E-commerce in the Food and Beverage Sector: The Digital Future with Covid-19

Call for papers for: British Food Journal

Submission window closes: 31st March 2021

Guest Editors

Dr Nick Hajli
Associate Professor of Business
Swansea University, UK
[email protected]

Dr Farid Shirazi
Associate Professor of Information Systems 
Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management
Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
[email protected]

Overview of the special issue

Electronic commerce is an important part of today's business, and it is a must-have for firms to compete in the market. This is even more important for the food and beverage sector as people face difficulties in shopping with COVID-19. New advancements in e-commerce technologies such as social commerce, mobile commerce and sharing commerce with the aim of social media and web 2.0 /3.0 technologies are forming the new business plans where consumers and firms are interacting online. Firms without interaction in these social platforms are not able to compete in the market. The food and beverage sector from the factory to retail are engaged in e-commerce technologies. Successful business such as Amazon is the example of how e-commerce can develop customer experiences and create value for the whole system. According to Statista (2020), the food and beverage sector will make up 20% by selling online of the sector's overall sales by 2025, which this is 10x more than they did in 2016. As such, to be able to compete in the current market, firms in this sector need to develop their e-commerce platforms. Indeed, the completion is high, and the challenges such as complexity and trust are there. 

Currently, the Covid-19 pandemic is changing how consumers shop and purchase, encouraging deeper levels and increased reliance on e-commerce systems and supply chains. A likely outcome is that many consumers are reconsidering habitual purchase options and scenarios. E-commerce transaction levels may then be poised for continued growth. This inflection point in the e-commerce revolution requires investigative research into best practices, failures, assessments of needed e-commerce changes, and novel system features that consumers appreciate such as social shopping. The Covid-19 era thus provides a point in time for new e-commerce research, both looking back, assessing today's systems, and peering into the future. 

In this special issue, we are looking for new viewpoints, models and research on the consumer reaction to and reliance on e-commerce systems and supply chains in the Covid-19 era. Previous research (Hajli, 2014b, 2015, 2019; X. Lin, Wang, & Hajli, 2019) has emphasised the role of trust in e-commerce platforms and indicate that trust is an on-going challenge in e-commerce which we need to look at this in food and beverage sector.

Further, due to Covid-19 health restrictions, for many people, the joy of shopping, strolling and social interaction with shopkeepers and store personnel was curtailed, and may again be curtailed. This special issue also seeks research to help examine the attributes and artefacts that help to understand the evolving social aspect of e-commerce. Social commerce systems create new opportunities for e-commerce platforms such as in branding (Tajvidi, Richard, Wang, & Hajli, 2018), trust-building  (Kong, Wang, Hajli, & Featherman, 2019; J. Lin, Yan, & Chen, 2017; Nadeem, Juntunen, Shirazi, & Hajli, 2020), value creation (Nadeem et al., 2020), and developing social support (Hajli, 2014a). Social commerce then holds the promise of giving back to consumers some of the social shopping interaction they have grown to love. This special issue, therefore, explores the impact of social commerce on the food and beverage industry and discuss the opportunities that social media and social platforms provide for this sector. We also need to look at how firms are dealing with the big data produced in social media platforms such as review and ratings in TripAdvisor. Big data, indeed, with big data analytics provide a valuable source to gain a competitive advantage in the market. 

The special issue invites papers, both theoretical and empirical addressing the above and related topics, so the list below. Indicative themes of relevance to this issue, which include (but are not limited to) the following: 

  • Food security and the supply chain management.
  • What are the challenges in B2B food and beverage sales?
  • Trust and complexity issues in e-commerce for the food and beverage sector,
  • Optimisation through automation; what are the obstacles and opportunities for the food and beverage sector,
  • The new perspectives, models and research on the consumer reaction to and reliance on e-commerce systems and supply chains,
  • The new hybrid shopping experiences that smaller retailers may need to design to create new shopping experiences built around consumer safety, convenience, 
  • Consumer perspectives on new shopping experiences, and research into new shopping models and modes,
  • Social media, social commerce, sharing commerce and new trends in the food and beverage sector,
  • The role of big data in e-commerce,
  • Consumer perceptions of e-commerce (at different phases of the consumption lifecycle) using a risk/reward, behavioural economics, or judgement and decision-making focus.
  • Examine the attributes and artefacts that help to understand the evolving social aspect of e-commerce,
  • Using e-commerce and social commerce for branding,
  • How can social commerce support big data analytics? 

Backgrounds of the proposed Guest Editors

Dr Nick Hajli is an Associate Professor in Business at Swansea University, UK. Nick has a PhD in Management from Birkbeck, University of London. His research has appeared in the top 20 journals used in Business Schools Research Rankings journals such as Journal of Business Ethics. He also published in refereed journals such British Journal of Management, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, IEEE TEM, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Computers in Human Behaviours, Information Technology & People and Technological Forecasting and Social Change and other journals. He is the author of the Handbook of Research in Integrating Social Media into Strategic Marketing. 

Dr Farid Shirazi is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Innovation and Technology Management at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. He is an Associate Professor of the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management. Dr Shirazi's research focuses mainly on the impact of ICTs on social and economic development. His main research interests are IT-enabled sustainability and development, Cloud Computing, Big data Analytics, Artificial Intelligences and IoT, E-government strategies, Green IS management as well as the ethical and security perspectives associated with the introduction and use of ICTs. He has published in several journals including Information & Management (I&M), 
International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Information Management (IJIM), Journal of Global Information Management (JGIM), Telematics and Informatics, International Journal of Information Systems in the Service Sector (IJISSS), Journal of E-Business Development, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Journal of Information Communication & Ethics in Society, International Journal of Computer Application, Journal of Law & Development Review, International Journal of Computer Application, Journal of Systems & Software (JSS), Journal of Information Technology & People (IT&P), Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics and Communications of the Association for Information Systems (CAIS) and Technological Forecasting and Social Change.


Hajli, N. (2014a). The role of social support on relationship quality and social commerce. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 87, 17-27. 
Hajli, N. (2014b). A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal of Market Research, 56(3), 387-404. 
Hajli, N. (2015). Social commerce constructs and consumer's intention to buy. International Journal of Information Management, 35(2), 183-191. 
Hajli, N. (2019). The impact of positive valence and negative valence on social commerce purchase intention. Information Technology & People. 
Kong, Y., Wang, Y., Hajli, S., & Featherman, M. (2019). In sharing economy we trust: Examining the effect of social and technical enablers on millennials' trust in sharing commerce. Computers in Human Behavior, 105993. 
Lin, J., Yan, Y., & Chen, S. (2017). Understanding the impact of social commerce website technical features on repurchase intention: A Chinese guanxi perspective. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 18(3), 225. 
Lin, X., Wang, X., & Hajli, N. (2019). Building E-Commerce Satisfaction and Boosting Sales: The Role of Social Commerce Trust and Its Antecedents. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 23(3), 328-363. doi:10.1080/10864415.2019.1619907
Nadeem, W., Juntunen, M., Shirazi, F., & Hajli, N. (2020). Consumers' value co-creation in sharing economy: The role of social support, consumers' ethical perceptions and relationship quality. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 151, 119786. 
Tajvidi, M., Richard, M.-O., Wang, Y., & Hajli, N. (2018). Brand co-creation through social commerce information sharing: The role of social media. Journal of Business Research. 

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