Consumer Brand Relationships in Virtual Markets

in Special Issue   Posted on November 3, 2017 

Information for the Special Issue

Special Issue Call for Papers:

Purpose. This virtual Special Issue (VSI) is intended to give authors the opportunity to explore contemporary consumer brand issues and relationships in contemporary e-commerce, m-commerce and s-commerce markets around the world. More specifically, we encourage authors to submit papers that adopt a critical viewpoint to analyze what the literature tells us and how to going beyond it related to current state-of-art activities regarding online brand relationships at the individual consumer and group levels. We hope that authors will do share new research that helps to identify the importance of key drivers of brand relationships and their impact on e-commerce, beyond what is already generally known in the Marketing discipline. We also encourage authors to submit new research that deals with the roles of information exchanges related to online brand communities and their impacts on the different forms of virtual commerce. We welcome research submissions that deal with the influence of consumer-brand relationships, especially ‘brand love’ and ‘brand hate’ in e-commerce, and to provide new insights on negative online brand relationships beyond what is in the current literature.

Topics. This VSI seeks to attract papers that examine the role of consumer brand relationships at the individual and group levels in e-commerce, across many topics at these levels of analysis. We especially hope to showcase new research contributions that are at the state-of-the-art in all facets of online brand relationships and e-commerce. More generally, we seek high-quality, unpublished contributions on the following topics:

  • Online brand engagement and community engagement for observed purchases
  • Online brand community behavior in mobile, social and electronic commerce
  • Brand relationships, brand affinity, sentiment, and love / hate responses
  • Effectiveness of marketing strategies to manage consumers with strong positive or negative feelings towards brands expressed online, in Twitter, social media and blogposts
  • Unique activities in e-commerce that differentiate approaches to brand development
  • Brands and brand relationships, and how firms going about developing them online
  • Other related and miscellaneous activities, including softer issues of human behavior, organizational marketing and branding policy, and market reactions to unique efforts on the part of firms and business sectors in e-commerce
  • There are no intended limitations to e-commerce websites, but instead authors are welcome to submit studies that involve electronic markets, electronic networks, and two-sided and multi-sided platforms.

Similar to the normal channel of Regular Research submissions, ECRA has greater interest in empirical observations related to observed purchases and visible consumer behavior, as opposed to their intentions. We further prefer innovative research methods dealing with natural and real-world experiments, big data, machine-based sentiment analytics, and other novel approaches. ECRA currently has ‘the bar’ for acceptance of research papers that study ‘purchase intentions’ very high, with requirements for both new theoretical perspectives and methods that go beyond the usual SEM, PLS and behavioral survey research methods.

We also encourage original work based on interdisciplinary research – at the boundary between Electronic Commerce, Marketing Management and the Social Science disciplines of Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, where evidence is available demonstrating the advantages of this approach. The research contexts can be panel data of real-world business activities, novel experiments and simulations, behavioral studies of human behavior, and qualitative studies that seek to build new theory in scientifically-acceptable ways. We especially encourage researchers to explore softer issues, such as value co-creation and brand reputation-building, that are linked to e-commerce, m-commerce and s-commerce in different ways, so long as the issues and finding are important, and not incremental compared to what is already known.

Submission Window. The open submission window for full VSI papers is from January 15, 2018 to January 15, 2019. Papers submitted to ECRA as Regular Research papers prior to or during the open window that are connected in some way to the themes of the VSI will also be considered for it, and reviewed by the VSI Guest Editor Team. Authors are welcome to submit abstracts to the VSI Guest Editors, as a means to gauge interest and get suggestions on the development of their paper, but this is not a requirement. It just increases the author’s likelihood of suggest by requesting coaching help on their content.

Submission Guidelines. Only original and unpublished research papers will be considered. Previously published, indexed and copyrighted conference papers cannot be considered due to the IP concerns of ECRA’s publisher, Elsevier, unless they are significantly extended in content. Authors should limit their initial submissions to around 28 to 32 double-spaced pages, with single-column format, in 12-point font with appropriate margins. References and appendices can freely add to the length, but figures and tables should be included in the submission in locations that are close to where they are discussed, not after the references. Author names and affiliations must be listed on the first page of the paper, including email addresses and last revision date. All papers should be submitted via ECRA’s submission system at (Note: ECRA is scheduled to cut over to a new review system in 2018.)

Authors should select the “Consumer Brand Special Issue” tab when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process at the Elsevier Editorial System submission menu. Authors may request a fully- formatted sample from the VSI Editorial Assistant. Authors should follow Elsevier’s Electronic Commerce Research and Applications manuscript format, which can be found on the journal’s homepage at

Reviewing Process. VSI submissions are not batched for reviewing, but instead are handled under review week-by-week as they are received – a continuous and faster publication review process. The VSI Guest Editors will try to return first reviews no later than 90 days from the date of an author’s first submission. ECRA uses a developmental reviewing approach for VSI papers, with the aim of helping authors to achieve very high quality final publications. Second and third round reviews, as needed, will be completed on an expedited basis, if authors are able to turn their revisions around quickly. VSI Authors will be given an indication as early as possible of rejection, including on the basis of a first reading by the VSI Guest Editors, the Special Issue Senior Editor, or the Editor in Chief of ECRA. Inappropriately targeted or under-developed papers will be returned quickly with brief feedback but no full reviews.

Publication. The publication of articles occurs as soon as possible after their completion in a Regular Research Issue of ECRA using a method Elsevier calls ‘Article-Based Publication’ (ABP). The collation of such papers occurs later into the ‘Virtual Special Issue’ (VSI) using hyperlinks, when the Guest Editors have provided a topical ‘thought leadership article,’ and other articles handled by the Guest Editors have cleared the proof approval stage after acceptance occurs. This ensures the rapid publication of individual articles, and later the logical association of related articles into the VSI. Our experience suggests that publication occurs between 6 to 12 months after a paper’s initial submission, if it is accepted, and very quickly – like 2 to 3 weeks – once it completes the proof process. Our hope is that first publication of papers will occur around September-October 2018, with others to follow in 2019.

Special Issue Editorial Team. This special issue will be edited by two Editorial Board Members who act as Guest Editors, with the help of the Senior Editor for Special Issues, and the Editorial Assistant for Special Issues:

  • Carla Ruiz-Mafe (Guest Editor, ECRA Editorial Board Member, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Faculty of Economics, University of Valencia, SPAIN, (for submission suitability)
  • Cleopatra Veloutsou (Guest Editor, ECRA Editorial Board Member, Professor of Brand Management, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, SCOTLAND, (for submission suitability)
  • Maurizio Naldi (ECRA Senior Editor for Special Issues, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Rome Tor Vergata, ITALY, (for review process questions)
  • Emmy Hoang (ECRA Editorial Assistant for Special Issues, School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University, SINGAPORE, (for review process questions)

Interested authors should feel free to direct any questions on submission suitability to the appropriate VSI Guest Editors, who will serve as the main contacts.

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