Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

An Exploration of Antecedents for B2C Website Effectiveness

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

An Exploration of Antecedents for B2C Website Effectiveness

Article excerpt

Executive Summary

This paper presents the results of empirical research that studied the antecedents of business to consumer (B2C) website effectiveness. A total of 21 antecedents were identified and tested for their relations to four indicators of website effectiveness: the number of visitors, repeat visits, average time spent on the site, and conversion ratio. These antecedents were then examined to uncover factors crucial to a website's effectiveness. The results indicate that websites that are more secure, more frequently updated, down less, prompt in responding to online inquiries and offer more relevant and more varied information will attract the greater number of new and repeat visitors who both stay longer and are more likely to complete a purchase. Multivariate analyses indicate that entertainment, design awards, third-party certification, type of content, relevance of information, and keyword search are all important determinants of website effectiveness.


The growth of the World Wide Web (the Web) as a global online marketplace has been phenomenal; still, only a small fraction of the power of Internet commerce has been harnessed. Many experts attribute this shortcoming to the inability of firms to understand the medium and their related inability to maximize its potential (Preston, 1999; Stuck, 1996).

The Web differs radically from the environment of traditional mass media by supporting a "many-to-many" mediated communications model (Hoffman and Novak, 1996). Unlike traditional mass media that only supports unidirectional communication from marketer to consumer, the Web gives marketers a cost-effective way of attracting consumers into one-to-one relationships that is further fueled by two-way communication. This bi-directionality of communication allows marketers to offer tailored services to customers and capture an unprecedented degree of detail in customer information (Hoffman, Novak, & Chatterjee, 1995).

The interactive nature of the Web augments a firm's opportunity to develop customer relationships; it is available 24 hours a day, without any location constraint (Cook & Coupey, 1998; Ghosh, 1998; Keegan, 1998; Senn, 1996). Having no time constraint enables an "asynchronous" interaction between the firm and consumers at their convenience. With interactive media, marketers can dynamically deliver personalized services and content, in real time, to one customer at a tune.

Korgaonkar and Wolin (1999) have stated that practitioners and researchers must pay more careful attention to the needs of Web users so as to explore the potential of this new and different channel. Although the field of e-commerce is not new, there is a lack of statistical data and empirical research by academicians and business researchers (Chakraborty, LaIa, & Warren, 2002; Huizingh, 2002; Nagendra, 2000; Bloch, Pigneur, & Segev, 1996). The purpose of the research for this paper was to conduct empirical research on the relevance of antecedents for business-to-consumer (herein referred to as B2C) website effectiveness. This research was followed by analyzing the relative importance of the many possible antecedents to identify the specific antecedents crucial for B2C website effectiveness.

Literature Review

With the introduction of the Web and the emergence of e-commerce, the marketing community has experienced enormous innovation. The driving force of changes in marketing practice in this e-commerce era has been the shift from broadcast marketing to interactive marketing. The old paradigms of mass-marketing strategy must now be reconsidered and modified to fit the new interactive environment.

As information technology continually improves its cost performance, firms are increasingly motivated to coordinate then- activities electronically (Basch, 2000; Wilder, Caldwell, & Dalton, 1997). By using cheap, coordinative transactions, interconnected networks and easily accessible databases, firms can realize significant cost savings (Gantz, 1998; Wigand & Benjamin, 1997). …

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