Purpose of the study: To classify selected retailers according to the type of business and the e-business model stage used to adopt e-business strategies in order to create a competitive advantage. Research design and methodology: The study will be qualitative in nature as the homepage of each selected retailer’s internet site will be analysed in terms of content. The procedure used in content analysing the printed screen dumps involves making notes of the links and interesting information in the margin. The margin notes will be studied and grouped themes. As many themes as required will be included, as the number of themes can be reduced if necessary. A final list of themes will be compiled when no new themes have emerged, and all the notes and information have been accommodated in the themes. The different themes will be colour coded using a coloured highlighter pen for each theme in the transcripts. A final check of all text and links on the screen dumps and on the homepage will be done to ensure that the information not highlighted is not relevant. The finalised themes will be given to another researcher to confirm the themes. Trustworthiness of the research will be enhanced by triangulation. Inter-rater reliability will be performed in that another researcher will verify the categories and ensure that the data was indeed correct. Research findings: The findings showed that one retailer is classified as a brick-and-mortar, two as brick-and-click and one as an online business. The e-business strategies adopted by the four retailers ranged from limited online presence to e-commerce. Research limitations: Only four public companies operating in two industries have been investigated. Results may also differ if this study is replicated in a developed country. The adoption of a high level e-business strategy is limited in South Africa. Practical implications: Management of retailers should consider the various e-business strategies as it may assist in creating wealth for the shareholders. Retailers may also outsource some of the e-business strategy activities therefore reducing the cost of implementing such strategies. Contribution of paper: No paper could be found within the South African context that investigates the impact of e-business strategies on business performance. Additionally, no study could be found highlighting the importance of considering the extent of Internet usage for trading purposes to increase their visibility in the market place.
Keywords: E-commerce, E-business, E-business model