Scale, congestion, efficiency and effectiveness in e-commerce firms

Zhuofan Yang, Yong Shi, Hong Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines what affects operations efficiency and explains the paradox of high efficiency and low profits using a two-stage analytic framework. It provides a brief overview of efficiency evaluation research for e-commerce, and establishes a set of efficiency evaluation criteria, with the application of data envelopment analysis (DEA). The results suggest that e-commerce firms suffer from input congestion. Also, scale and technology issues, as well as low economic effectiveness, lead to the overall operational inefficiency. Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce was more efficient and effectiveness in 2014, while online-to-offline (O2O) commerce had steadier and faster growth. In general, the performance of e-commerce firms is becoming better over time. The findings of this research can help managers to improve their firms’ efficiency levels by resizing their operational scale, strengthening their technology infrastructure and applications, and improving their discretionary allocation of resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalElectronic Commerce Research and Applications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Congestion
  • Data envelopment analysis (DEA)
  • E-commerce
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Math programming
  • Production economics
  • Returns to scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Marketing
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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