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Article
e-CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland
Marketing Intelligence and Planning (2008)
  • Elaine Ramsey, University of Ulster
  • Paul Harrigan, University of Ulster
  • Patrick Ibbotson, University of Ulster
Abstract

Purpose -

Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small and medium sized enterprise (SME). This paper seeks to develop what is a striking link by investigating the role of Internet technologies in the customer relationship management of SMEs based in Northern Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach -

This study took an exploratory outlook and a quantitative approach to data collection was adopted. A self-completion questionnaire was distributed by post to a sample of 300 SMEs in Northern Ireland. A response rate of 18.6 per cent was obtained.

Findings -

The findings of this study illustrate that SMEs are implementing fundamental e-CRM practices and reaping the benefits from internationalisation. Challenges are few, but centre on a preference for face-to-face relationships and a lack of Government support.

Research limitations/implications -

It is hoped that this exploratory research has laid the foundation for further examination of e-CRM in the SME context. Future studies should be able to replicate the process in other countries and on a larger scale. The potential also exists for in-depth qualitative research.

Practical implications -

The authors conclude that e-CRM may have to move on to a more strategic and integrated level if SMEs in Northern Ireland are to compete, both locally and globally.

Originality/value - This exploratory research has shed some light on the marginalised subject of e-CRM in SMEs. For SMEs operating in a peripheral economy such as Northern Ireland the benefits to be gained from electronic customer relationship management are lucrative

Disciplines
Publication Date
2008
Citation Information
Elaine Ramsey, Paul Harrigan and Patrick Ibbotson. "e-CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland" Marketing Intelligence and Planning Vol. 26 Iss. 4 (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/patrick_ibbotson/2/