Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Small business enterprise (SBE) managers often lack resources, expertise, and impact when selling in an online environment. SBEs can overcome increased competition by adopting customer relationship management (CRM) into their business model for survival and longevity. Using the conceptual framework technology, organization, environment (TOE), this multiple case study explored effective marketing strategies that small store retail managers use to successfully sell apparel and accessories in online markets. The study population included leaders from independent small online retail enterprises with brick-and-mortar stores located in the Central, Tri-Cities, or Southside areas in Virginia. The data collection process included semistructured, on-site interviews of 4 SBE owners or managers and reviewing organizational documents and online postings from those 4 organizations. Using topic coding, the data were organized into nodes grounded in the context of TOE. The thematic analysis yielded 5 themes: social media engagement, price congruency, organizational knowledge benefit, customer satisfaction, and customer engagement. The study findings revealed that a significant strategy for SBEs operating in online markets was social CRM, an inexpensive and critical tool for CRM. Further, CRM tools such as social media required consistent monitoring and the devotion of financial and human resources to deliver constant customer engagement. The implication for social change includes the potential to improve the life cycle of SBEs in smaller communities, which improves community entrepreneurial and startup success. Entrepreneurship contributes to community vitality and economic prosperity by providing employment, skill development, and job training.