Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

A Conjoint Analysis of Online Consumer Satisfaction1

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

A Conjoint Analysis of Online Consumer Satisfaction1

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The ability to measure the level of customer satisfaction with online shopping is essential in gauging the success and failure of e-commerce. To do so, Internet businesses must be able to determine and understand the values of their existing and potential customers. Hence, it is important for IS researchers to develop and validate a diverse array of metrics to comprehensively capture the attitudes and feelings of online customers. What factors make online shopping appealing to customers? What customer values take priority over others? This study's purpose is to answer these questions, examining the role of several technology, shopping, and product factors on online customer satisfaction. This is done using a conjoint analysis of consumer preferences based on data collected from 188 young consumers. Results indicate that the three most important attributes to consumers for online satisfaction are privacy (technology factor), merchandising (product factor), and convenience (shopping factor). These are followed by trust, delivery, usability, product customization, product quality, and security. Implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.

Keywords: Online customer satisfaction; E-satisfaction; Conjoint analysis; E-commerce; E-commerce metrics

1. Introduction

Internet commerce involves the sale and purchase of products and services over the Internet [Keeney 1999]. It was touted to have massive sales potential, with previous expectations of over $1 trillion by 2002 [Burke 1997; Mehler et al. 1997]. Yet, these expectations have fallen well short of the $1 trillion estimate, with the U. S. Census Bureau reporting that U. S. e-commerce sales in 2002 equaled only $43.5 billion and $70 billion in 2003. However, online spending is on the rise. Retail e-commerce sales in the second quarter of 2004 were approximately $15.7 billion, an increase of 23.1 percent from the second quarter of 2003 (U. S. Census Bureau 2003). E-commerce sales in the second quarter of 2004 accounted for 1.7 percent of total sales, while in the second quarter of 2003 ecommerce sales were 1.5 percent of total sales (U. S. Census Bureau 2003).

Given the continual rise in online spending and its increasing influence on total retail sales in the U. S. further exploration of per person spending patterns is warranted. Clearly, consumers must be satisfied with their ecommerce shopping experience to acquire more goods and services on-line. Given the need to understand what users want in a Web site [Straub & Watson 2001], it is important for IS researchers to develop and validate a diverse array of metrics to comprehensively capture the attitudes and feelings of online customers. What factors make online shopping appealing to customers? What customer values take priority over others? This study's purpose is to answer these questions, examining the role of several technology, shopping, and product factors using a conjoint analysis of consumer preferences to measure online customer satisfaction (e-satisfaction).

Metrics for assessing the customer satisfaction level of online shopping are essential in gauging the ultimate success or failure of e-commerce. Different customers may disagree about their perceptions and satisfaction level for a particular Web site. An experienced online customer may find his or her experience to be very enjoyable and fulfilling. The experienced online shopper is more likely to have an easier time navigating the site, searching for information on particular products, as well as ordering on-line. Shopping via the Internet is salient in this experienced customer's mind because of past experiences with the use of technology. This experienced shopper may be more likely to leave the Website with a feeling of satisfaction, granted the purchases arrive in a timely manner, and receiving the product is hassle free. Another shopper, new to the process of shopping online, may find it difficult and impersonal. …

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