Persistent Barriers to E-commerce in Developing Countries: A Longitudinal Study of Efforts by Caribbean Companies
William Wresch and
Simon Fraser Additional contact information William Wresch: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, USA
Simon Fraser: The University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tabago
Studies summarized by the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development show that companies in developing countries face problems executing e-commerce strategies. To determine which barriers might be transitional and which might be persistent, a longitudinal study was conducted of companies in five Caribbean countries. Interviews were conducted with 23 companies in 2004. Interviews were repeated in 2008 with those companies that were still in operation. Some improvements were found in general telecommunications support, but persistent barriers were found in logistics services, and new problems were identified in increased competition and increased shipping costs. As a result of these changes, the general focus of managers shifted from establishing web sites and making them visible to more general managerial tasks connected to finding a place in an increasingly competitive environment. The results of this study suggest improved strategies for companies in developing countries seeking to use e-commerce to expand their markets.