adoption of e-commerce. The costs associated with implementing and managing e-commerce website were the most significant factor impeding e-commerce adoption amongst the companies they studied. Kurnia (2006) also emphasis how availability of brand-with connection can be a disincentive for consumers and retailers alike, by discovering that consumers tended to grow frustrated with slow internet connection and cultivate aversion to e-commerce websites. Therefore, Kurnia (2006) and Ain and Noorismawati (2003) came to comparable conclusions as to how the availability of Internet or lack thereof can be a barrier to entry for some businesses in their adoption of e-commerce.

Implementation

Heung (2003), on the other hand identified the cost of formulating and implementing an e-commerce website as the most critical factor which deters SMEs from establishing an e-commerce websites.  Heung (2003) asserted that the shortage of well-trained staff to maintained the e-commerce was also another key barrier to entry into e-commerce. Kapurubandara and Lawson (2006) also cites developing an e-commerce website and the costs associated with it as one of most important factors impeding e-commerce adoption by SMEs.  Duan (2012) also came to similar conclusions regarding how costs associated with developing and implementing an e-commerce website can be a formidable barrier to entry for e-commerce businesses. Ramdani, Chevers, and Williams (2013) found that most SMEs are averse to going online, largely because they are not technologically prepared, and are devoid of employees capable of maintaining such e-commerce websites.

Laurence and Tar (2010) stress how the costs associated with entry to barriers such as implementation of an e-commerce strategy can be high.  Nonetheless, Laurance and Tar (2010) exclusively focused on entries to barriers for e-commerce in developing countries. Laurance and Tar (2010) findings have been corroborated by Koh and Maguire (2004). Koh and Maguire (2004) suggest that the biggest contraint on smaller size firm when venturing into e-commerce is the fact that they are unable to inject enough investment into their new venture. MacGregor and Vrazalic imputed the slower adoption of e-commerce by SMEs to their inability to raise funds and invest, substantiating the findings of Koh and Maguire (2004). Koh and Maguire (2004) conclude that notwithstanding the number of tools available to business to utilize to venture into e-commerce, whether or not these tools are employed to gain strategic advantage remains nebulous. Notwithstanding how there persists considerable academic literature on the barriers to entry for SMES, all the academic research papers discussed above concentrated on SMEs, and tended to be overly general. Therefore, there persists a gap in business research for specifically luxury furniture producers.

Taxation

Running an e-commerce and generating revenue world-wide undoubtedly leads to taxation in either country.  Global tax laws are far from uniform, and compliance with them remains cumbersome for SMEs, including high-end furniture retailers. Jones and Basu (2002) studied the implications of taxation e-commerce, and indicated that fragmented tax code, and as such can be onerous to be comply with. G. Reddick and D. Coggburn (2007) also consider taxation as a deterrence for SMEs looking to expand into e-commerce, by suggesting that the State laws need a major overhaul to better reflect the rise of e-commerce. Cobb et al (2000) also found that, even though overlooked, taxation can have commercial implications for the businesses attempting establish e-commerce stores.  Cross-border trade sometimes entails dealing with customs, and paying import tariffs when products are sold out of the country. Custom, coupled with logistic, can constitute a robust barrier to entry for SMEs looking to establish an online website and leverage it to reach and sell to more customer over the Internet (Kanueva, 2009). Galuzka (2016) cites the how tax-compliance can hinder e-commerce, and acts as a formidable entry to barrier.

Payment

Whether it is PayPal, Visa or Stripe, payment methods an e-commerce retailer can accept abound. For an e-commerce website, it is essential to ensure that various payment methods are accepted. Notwithstanding the advent of Stripe, and other payment tool which facilitate the receipt of payment from various sources, Huang (2007) identified that ensuring receipt of payment from various methods another key barrier into entry. Nevertheless, Huang (2007) sampling is limited, and concentrated on Taiwanese and Chinese businesses looking to venture into online e-commerce.  Byrne and Hanson (2014) also suggest that to success in an e-commerce, any website needs the tools to manage payments, and ensure that e-commerce businesses can accept payment from various methods. Efendioglu et al (2004) cited how shopper, particularly in developing countries, tend to view online shopping as susceptible to fraud, and are usually averse to using such services online.  Efendioglu et al (2004) also found that security and payment issues coalesced into a formidable barrier to entry for both e-retailers and consumers. Deloitte (2017) stresses how e-commerce companies have to be able to leverage and accept a variety of payment options, such as debit and credit cards, internet banking and as such.

Payment can be a big disadvantage and act as a barrier to entry for businesses intending to establish their e-commerce websites. (Oxley and Yeung, 2001) expound on the importance of a payment infrastructure which allows for seamless payments and transactions over the Internet for purchases done online.  Overall, developing and implementing systems whereby various payment methods can be accepted for payment is a key factor as a barrier to entry.

Internet Security

Hacking and other risks to privacy constitute one of the key barriers to entry of e-commerce. Internet security as a barrier to entry for e-commerce businesses has also attract considerable research attention. Sultana et al. (2011) has come to identify security issues related to setting and running an e-commerce website as one of the highest barriers to entry when implementing an e-commerce website. Sultana et al. (2011) researching small enterprises in Sweden came to conclusion that maintaining a secure e-commerce was one of the factors militating against small business venturing into electronic commerce.  Chitura et al. (2008) also identified security-related issues as a high barrier to entry for e-commerce among both high-end and low end producers of furniture, substantiating the most of  academic research conducted into the area. On the other hand, Kool et al (2011) found that 19% of the SMEs it researched cited internet fraud as one of the most important factor deterring them from setting up an e-commerce website.  Cloete et al (2002) came to comparable conclusions as to the importance of security for new entrants into e-commerce, by suggesting that internet security was found as less than robust by the SMEs they surveyed for their seminal study.

Tan, et al., (2007) found that fraud, fear of loss, and other risks associated with e-commerce was cited as the most significant factor impeding the adoption of e-commerce, giving credence to the findings of Sultana et al. (2011) and Chitura et al. (2008). Left unmitigated, these risks can coalesce into more than a hindrance and successful prevent SMEs from adopting e-commerce.

Overall, there tends to be a consensus as to the importance of internet security as a key barrier to entry for e-commerce, as suggested by the academic literature reviewed.

Internet as the mass distribution channel

Luxury e-commerce is somehow perceived as somehow impossible. Shaoolin (2017) cites how cumbersome it can be for luxurious brands to project exclusivity and luxury in e-commerce. Nonetheless, Shaoolin (2017) contends that with the formulation and execution, luxury product retailers can gain and project exclusivity and luxury in e-commerce.

Parisi (2017) provides for comparable views as to how the Internet and the e-commerce is perceived as a present danger to the exclusivity and the desirability of the luxury products, including furniture. Parisi (2017) cites that the reluctancy of most companies to venture into e-commerce can be imputed to the fact that the Internet can be a factor diluting the exclusivity of the high-end products, giving credence to the findings of Shaoolin (2017).

Schiffer (2017) came to similar conclusions as to how it can be challenging for luxury e-commerce business to exude and project exclusivity and luxury in an e-commerce website, and cites how the inability to sustain their exclusivity and impart their brands’ value proposition. Curtis (2002) cites that for all its advantages, the Internet is considered to be a mass distribution channel. Therefore, e-commerce adoption has been unprecedentedly low compared to other cheaper consumer goods.  Nonetheless, Shaoolin (2017) suggests that luxury brands can employ unique strategies to sustain their exclusivity and ensure that they make inroads into luxury e-commerce.

Qiumei and Weimei (2012) produced a seminal study into e-commerce within the furniture sector and suggest high-end furniture producers to devise a strategic plan to execute to make inroads into luxury e-commerce whereby furniture producers set up e-commerce website where they sell their products directly to buyers.

To conclude, there seems to be a tentative consensus as to how the Internet is considered the less luxurious mean of communicating with and selling to luxury customers (Curtis 2000 and Parisi 2017). Nonetheless, the mere fact that the Internet is the ‘mass distribution channel of communication’ can be balanced with the exclusivity and luxury, high-end furniture producers intend to project. Qiumei and Weimei (2012 and Shaoolin (2017) stress the importance of how these unique challenges can be overcome and rendered counterproductive by high-end furniture producers.

Technology

Lack of technological know-how and of resources as barriers to entry for e-commerce websites have garnered sustained academic attention, as suggested by the literature review. Mehrtens, Cragg and Mills (2001) cited lack of resources and technological know-how as one of the key barriers into e-commerce, which has the potential to successfully deter new entrants from venturing into e-commerce.  Based on his study of 292 Indonesian SMEs, Rahayu (2015) found that technological know-how was one the most important factors for businesses which are loth to go online.  Stockdale and Standing (2004) study compartmentalized the barriers to entry into two groups- external and internal. Moreover, Rosemary and Standing (2004) found that technological know-how, which is an external factor- as key in deterring new entrants. This finding seems to be in harmony with that of Mehrtens, Cragg and Mills (2001) who identified lack of technological prowess as one of the deterrents (i.e. barriers to entry) Zaied (2012) came to identify shortage of technical skills and know-how as one of the most preventative barriers to entry for retailers trying to set up and an e-commerce website. Arendt (2008) suggests similar conclusions, by citing insufficient knowledge and technical prowess as one of the barriers hindering SMEs from venturing into e-commerce. Overall, technology as a barrier to entry for e-commerce used to be a key role. Nevertheless, most studies were conducted before 2015 suggesting their inapplicability to the current reality of e-commerce.

Methodology

Research Strategy

Research strategy is a key component of a methodology, enabling the researcher to identify the key areas of research ankd answer the research questions (Recker, 2012). Research strategy helps the researchers to figure out how the data will be collected, processed and analyzed to answer the research questions and achieve the research questions (Bryman & Bell 2015). Research can be conducted by utilizing

To identify the barriers to entry to e-commerce for high-end furniture producers, the researcher will utilize qualitative data research method.  Unlike qualitative date which entails measurements, qualitative data utilized the answers derived from interviews and questions. Qualitative research method encourages the respondents to ramble on, enhancing the researcher’s ability to dig deeper into the subject (Bryman and Bell, 2015).  Therefore, the researcher has decided to go with qualitative research as opposed a to qualitative one.

This research is descriptive and applied in nature. Descriptive research entails the description of a number of variable. These variables are entries to barriers in the context of this study.

Research Approach

Employing the appropriate research approach is essential in enabling researcher conduct a reliable and replicable research in any given area. These research methods have come to be compartmentalized into three groups:  deductive, inductive and adductive.

Once all three of these research approaches have been juxtaposed in terms of their appropriateness and feasibility for answering the research questions, it became transparent that inductive research approach was more appropriate to examine the barriers to entry for e-commerce among high-end furniture makers.  The choice of inductive research was based on the following analysis.

Unlike deductive research approach, inductive research approach entails utilizing data and inferring data to answer the research questions set out.  When a deductive approach is deployed for a research, the researcher ordinarily formulates a hypothesis, and utilized data to confirm the hypothesis.  On the other hand, an inductive approach does not entail the formulation of a hypothesis. Inductive research, on the other hand, is aimed at narrowing down research questions and answering these questions (Neuman 2003). Moreover, no hypothesis can be formulated at the initial stage of an inductive research, largely because new trends are ordinarily researched for inductive research. Inductive research approach has been defined as a research approach which ‘involves the search for pattern from observation and the development of explanations – theories – for those patterns through series of hypotheses’ (Bernard, 2011).

The use of deductive research method is prevalent in science, as opposed to business research. For business research, inductive research is the more optimal choice, mainly because inductive research approach is more conducive to generating a theory following collecting and analyzing data.

Lodico et al (2010) provide that an inductive research approach ‘“bottom-up” approach to knowing, in which the researcher uses observations to build an abstraction or to describe a picture of the phenomenon that is being studied’.

Qualitative research method

Research method is an aspect of any research project. Shenton (2004) stresses that the appropriate and well-recognized research method is key to ensure the credibility of the research. Moreover, Shenton (2004) cites research method as one of the key elements which dictate how business research is conducted. Data for a business research can be collated using either quantitative or qualitative method. Qualitative research has been lucidly described as ‘any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification’ (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).  Both data collection methods such as qualitative and quantitative have gained traction in business research (Bryman and Bell, 2011).

When deciding on the applicability of either data collection methods, rapt attention has been paid to their dissociative features and to their feasibility and viability.  To analyze the diverse barriers to entry in e-commerce for high-end furniture producers, qualitative research method will be utilized.

Parker (2013) cites that there has been sustained increase in the use of qualitative research in business and marketing, while Silverman (2005) suggests that qualitative research, as opposed to quantitative research, is more conducive in learning about the attitude of subjects towards something new or unprecedented.

Proctor (2003) suggests that interviewing subjects can be key in identifying some obscure problems. Qualitative research is more conducive to identifying problems, and suggest solutions to them based on the data collated using qualitative research. Qualitative research enables the researcher to derive deeper insight on the problem.

Open-ended questions

The interviews incorporated open-ended questions as to derive more insight into the problems facing high-end furniture producers while establishing e-commerce websites, and maintaining them. Unlike closed questions which tend to restrict the responses of the interviewees, open-ended questions incentivize interviewees to elaborate on their answers (Marquardt, 2005). Open-ended questions have been citing as viable in helping interviewees delve deeper into the subject and provide more constructive responses, enhancing the reliability of the data. Mutch (2005) also emphasizes the importance of incorporating open-ended questions in interviews, and how they can enable the researcher to derive more insight, and incite the subjects to go deeper and reveal more about the subjects being studied.

Overall, open-ended questions offer a number of key advantages over other types of questions. Therefore, open-ended questions were incorporated into the questions to be asked from samples.

Structured interviews

On the other hand, structured interviews adopt a different approach. Rowley (2012) cites how structured interviewers exerting complete control over the structure, and contains closed ended questions, which are posed to the interviewees in the exact order. Structured interviews can hinder the interviews from elaborating on their arguments and opinions, retarding the production of useful insight (Rowley, 2012). Kvale (1996) provided for a categorization of a qualitative interview questions as the following: introducing questions, follow up questions, probing questions specifying questions, direct questions, indirect questions, structuring questions, silence, interpreting questions.

The researcher has ensured that the questions formulated in the interview protocol incorporated questions of diverse nature to ensure the production of more diverse opinions. The interview protocol largely incorporated open-ended questions provided that the interview was unstructured. The more involved the respondents are in interview, the more they are likely to give information-rich responses, as concluded by Maxwell (2013). Therefore, the interview protocol was formulated in a way to ensure that it contained questions which clearly aimed to encourage interests in the respondents. In a qualitative interview, viable and practical questions have a semi-structured nature and require more answer rather than just yes/no answers (Britten, 1999). For the purposes of this research, primary data collated by interviewing the professionals involved in high-end furniture production.

Reliability and validity in a qualitative research

Reliability and validity in a qualitative research are two of the key elements underpinning the whole substance of a business research.

Reliability

The precise definition of ‘reliability’ in the context of qualitative research has eluded the academics and researchers alike (Golafshani, 2003). Nonetheless, reliability is one of the two key element which indicate the overall credibility and quality of a qualitative research. On the other hand, Lincoln and Guba (1985) cite credibility, neutrality, consistency, and transferability as the key criteria by which the quality of a qualitative research is assessed.

Validity

Validity refers to how sound the research is, and is central to the quality of the results and the research itself. Seliger & Shohamy (1989) cite how any extraneous factors can negate the accuracy of the findings by suggesting ‘any research can be affected by different kinds of factors which, while extraneous to the concerns of the research, can invalidate the findings’. There are two types of validity- external and internal.

Internal validity refers to whether or not the finding is flawed because of something internal (i.e. problems with data instruments, research method).

External validity refers to how generalizable the findings and the results. Findings which cannot be replicated or generalized to a bigger population are considered external invalid. Subject selection, researcher effects, data collection, available time can all have external effect on the validity.

Overall, as Lincoln and Guba (1985) suggested reliability and validity are front and center in a qualitative research. Therefore, to ensure the reliability and the validity of a qualitative research, trustworthiness plays a key role. Seale (1999) contends that ‘trustworthiness of a research report lies at the heart of issues conventionally discussed as validity and reliability’.  The following paragraphs will expound on the key threats as to the validity and reliability of the research faced by the researcher and how the researcher intends to mitigate or minimize the risks posed by each element.

Informant reliability

One of the most common disadvantages associated with purposive sampling is how information reliability might be compromised when purposive sampling is utilized by the researcher. Informant reliability is the reliability of the responses rendered by the respondents (i.e. interviewees). Compromised informant reliability can be prejudicial to the accuracy and reliability of the data collected by the researchers and compromise its replicability (Tongco 2010).

To ensure that the informant reliability is not decreased, and ensured, the Zelditch (1962) suggests that the interview to be knowledgeable about the subject matter, and ask pertinent questions which induce reliable answers.  Alexiades (1996) cites how the interviewing skills, and how interview is conducted and whether or not the informant is comfortable with the researcher can either negatively or positively change the informant reliability. Noble and Smith (2015) suggest that to ensure the credibility of the informants, it is key for the researcher to practice soundness and reasonableness.  Morse et al (2002) cite how informant reliability can reduce the credibility and reliability of the data collected. To ensure that that informant reliability is not compromises, Morse et al (2002) suggest researchers generating qualitative data from purposive sampling to account for personal biases which can exert influence on the general reliability of the data.

Measures taken by the researcher

To ensure that purposive sampling employed for this research does not lead to lower informant reliability, the researcher has taken measures. Furthermore, the researcher will ensure that the interviewees feel comfortable with the questions being asked, and with how the interview is being administered.

Triangulation is a process whereby researchers complement one data-generating method with another. For instance, a researcher can complement focus groups with individual interviews, and as such. Guba and Lincoln (1989) suggest the use of triangulation as way of mitigating risks associated with purposive sampling enables the researcher to derive individuals benefits of each data-generating method and successfully minimizing the bias risks associated with purposive sampling.

Even though triangulation can be viable in mitigating risks involved in undertaking qualitative research, doing so can be economically unattractive since complementing individual interviews with focus groups can be both time-consuming and cost- prohibitive. Overall, as much as triangulation can be viable in reducing risks such as bias, which is usually associated with purposive sampling, undertaking triangulation is not practical in these research settings.

Bias

Undertaking a qualitative research entails a number of challenges for the novice researcher (Rolfe 2006).  One of the challenges faced by business researchers while conducting a business research is the potential for bias on part of the researcher and the respondents.  Bias, in fact, distorts the trustworthiness of the results, and compromises the validity and reliability of the findings. Norris (1997) cites how most qualitative research being conducted these days can be compromised by bias, and provides for an exhaustive list of cases which can give rise to bias in a qualitative research. Norris (1997) recommends researchers to solicit other’s opinion regarding the substance of the findings so they can help the researcher identify areas in findings which might have been compromised by bias.

Overall, in qualitative research, there persists a number of issues which can compromise the validity and the reliability of research. To mitigate the bias which is prevalent is purposive sampling and qualitative research, the researcher has decided to take measures.

Respondent validation

The researcher has also decided to resort to respondent validation.  Respondent validation is a process whereby the researcher invites the interviewees to comment on the interviewee transcript, and aims to double check the veracity of the responses they provided, and whether these responses successfully reflected the subject matter being studied.  Respondent validation as a viable method of mitigating bias in qualitative research has been introduced by Long and Rigour (2000).  Respondent validation, also referred to as member checks, have been found viable in terms of improving and enhancing the credibility of the study by a number of academic literature. Brewer and Hunter (1989) recommend the use of member checks to ensure the accuracy of the findings. The researcher has decided to use member checks (i.e. respondent validation) as one of the key methods to ensure the reliability and the credibility of the findings.

 Incorporating rich and thick verbatim description

Incorporating rich and thick verbatim descriptions of participants has also been noted as a viable method of ensuring the trustworthiness of the responses provided.  Slevin (2002) suggest how viable including rich and thick verbatim can be viable in ensuring that bias associated with purposive sampling is mitigated, if not eliminated.

Randomization

Unlike non-probability sampling, purposive sampling is associated with bias and error. Topp et al. 2004 suggest the use of purposive sampling and randomization as to decrease the potential for bias in sampling, and cites how radon sampling can be free from bias.  Nonetheless, incorporating randomization can prove to be counterproductive and cost-prohibitive. Therefore, the researcher has decided to not complement purposive sampling with randomization. Shenton (2004) cites that randomization can help negate risks incurring while conducting qualitative research. Preece (1994) asserts that the use of random approach allows the researcher to disperse bias over the sample, with Bouma and Atkinson (1995) suggesting that random sampling is the most optimal way to ensure that selected samples is a representative of the whole group. Nonetheless, randomization has a number of inherent disadvantages, with the potential of non-experts and uncooperative samples being selected (Shenton 2004). The research objectives clearly indicate that to identify the barriers to entry e-commerce, the most optimal samples are to be those who are knowledgeable about or experienced in high-end furniture producing, warranting the use of purposive sampling as our main sampling method.

Prolonged engagement

Sherton (2004) suggests that prolonged engagement and preliminary familiarity with the respondents tend to increase information reliability, ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the data generated. Lincoln and Guba (1989) indicate how trust between the researcher and the respondents is key, and how trust between the parties can be cultivated with the so-called prolonged engagement. Nonetheless, Silverman (2001) suggests that prolonged engagement might sometimes prove to be counterproductive, citing how respondents will like being a respondent to a research is encroaching on their privacy.

The researcher has determined that prolonged engagement is not viable mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, the samples- who tend to be experts as per criteria is purposive sampling- are averse to spending their limited time with researchers, and it might occur to them as intrusive. Secondly, the researcher has limited resources to answer the research questions. Therefore, the researcher has decided against prolonged engagement as a way to ensure to cultivate trust between the respondents.

Shenton (2004) has provided for a number of essential measures which can be taken by researcher to ensure the trustworthiness (i.e. credibility of results) in a qualitative research. To ensure the probability of bias in purposive sampling, Shenton (2004) suggest the use of peer scrutiny of the research project. He contends that peer reviews facilitate the production of fresh perspectives as to the substance of the research being conducted, enabling the researcher to enhance his or her research methods.

The researcher has decided to analyze the previous research findings and juxtapose the findings to enhance the reliability and the validity of the business research project. Silverman (2000) suggest that examining of previous research results can be essential to make sure that the validity and reliability of the research is ensured.

Purposive sampling

Sampling is the process where the researcher selects the participants in a research (Cohen, Manion, and Morrison (2008), and can be essentially defined as the process of selecting participants from a population. Latham (2007) cites the role sampling can play in ensuring the accuracy of the results of a research. Therefore, the sampling plays a central role, and the suitable method of sampling ensures the reliability and validity of the results presented in the research.

There are various types of sampling a researcher can employ. These methods of sampling are compartmentalized into two subgroups- probability sampling and non-probability sampling. The types of purposive sampling have been compartmentalized as Maximum Variation Sampling (MVS), Homogenous Sampling, Typical Case Sampling, Extreme/Deviant Case Sampling, Total Population Sampling, Critical Case Sampling (Patton 1990). Each of the purposive sampling have distinct features and aspects. The sampling method for this particular research can be classified as purposive homogenous sampling (Crossman, 2017). Homogenous sampling entails selecting sample with similar qualifications, backgrounds, occupations and experiences. Babbie (1990) cites the how key purposive sampling can be when studying a smaller subset of populations.

Purposive sampling, whereby subjects in a study are purposely selected, unlike random sampling.  Purposive sampling enables the researcher to select samples with homogenous attributes, which is key in conducting a research into a narrow area of business. Essentially, purposive sampling aims to identify and select information-rich samples to efficiently use the research resources (Patton, 2002).  For purposive sampling, the so-called key elements of the potential are identified, and sample is chosen based on the applicability of such elements (Saunders  et al 2012).

Black (2010) suggest purposive sampling is cost-effective, and less time-consuming, rendering it to be one  of the most feasible sampling methods to study the barriers to entry to e-commerce business for high-end furniture makers.  Based upon this analysis, the researcher has decided to use purposive sampling

Elements of purposive sampling

Cooper and Schindler (2001) define purposive sampling (i.e.  judgment sampling) as a type of sampling whereby the researcher chooses samples based on their conformity to the elements he or she is seeking. The element of purposive sampling (i.e. the criteria) employed by the researchers are as follows;

The researcher has formulated the current element of the purposive sampling method criteria while keeping in mind the research questions and objectives in mind.

Samples to be employed or involved in furniture retailer in a capacity where they had to attract customers online

OR

Samples to be employed as independent contractor or consultant by high-end furniture production to assist them with e-commerce

OR

Samples to have been employed as independent contractors or consultants by high-end furniture production in assisting with e-commerce launch

OR

Samples to be employed in a high capacity as head of marketing and expanding new markets for high-end furniture producers.

Sample size

Sample size is central to the reliability and accuracy of data collected for any research, and selecting the right number of sample size can be exacting and onerous. Nonetheless, defining a sample size plays a key role in a qualitative research (Bryman and Bell, 2011).

Unlike quantitative research which requires considerable sample size to be a success, qualitative data researcher ordinarily avail themselves of smaller sample sizes. The prevalent tool to determine the appropriate sample size is called saturation (Charmaz, 2003). Glaser & Strauss (1967) suggested that sample size in a qualitative data cannot be either determined or predicted before starting collecting the data. Therefore, saturation has long been employed by qualitative researchers to determine the proper sample size.  Saturation occurs when the researchers reaches the point, where no new data apropos the research questions can be derived from samples (Browen, 2008). Saturation as a sound method of determining sample size have become a benchmark of a quality of findings in a qualitative research (Guest, 2006). O’Reilly and Parker (2012), on the other hand, have analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of using saturation as a viable to determine a proper sample size for quantitative research, and suggest against using it citing major complications associated with saturation.  Saturation can be a perennial process, whereby more and more data can be collected, preventing the researcher from reaching the saturation point. The use of saturation in inductive qualitative research is not recommended by researchers including O’Reilly and Parker (2012).

The correct sample size can play a key role in whether or not the results provided by a study are reliable and credible (Malterud et al 2015). (Malterud et al 2015) debunk the viability of saturation as a practical method of determining the correct (i.e. appropriate) sample size, and introduce the concept of ‘informant power’ in determining an appropriate sample size.  Information power refers to determining the sample size based on the amount of key information each sample has and is willing to disclose. Malterud et al (2015) argue that the more information one particular sample holds, the lower number of respondents is required for a sampling.

Malterud et al (2015) suggest that ‘information power’ sample size determination can be more cost-effective and less time-consuming than the traditional ‘saturation’ method of determining the proper sample size. Malterud et al (2015) cite that the size of a sample with information is predicated upon five prongs

1.    the aim of the study

2.    sample specificity

3.    use of established theory

4.    quality of conversation

5.    sound analysis strategy

Once both methods of determining samples, namely saturation and information power, have been compared and contrasted in terms of their viability and reliability, the researcher has chosen the information power method to determine the proper sample size to analyze the barriers to entry in e-commerce for high-end furniture producers.

Based on the ‘information power’ guide to determine the proper sample size, the researcher has decided upon the sample size of 10 to analyze the barriers to entries into e-commerce for high-end furniture retailers.  The researcher considers that, in compliance with the ‘information power’ analysis of determining sample size, 10 information-rich samples can be utilized to derive data to fulfill the research objectives and answer the research questions.

Unlike in quantitative research where researchers tend to use large sample size and where small sample sizes might bring about little information and data, small samples can suffice to analyze key business phenomena in qualitative research. Nonetheless, that is not to say that large sample sizes do not present its own limitations. XXX cites that conducting research with using large sample sizes tend to be cost-prohibitive, and time-consuming, exposing the ‘subjects’.

Sample elements

To analyze the entry to barriers for e-commerce, the elements of samples have been identified and will be applied when deciding on samples for the interviews.

Both sampling methods- purposive and random- have their own advantages and disadvantages. The purpose of the homogenous purposive sampling is to gain deeper insight into one area of research.

Focus groups involves the gathering of a number of selected can viable, particularly in business research. Focus groups tend to be considered the most optimal method of data generation from homogenous sample (Blackburn and Stokes 2000).  Unlike an interview where the questions are asked face-to-face, a focus group is more conducive to group discussions, which enable the researcher gain more insight into how

However, due to budget constraints and the complications associated with gathering the respondents, the researcher considered the focus group method of interviewing not viable.  Therefore, the researcher is compelled to conduct separate interviews with each respondent.

Interviews

Interviews are similar to every day conversation, except the questions are generated with regard to the researcher’s need and objectives. Nonetheless, it key to conduct interview with rigorous practices in place to ensure that the answers derived from are credible and reliable.

For the purposes of this business research, both semi-structured and unstructured questions will be employed.  Unstructured questions, also referred to as open-ended questions, resemble a daily conversation, states Burgess (1984).

Recruitment of respondents for interviews

As outlined above in sampling method part, the data used to identify the barrier to entries faced by high-end furniture producers and retailers is generated from interviews with individuals employed in capacities directly related to marketing and selling high-end furniture online.

The recruitment of respondents for a purposive sample can be onerous. The criteria formulated and applied by the researchers has led to a small sample size, 10 to be precise. Nonetheless, a small sample size is up for the course when the researchers employed purposive sampling. Palys (2008) confirms, and asserts that the criteria element of purposive sampling invariably contracts the potential sample size.

The samples were identified to have met the criteria were sent invitations to interviews over email. Those who agreed to being a respondent were invited to a background interview. To ensure that they interviewees were able to make informed decisions as to become a participant in the research, the researcher has extended forms asking their voluntary agreements and conducted background interviewees.

To ensure that the interviewees were knowledgeable about the research questions and its objectives, emails were sent to each potential respondent detailing the criteria of the purposive sampling, and tentative idea of what questions would entail.  Informed consent is a core element in research ethics, cites Nihjawan et al (2013).

Research ethics stipulate that all potential participants to be provided enough information as to how research will be conducted as to enable them to make an informed decision about participation in a research, as provided by Kottow(2005). Prior to commencing interviewing, the researcher has formulated a checklist to ensure that research ethics are mitigated, and eliminated.

Data

Cooper and Schindler (2006) suggest that there are two sources of data- primary and secondary.   To identify the barriers to entry for e-commerce among luxury furniture manufactures, data will be collected using an interview with purposive sampling.

Interview as a source of data can be a viable and feasible method of deriving primary data concerning a number of theories and doctrines.

Interviews can be defined as restricted one to one conversation, whereby the researcher intends derive primary data for the purposes of his or her research (Akbarak, 2000). Gray (2004) cites the positive aspects of interviews as data-generating method. Firstly, Gray (2004) cites that interviews can enable researchers gain highly personalized data about underlying factors. Secondly, interviews present unprecedented opportunities for learn about the underlying factor. Thirdly, the viability of interviews as data-generating instrument is not mitigated even when the sample size is limited (Gary, 2004). Fourthly, when respondents have problems conveys their opinions in writing.

Moreover, interviews can offer thorough description of the subject being studied, with preserving the nature of the study (Collis & Hussey, 2003). The researcher has contemplated using questionaries’ as a data-generating method. Nevertheless, Munck (1991) suggests how questionnaires can prove to be less viable, and dilute the reliability of the results in a given area. Therefore, the researcher decided against using questionnaires. Collis & Hussey (2003) note how interviews can help provide the researcher more insight into the subject for the researcher, unlike questionnaires.  As the review of the academic literature suggests, there is a gap in research on barriers to entry for e-commerce among luxury furniture makers.  Collis and Hussery (2003) suggests the use of interviews for studying new theories, and when the researcher is not thoroughly cognizant of what he or she is trying to study. Since there were a clear paucity of academic interest into the barriers to entry for e-commerce, the interviewing was chosen as the staple data-generating instrument.

Conducted face-to-face, interviews can offer more insight as to the answers being provided by the respondents. Face-to-face interviews enables the researcher to capture and read gestures and other non-verbal cues. Body language exhibited by the respondents during the interviews can be analyzed to determine whether they were comfortable or not when they were asked questions (Madwiza, 2016).  David and Sutton (2004) suggest that the researcher is conducting an inductive research ,  the interviews can be the most optimal data-gathering instrument. As

Unlike in questionnaires, (Abawi; 2013) cites, respondents tend to give more meaningful and insightful answers.

Interviews present a number of risks which cannot be overlooked

Bias remains one most of the risks associated with using interviewing as a data-generating instrument in a business research. Madwiza (2016) cites how in unstructured interviews can be susceptible to bias arising out of either respondent’s or interviewee’s point of view, and tend to be deviated from. Cultivating personal involvement with respondents can also hinder the researcher from procuring viable and reliable answers, and dilute the replicability of the results of the research (Abawi, 2013).

Nonetheless, Hoyle, Harris and Judd (2002) cite that risk of bias can be mitigated with proper preparation and training and compliance with research ethics. To ensure the viability and reliability of the results, the interviews will be conducted with adherence to research ethics.

Fatigue and the disillusion with the interview questions or how the interview is being implemented.  These risks, if not mitigated or circumvented, can culminate in the generation of data which is neither viable or usable.  To ensure that the risk of disillusion by the respondents is minimized, the interview questions will be devised and administered in a way that produces the least fatigue and disillusion.

Whyte (1953) has suggested some recommendations as to how administer and unstructured interview in a way that enables the researcher to derive more insight, thus improve the quality of the primary data gained. Whyte (1953) also emphasized the importance of concentrating on listening and refraining from interrupting the respondent. To ensure that the open-ended questions incorporated into the interview generate considerable insight and

Moreover, Kale (1996) proposes a number of key criteria to ensure the success of an interview. These criteria include knowledgeability, structuring clarity, gentleness, sensitivity, openness, steering, critic thinking, remembering and interpretation.

Transcribing

 

Bryman and Bell (2015) suggest the use of transcribing the interviews in whole.  Moreover, transcripts of interview play a key role in coding and analyzing data generated. However, transcribing the interviews is cost-prohibitive, and time consuming. Nonetheless, the researcher has decided to transcribe some interviews as the time limit allowed. 

Research ethics

Confidentiality

Collating data using interviews as the main data-generating instrument tends to give rise to a number of ethical issues. Confidentiality of the respondents (i.e. interviewees) is always front and center when it comes to research ethics. Confidentiality and anonymity have been used interchangeably by Kaiser (2009) and Tolich (2004). Allmark et al (2000) confidentiality as one of the key elements involving research ethics.  When conducting qualitative research, it is essential to protect the confidentiality of the interviewees. Protecting the confidentiality of the participants is to ensure that their identity will not be disclosed to the public (Rowley, 2012). Wiles et al (2006) cites how researchers can protect the confidentiality of the interviewees through a process known as anonymization. Becker & Bryman (2004) notes how anonymization, which is a process whereby the researcher assigned pseudonyms to the participants, can help ensure the confidentiality of the respondent in a qualitative research. On the other hand, Saunders et al (2014) argue that a researcher has to aim for the delicate balance between maximizing the anonymity of the respondents with not compromising the results and data derived from these interviews.

To ensure that the confidentiality of the interviewees is not compromised, the researcher will has resorted to anonymizations and decided to divest of all the data pertaining to the names and other identifiable information of interviewees. The interviews have coded the names of the interviewees as T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, F1, F2, F3, F4. T indicates that the interview was conducted over the phone, while F indicated that the interview was conducted face-to-face. When analyzing the data garnered from these respective interviews, the researcher has ensured that they are presented with their assigned code names. Following the interview, the researcher has codenamed all the addressed, including the names, to ensure that the confidentiality of the interviewees was ensured.

Informed consent

Informed consent can be defined as interviewees being knowledgeable about the risk and benefits their participation entails and should consent to be participant out of their own accord. Shahnazarian et al (2002) defined informed consent as the voluntary agreement of a respondent in participation in a research.

To ensure that ethical issues associated with conducting a business research is minimized and mitigated, the researcher had consulted the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct for researchers.

Analysis method

Lichtnman (2010) provides that analysis of a qualitative research entails coding and analysis. Coding is a process whereby a researcher collates the pertinent data, information, and notes to analyze the coded data for patterns and discerning trends.

Creswell (2009) provides that coding and analysis of qualitative data can be done through various methods, and cites how there is no one universal approach to coding and analyzing qualitative data.

To get closer to data at hand, the writing a summary for each interview was employed by the researcher to get more incisive insight into the data collected. There have been 10 summaries produced over the course of analysis of the data generated with interviews. Hess-Biber (2017) cites how summaries can help ensure that the researcher can concentrate on the overall patterns, and trends in the data collected.

Thematic approach

To identify the barriers to entry in e-commerce for high-end furniture production, the analysis method- thematic analysis- was employed by the researcher. The thematic analysis method of interviews has gained considerable traction lately, largely because of how viable it is in helping researchers identify specific patterns within interview data (Jugder, 2016).

Braun and Clarke (2006) have defined as thematic analysis as an analysis method which is employed by researchers to ‘identifying, analyzing, and reporting patterns (themes) within the data’. Thematic analysis approach was chosen by the researchers since rigorous thematic analysis of the interview data can help disclose more patterns and trends which can be used to answer the research questions. The primary purpose of inductive approach is to enable the researcher to discover significant and predominant patterns within raw data generated with interviews (Thomas, 2003). 

There are three prongs in a using the thematic analysis to learn more about the data and identify predominant patterns, and answer the research questions- familiarizing oneself with data, coding, and theme development and reporting.

Firstly, to internalize the data, considerable amount of time was spend rereading the transcripts of interviews and notes taken while interviews were being conducted.  The interviews were transcribed, which reinforced my feminization with the data.

Secondly, to code and organize the data generated from interviews, NVIVO software was utilized. The transcripts along with their audio recordings were imported into NVIVO. I coded the nodes and ensured that the nodes were coded accordingly with no errors. Nodes were succeeded by sub-nodes. The nodes were clearly assigned to represent the main barriers to entries for e-commerce among high-end furniture producers- internet security, implementation costs, technology, payment, taxation, logistics, customer acquisition and economies of scale.

Thirdly, the researcher painstakingly considered the nodes, and their frequency within NVIVO to identify the most predominant ones. The preliminary analysis in NVIVO provided that payment, implementation, taxations, and logistics were the most predominant patterns within the transcripts in NVIVO.

Moreover, the researcher availed himself of the Word Frequency Search Report to analyze the transcripts for nodes- internet security, implementation costs, technology, payment, taxation, logistics, customer acquisition and economies of scale. The Word Frequency Search was used to further niche down on the barriers to entries. Overall, the word frequency tool proved to be useful in analyzing the data generated from the interviews.

Following positive responses, the researcher has administered a background interviews. Background interviews were administered to ensure that the samples met the purposive sampling criteria, and they were information-rich, since the sampling size method was an ‘information power’ one (Malterud et al (2015).  Edwards (2013) underlines the importance of conducting background interviews with potential respondents to ensure that they can provide the researcher with data that can help with the research objectives and questions.

Telephone interviews

Telephone interviews, as an alternative to face-to-face interviews, have gained quite traction in qualitative research context (Qu & Dumay, 2011).Due to the limited availability of the samples to conduct a face-to-face interview, the researcher has relented in and decided to interview the majority of samples over the phone. The overwhelming majority of the respondents-  7 out of 10 to be exact- provided the researcher that they preferred telephone interview over face to face. Telephone interview, although less time-consuming, can omit to provide the key benefits of a face-to-face interviews (Madwiza 2016). Nonetheless, Carr and Worthhttps (2001) note the popularity of telephone interviews, and concluded that telephone interviews can get generate data of comparable quality to that of face-to-face interviews.

Face to face interviews

The minority of the interviews with the respondents were held face-to-face.  Madwiza (2016) stresses the importance of conducting qualitative interviews face-to-face, since doing so allows the researchers to capture and read the respondents’ body language and eye contact, and employ the extra data to either corroborate or refute the findings.  The researcher has availed himself of the interview protocol to pose the questions, and learned the body language of the interviewees to identify key gestures which could be essential data-generating. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using the open-ended questions from the interview protocol.

Qualitative data is predominantly generated by interviews, field observations, and document examinations (Gubrium & Holstein, 2003). When interviews were being posed questions, the researched took notes, and incorporated them into NVIVO as external materials.

Transcribing data

Following the interviews, the researcher has chosen to transcribe the interviews. Alshenqeeti (2014) suggests the use of transcribing to ensure that more data can be retained, and that the transcribed data can be easily accessible for double-check or member check.  Nonetheless, transcribing can be cost-prohibitive and time consuming, with one hour interview requiring around seven hours of transcribing (Dörnyei (2007).

Nevertheless, the interviewees have decided to transcribe around two interviews. While transcribing, the researcher has paid rapt attention and considering to the guidelines of Simon and Goes(2013). The interviews conducted were all audio- recorded to preserve them as audio data. Huberman, & Saldana (2014) consider it key to maintain records containing audio records. The audios recorded were then imported into NVIVO, and transcribed.

Limitations

Small sample size can undermine and compromise the reliability and the validity of any qualitative research, as stated by Faber and Fonseca (2014). As seen above, the researcher employed the non-probability sampling method-purposive sampling. Nonetheless, rapt attention has been to measures suggested by a couple of authors to ensure that the validity and the reliability of the research was not compromised.

The so-called concept of ‘informant reliability’ refers to whether or not those providing responses (i.e. interviewees) are being truthful in their responses, and a high informant reliability is key to the reliability and validity of the research (Tongco 2010).  The researcher has taken key measures to ensure high ‘informant reliability’.  The researcher has taken extensive training before administering the interview as knowledgeable interviews have been linked to higher informant reliability Zelditch (1962). Nonetheless, there is no guarantee that the all the response provided by the responses are true, and accurate. Therefore, the researcher considers it one of the limitations of the study.

Bias is prevalent in qualitative research, unfortunately. Bias can actually be pernicious to the reliability and validity of the results and findings of any qualitative research (Rolfe 2006). Even though the researcher has deployed the so-called ‘respondent validation’ method to mitigate and minimize the researcher bias in qualitative data. Nonetheless, respondent validation cannot guarantee that the findings might not be biased (Long and Rigour 2000).  Therefore, bias can present a clear and present limitation to the study in terms of undermining its reliability and validity.

NVIVO coding and analysis deployed by the researcher can also present a number of limitation. Ishkak and Bakar (2012) state that the researcher has to take reasonableness, and rely on his or her own wisdom in analyzing patterns, rather than being heavily reliant on software’s, such as NVIVO. Even though the researcher does not consider himself too reliant on NVIVO, the data coding and analysis through NVIVO might have some elements which might or might not compromise and undermine the reliability and the validity of the findings. Triangulation was not employed to ensure that there was no researcher bias.  Creswell (2014) suggests the use of triangulation, a process whereby the researcher compliments one or more qualitative data generating method with two other ones to ensure that bias is eliminated from the findings. Choy (2014) contends that analyzing data generated from individual interviews can be onerous and taxing. Therefore, the researcher has decided to employ the NVIVO software to help with coding and analysis of the data generated from the interviews. Overall, there were limitations in the business researches. These limitations have to do with small sample size, information reliability, bias, and NVIVO coding and analyzing.

Results

This part will present the findings of the thematic analysis undertaken with and without NVIVO for the data generated from the interviews with 10 samples (i.e. respondents). There are two currently used methods to present the findings of a qualitative research (Burnard et al 2008).  The first method of presenting the results of a qualitative research involves presenting key takeaways from the findings, while deploying verbatim quotes to ensure that the validity and reliability of the results are accentuated and enhanced (Burnard 2004).  Presentation of key findings is followed by the discussion chapter, where the researcher discussed the results in relation to the existing pertinent literature review considered for the purposes of the business research (Seale 2000).  The second method of presenting the results of a qualitative research involves the complementing the presentation of the findings with a discussion concurrently, and is called the ‘combined method’ of presenting results.

To present the results of this qualitative research, the researcher has chosen the traditional method of reporting the results.

The ten interviews conducted, and the thorough thematic analysis of the data generated from interviews suggest that the attitudes towards e-commerce adoption has changed over time among high-end furniture producers, largely because of the increase in sales of high-end furniture being generated online, and while the furniture sales at brick and mortar stores have been declining.

F2 reflected on how a high-end furniture company he was involved in was averse to establishing an e-commerce some years ago, and how this aversion morphed into an indispensable portfolio in the businesses he provided information about.

‘Internet and the e-commerce opportunities it afforded were largely overlook at XXX, since most of the folks involved in high-end furniture retailing considered e-commerce as a fad, and a a pipe dream. This whole conversation occurred in the fall of 2006, if I am not mistaken’

Verbatim quote from the response of F2

T5 also posited similar views as to how there is an insurgent need to adopt e-commerce as a viable portfolio of high-end furniture manufacturers and retailers, corroborating the views proposed by F2.

Following the dot-com boom, most of us in the biz were averse to adopting e-commerce. E-commerce did not mean that more sales for high-end furniture could be generated online. But, for us, it was just a perfect storm of low value and complicated logistics.

Regarding the increase in strategies which stress e-commerce adoption for furniture producers, the research gives credence to how the increase in e-commerce sales of high-end furniture has caused a shift in attitudes towards e-commerce, and how high-end furniture producers have become more attuned to venturing into e -commerce.

Logistics

The results of this study suggest that logistics is one of the key barriers to entries to e-commerce among luxury furniture producers. The thematic analysis of the data generated with interviews suggest that logistics was the predominant issues raised by the interviews.  7 out of 10 interviewees mentioned logistics as one of the key barrier to entry to e-commerce.  The Word Frequency Search on NVIVO provided that logistics was the most used word by interviewees.

Figure 1.1

‘Logistics is the most important and complicated issues we have faced while trying to launch our e-commerce website of our XXX. We were literally overwhelmed by issues regarding how we delivered furniture, and how we ensured that these literatures were not damaged one bit. Moreover, the key to delivering our furniture is to instill a sense of exclusivity in the delivery process as well. We have tried to contract with a number of contractors to deliver our furniture’. 

This is a verbatim quote from F4’s response

T5 also commented on how there were delays in their deliveries to customers in USA. T5 noted that late deliveries were prevalent with international orders, and cited that in the case of luxury, there is no such thing as being late.

‘Customer want instant gratification. This factor triples with high-end products. No customer wants to fork over $2000 on a piece of chair and get an email notifying them of a late delivery.  So, for us, delivering and dealing with various companies in the delivery chain was the most complicated issue’

T6 provided for similar responses regarding the centrality of the role logistics plays in ensuring swift deliveries, and how the company he was consulting on e-commerce adoption nearly decided to mothball the e-commerce adoption strategy. The results suggest that logistics were the most important barrier to entry into e-commerce among high-end producers of furniture and those who are involved in directly selling luxury furniture.

Customs and taxation

The majority of the interviewees opined customs and taxation as one of the most troublesome and taxing aspects of operating an e-commerce website selling high-end furniture to various countries. The interviewees were willing enough to share their experiences dealing with customs and taxations which are up for the course in cross-border payments and sales. Six out of ten interviewees retold stories pertaining to how their e-commerce was compromised by customs and double taxation. T3 stated that once they had to refund a $10000 sofa just because the customs officials in Russia demanded that they paid excise duty and import tax notwithstanding how the furniture was bought for personal use.

The whole experience of dealing with countries which impose unnecessary tax and import tax has been and is always onerous, to say the very least. Once a customer from Russia demanded us to refund the payment paid for a sofa because of a month delay in the delivery. Turns out, the Russian custom official has put our delivery on hold, and refused to cooperate with UPS. I am sure that dealing with these kinds of logistics and customs can be a heartbreaking experience for all involved’

T6 was more emphatic about how his client, XXX, decided not go venture and expand e-commerce on grounds that the client did not consider his company as having the requisite resources to deal with various taxation laws and customs to ensure seamless delivery and logistics. On the other hand, F3 is an individual who is directly involved in advising his company in venturing into e-commerce.  F3 cites his company’s tentative plan to venture into e-commerce and sell directly to the customers. Nonetheless, the CEO was completed to shelve the plan, largely because of the complications involved with customs, and taxation issues.

‘We so wanted to go online, and reach customers from all around the globe. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about the opportunity to be able to reach 6 billion people on their computers and now smartphones. The CEO couldn’t not be more excited  about the plan to go and sell online. When considering the disadvantages, he pointed out taxation and customs as the two issues worrying him the most. The project to go online did not come to fruition since the CEO did not want any problems with taxation and customs’.

Verbatim quote from Respondent F3

Thematic analysis of the data generated with interviews indicates that high-end furniture producers are usually averse to the idea of selling home decor online since they considered customs and taxation as one of the issues hindering their e-expansion. Overall, customs and taxation has been identified as the second most major barrier to entry for e-commerce among the retailers of high- end furniture.

Internet Security

Internet security was the third most talked about barrier to entry into e-commerce adoption among the samples interviews.  The Word Frequency Report by NVIVO corroborated the thematic analysis, by providing that nodes including security, and hacking were the third most used word by the interviewees. Roughly the half of the sample identified security related issues as the most important issue which can either make or break the e-commerce adoption of a high-end furniture producers.  The reasons for not venturing online has to start with the conversation about security issues, and being hacked seems too much of a risk to take for companies trying to start selling online.

Figure 2.2

One of the chaps, who sells books online, got his account hacked, and that meant we were not going online to sell our valuable furniture. Unless we will have enough cash flow to implement systems in place to ensure that no part of our online business can be hacked, we will not be venturing into online or start selling online. I am sure others involved in e-commerce with products like ours are much more risk-averse, and thus, stay away from online for all the hacking.  So, for a medium-sized company like ours, going online is just not the viable option, at least for now.

Verbatim quote from Respondent T3

F3, an advisor to business intending to explore the digital marketplace, provided similar opinions as to how security related issues remain front and center in discussions about e-commerce expansion. F3 cites the case of his former clients who were ‘too chicken’ or didn’t have the nerve to go online, largely because of security related issues

Overall, internet security was identified as a major barrier to entry for most companies specializing in high-end furniture productions.

Internet as a mass distribution channel

The results suggest that producers of high-end furniture tend to avoid e-commerce largely because they perceive internet as not appropriate for their luxury products.  The respondents (i.e. interviewees) have tried to explain the reasons why their company or the companies they were either involved in or advising did not execute their e-commerce plans. Four out of ten interviewees cites as not wanting to venture into online because being on the internet implies that the product is not luxury or exclusive anymore. The respondents were asked to engage in respondent validation to ensure that what they wanted to say was clearly reflected in the transcripts of the interview regarding their opinions given as to the impact of Internet as a mass distribution channel.

Internet and luxury are incompatible things. For luxury, it is key to stay under the radar, and project exclusivity. By going online, those who produce luxury furniture and home decor, dilute their exclusivity. Therefore, most tend to stick to brick and mortar stores, resisting the shifts in technology and consumer behavior.

Verbatim quote from Respondent F3’s response to a question regarding  internet’s role in facilitating e-commerce for luxury products, including furniture. Overall,  the results indicate the resistance to e-commerce adoption among retailers and producers of high-end furniture can be attributed to how the internet is seen as not an appropriate medium to sell luxury products. The fact that Internet is still perceived as present danger was identified as the fourth most important issue in this qualitative data.

Costs of implementation and maintaining an e-commerce website

Costs of implementation, costs involved in setting up an e-commerce website and maintaining, have been identified as the fifth most important barrier to entry for businesses looking to expand online.  The thematic analysis and the Word Frequency Report suggest that costs associated with implementation and sustaining e-commerce websites were the fifth most used word by the interviewees, suggesting the importance of these costs in hindering business from venturing into online. Three out of ten respondents cited the costs as one the key barriers to entry to e-commerce, with one respondent diverting and suggesting the costs were miniscule.

The Respondent F1 cites the example of Maisons du Mode, a luxury furniture retailer based in France, to illustrate how largely high-end furniture companies with sufficient amounts of investment into e-commerce are the only high-end furniture retailers, with a positive cash flow from sales generated online.

Masons du Mode cites how its online sales increased by 32% in the financial year of 2015, giving credence to the response of F1. F1 further suggested that tools such as Shopify omits to provide for more logistics issues and cannot level the playing field for high-end furniture producers since developing a custom e-commerce website and complementing it with the practical logistics can prove to be more than cumbersome for furniture companies with limited resources.  F1 was pleased with the recent Made.com, as start-up which provides for a marketplace for furniture designers. Nonetheless, F1 did not consider it an alternative to venturing into e-commerce. Nonetheless, the results suggest that implementation costs are considered and can inhibit luxury furniture producers from going online.

Payment

The thematic and NVIVO analysis suggest that payment can play a key role as a disincentive for businesses from going online and selling online in an e-commerce website. Three out ten respondents suggest that being able to accept all kinds of payment methods does not come easy. Nonetheless, all three posited views as to how not being able to accept most payment methods can act a formidable barrier to entry for e-commerce for producers and retailers of high-end furniture.
Respondent T1 has pointed that there were huge numbers of payment methods available to the customers online, and cited how the ability to accept all kinds of payment methods is key to success in the e-commerce world. 

There are tons of payments methods a single e-commerce website to handle, and this can prove to be onerous, if not impossible for small businesses producing high-end furniture.

  1. Verbatim quote from Respondent T1

The relative importance of payment as a barrier to entry compared to three most important barriers to entry is presented in Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3

Overall, the results demonstrate that payments and the ability of being able to accept different payment methods is key in ensuring success. On the other hand, as results testify, it can also act as a formidable barrier to entry, deterring business involved in the production and retail of high-end furniture from venturing into e-commerce.

Internet availability

The results demonstrate internet availability as a barrier to entry could not be considered a barrier to entry. None of the respondents mentioned internet availability as a key barrier to entry. Even though the interview protocol did not contain direct questions as to internet availability, the Respondent T1 mentioned that internet availability would be the least important factor to consider while devising an e-commerce strategy.

The Word Frequency Report has been presented in a graph in Figure 4.4 to illustrate the results regarding Internet Availability as a barrier to entry.

Figure 4.4

Most people cite internet penetration as a factor which discourages businesses from going online. Nonetheless, I would not consider it as something important since most consumer of luxury furniture tend to have reliable broadband connection,’

Verbatim quote from Respondent T1

To conclude, the results suggest that logistics, customs and taxation, and internet  security  and internet as mass media are most important barriers to entry to e-commerce for businesses in the luxury furniture and home decor area.

Figure 5.5

The relative importance of all barriers to entries considered in the Results section.

Figure 6.6

Discussion

Firstly, the increase in e-commerce adoption, though sustained, has come to be seen as the next frontier high-end furniture and the results of this qualitative research regarding the increase corroborate those of McKinsey (2015). The results indicate that logistics is the most important issue hindering more and more producers and retailers of high-end furniture from venturing into e-commerce. The results suggesting how logistics is the most formidable barrier substantiate the findings of Kayikci (2018) and found Franco (2016). Kayikci (2018) and Regis (2016) considered how logistics can be an effective barrier to entry for e-commerce among small business companies. The results suggest that there is a positive correlation between logistics and rate of e-commerce adoption among producers of luxury furniture.

Secondly, the results indicate that customs and taxation can be one of the key barriers to entries for e-commerce businesses in the high-end furniture niche.   The result that customs and taxation is an issue which impedes the e-commerce adoption among producers and retailers of high-end furniture is in harmony with Jones and Basu (2002), G. Reddick and D. Coggburn (2007) and Cobb (2000). Jones and Basu (2002), G. Reddick and D. Coggburn(2007) and Cobb (2000) studies the impact of a fragmented tax code can have on e-commerce and concluded that taxation and customs can be prejudicial to e-commerce adoption among business, big and small.  Even though most literature review concentrated on the impact of logistics on e-commerce adoption among high-end furniture producers and retailers, taxation and customs cannot be overlooked since they are also a key barrier to entry, and since they act as disincentive to e-commerce adoption. The relative importance of taxation and customs as a major barrier to entry was second to that of logistics.

Thirdly, the results suggest that Internet security is not forthcoming to all the businesses specializing in the production and retail of high-end furniture.   The results validate the findings of Sultana et al. (2011) and Chitura et al. (2008).  Concurrently, the results confirm the findings of Tan, et al., (2007), who posited that internet fraud and other security related issues were the most important factor impeding commerce adoption among SMEs.

Fourthly, the results demonstrate that high-end furniture manufactures resists going online and into e-commerce since they consider e-commerce as a threat which undermines the exclusivity and desirability of the high-end products, including luxury home decor. The results support the views proposed by Curtis (2002) and Parisi(2017).  Curtis (2002) and Parisi (2017) both concentrated on how the mass appeal of the Internet compromised the exclusivity and desirability of certain brands. The results of this results also suggest that using medium as a sale channel is not appealing to those who produce luxury and high-end furniture.

Fifthly, the maintenance and implementation costs have been identified as another issue acting as a barrier to entry into e-commerce within producers of high-end furniture. The results are in compliance with those of Kapurubandara and Lawson (2006) and Ramdani, Chevers, and Williams (2013). Kapurubandara and Lawson (2006) and Ramdani, Chevers, and Williams (2013) posited businesses tend to be averse to e-commerce adoption because of the costs associated with setting up a dedicated e-commerce website.

Sixthly, the results corroborate that accepting various payment methods can also act as a barrier to entry, with some respondents suggesting how difficult it can be to process various payment methods. The results seem to give credence to those of Huang (2007) and  Byrne and Hanson (2014) who underlined the importance of the ability of e-commerce stores to process various payment methods, and how it can prove to be a barrier to entry.

Seventhly, unlike the results of Ainin and Noorismawati (2003) and Kaynak et al. (2005) which stress how internet validity can hinder companies from setting up online stores, including furniture stores, the results of this qualitative business research suggest that internet availability is something that is not so major, nor important. Therefore, the results of this study do not support such findings which stress how internet availability can be issue impeding e-commerce adoption among producers and retailers of high-end furniture.

Recommendations

The results suggest that there a number of key barriers to entry in e-commerce for producers and retailers of a high-end furniture.The data generation method was interviewing. Interviews has a number of limitations, which might compromise the viability and reliability of the qualitative business research. Nonetheless, there can be a number of key recommendations derived from the results of this research. Business in the luxury home decor and furniture business can take a number of measures to make sure that the barriers to entries can be reduced

  • ensuring that logistics is streamlines
  • ensuring that there is knowledgable staff about customs and taxation
  • injecting enough investment into internal systems to ensure internet security
  • adopting a strategy to exude exclusivity online
  • ensure that the e-commerce will have the ability to accept various payment methods

Conclusions

To conclude, undertaking an MBA research has been an exhilarating experience. There has been unprecedented increase in the number of businesses starting to penetrate the online retailing landscape, and reach more customers.  The results suggest that there a number of key barriers to entries in e-commerce for luxury furniture producers and retailers. The analyzed data gives credence the relative importance of each of these barriers, and the recommendation part has provided for a number of recommendations for business looking to venture into e-commerce. Nonetheless, data generating through interview has opened the potential for bias in the research, and due to the time limits, the researcher has decided not to use triangulation to ensure that the viability and reliability of the results were guaranteed. Had the researcher ever known about triangulation, he would have taken measures to ensure better time management and incorporate the use of triangulation.

Suggested areas for future work

Hopefully, this research has encouraged interest in the minds of many, as barriers to entries for high-end furniture retailers and producers remain to be further studied. For future research, those who are interested in the area, can undertake to study the interrelationship between the barriers and the performance of e-commerce stores. Moreover, researcher can niche further down and study one specific barrier and its relationship with the business itself. It is hoped that this particular research will be catalyst for many to come.

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Instruments

This interview is non-structured, meaning that the questions were asked in a random order and that the respondents were given more latitude when elaborating on their answers.

  1. Why do you think the e-commerce adoption rate among high-end furniture producers is low compared to retailers of other products?
  2. Why you think high-end producers and retailers of furniture have been loth to embrace e-commerce?
  3. What is your opinion as to the biggest hurdle facing high-end producers of furniture?
  4. Some suggest that internet security is an entry to barrier, citing the costs entailed by ensuring internet security. What is your take on that?
  5. What part of the e-commerce adoption stage is the most onerous and taxing?
  6. What factor would you consider as biggest entry to barrier for e-commerce adoption in your field?
  7. What problems are mostly associated with developing an e-commerce platform to sell products such as high-end furniture?
  8. Most people perceive internet as less than luxurious, so they stay away from it. How much of an entry to barrier is it for you?
  9. Most of the people involved in high-end furniture tend to be dismissive of internet as a platform to sell luxury things. What is your take on that?
  10. Customs and taxes?
  11. What are the implications of so many customs and tax regulations of other countries on running a successful e-commerce for furniture producers?
  12. Hacking, and stolen data? Would say these two are hindering owners from adopting e-commerce for their high-end furniture business? If so, how?
  13. What factors would you consider as less than important- internet penetration or implementation costs?
  14. Can you please elaborate on your experience?
  15. Can you please talk about the challenged in expanding into e-commerce fo your business or the business you advised?>
  16. Can you list the barriers to entry you know in the order of importance?

How The Order Process Works

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