Digital Business Models


Special issue of International Journal of Research in Marketing; Deadline 1 Mar 2018

IJRM Call for Papers
Special Section
Digital Business Models

Special Issue Editors:

Prof. dr. Tammo H.A. Bijmolt, Department of Marketing, University of Groningen
Prof. dr. Peter C. Verhoef, Department of Marketing, University of Groningen

Designated Senior Editor:

Prof. dr. Kees-Jan Roodbergen, Department of Operations Research, University of Groningen

In todays’ market and society, we observe an increasing digitalization. In many markets, the online channel has become very dominant and is disrupting industries. For example, traditional travel agencies with brick-and-mortar stores face major survival problems. On the other hand, online retailers around the globe present impressive growth figures. The digital disruption as such has become an important strategic board issue.

The digitalization affects entire business models and thus the underlying functions in the value chain. For example, the marketing function has changed dramatically with a stronger focus on online and mobile marketing and less of a focus on traditional advertising. Beyond that, new social media have arisen, creating a stronger interest in social networks. Assortment and pricing decisions have become more flexible in online environments. Logistics have become of ultimate importance to compete, as customers demand to be served with fast home-deliveries. These logistics streams have also become more complicated as products have to be readily available and customers return many products. This also implies that the marketing and logistic functions need to cooperate more in order to deliver superior customer value, whilst at the same time limit costs. The digital disruption not only involves new online opportunities, but it is also expected to evolve with new technologies, such as the Internet of Things and data-driven smart products and services.

Yet, another development due to this digitalization is the increasing amount of data available within business. Data has become very massive and has moved from weekly, to daily, to hourly data on a large number of transactions of millions of customers. These data can be used for targeting customers, pricing decisions, assortment optimization, prediction of demand, optimization of logistic streams, et cetera.

The increasing digitalization is here to stay and will thus have enduring effects on how business will operate in a long-term sustainable manner. Importantly, this digitalization also requires a strong interdisciplinary focus. Within firms we observe a stronger use of multi-disciplinary approaches (i.e., operations, logistics, and marketing) to deliver more customer value and to work more efficiently. Also from a research side a stronger multidisciplinary focus is required.

To achieve this multidisciplinary focus, IJRM launches the initiative for a special issue on digital business models, specifically aiming for studies on digital business from multiple disciplines (i.e., operations, marketing, strategy, statistics) focusing on one major guiding question:

How can firms gain a sustainable competitive advantage in an increasing digital world?

Relevant research topics may be, but are not limited to:

Strategic questions

  1. How do specific business functions contribute to firm performance in a digital world?
  2. Which digital strategies are effective in creating a sustainable competitive advantage?
  3. What is the role of new business models, such as digital platforms?
  4. How can functions cooperate to deliver superior customer value in a digital world?
  5. What is the role of marketing in increasing digital markets and where should it focus on?
  6. Which strategies should traditional retailers and brands employ to successfully compete with digital players?
  7. How will new digital technologies (i.e., IoT) affect customers and firms?
  8. How should digital firms manage their networks (i.e., in digital platforms) with other firms?

Operational Questions

  1. How should product returns be reduced and predicted?
  2. What are optimal delivery times from a customer perspective?
  3. How should assortment and category management be employed in a digital environment?
  4. Which pricing techniques should be used in digital business?
  5. What is the impact of customer touch points on customer experience and sales and loyalty?
  6. What is the role of human service in a digital environment?
  7. Which customization and personalization techniques can be used effectively?
  8. What are the drivers of consumers’ adoption and use of smart products?
  9. How can new analytical techniques, such as machine learning, help in making operational decisions?


Submissions should be done using the official submission site of IJRM


Please clearly mention that it concerns the special issue of digital business models by choosing the appropriate article type. Submission for this special issue can be done starting December 1st 2017. The final submission deadline is March 1st 2018.