Academic journal article The Journal of Developing Areas

Familiarity with Online Retailing

Academic journal article The Journal of Developing Areas

Familiarity with Online Retailing

Article excerpt


Electronic commerce has grown rapidly in recent past. As compared to the traditional setting, online retailing is still in its beginning. Online markets can improve consumer well-being with greater product, lower prices, variety in selection, and higher efficiency compared to traditional markets (Ghose, Smith, and Telang, 2006), by leveraging the power of the Internet. Amidst many, a major advantage pertains to mitigating the restrictions and constrains of geographical distances between buyer and sellers. However, since internet is a new medium for carrying out a business many problems are associated with it. Zemke & Connellan, (2001) report that for every four purchases made through the Internet, at least one falls out in some kind of dissatisfaction. A probable explanation of the challenges associated with online retailing may be that the internet shopping is a low impact service (Lovelock Wirtz, 2010). The lack of face to face interactions with the retailer as well as the unpredictability of a product's quality raises the problems of product uncertainty. In a traditional market a consumer can evaluate the quality of a product they purchase by touching, seeing and feeling, but these sensory elements are absent in the case of online purchase. The increasingly crowded online space also raises the issue of retailer visibility. The customers find it ever more difficult to locate their specific retailer. The proliferation of online retailers has resulted in literature with insightful examinations of various pertinent issues. However, the following research questions addressed by this paper hold significant value is improving the current state of e-commerce and previously lacked support of empirical investigation: 1. What is the effect of familiarity with online retailing on customer's uncertainty and satisfaction?2. Does retailer visibility mediate the impact of familiarity and satisfaction? 3. What is the role of logistic support, customer service, website design, and pricing on satisfaction?


Familiarity with online retailing, Retailer's visibility and Product Uncertainty

Familiarity has been defined as the consumer to understand information based on the Internet (Moreau, Lehmann, & Markman, 2001). An expert user who is more familiar with the specs and features of internet is more likely to be satisfied than the one who is an amateur (Sultan et al., 2002). Familiarity is related to the knowledge and information a person accumulates regarding retailer websites. This knowledge and information then guides the customer's future purchase from the online retailers. For instance if a customer is familiar about the flaws and errors about a specific online retailer website, also if he finds that the website is not user- friendly, he/she than brings in their cognitive abilities to think rationally about purchasing from that specific website. With the emergence of electronic media, the online markets have become over crowded that raises the issue of retailer's visibility, defined as the extent of the presence of an online retailer in the consumer's environment (Drèze and Zufryden, 2004).

The online market has become over crowded. This brings to surface the issue of retailer's visibility at front which has been defi ned as the extent of the presence of an online retailer in the consumer's environment (Dreze and Zufryden, 2004; Luo et al., 2012). These online consumers are faced with a large number of alternatives with the spread of websites (Luo et al., 2012). Even though the online retailers are just one click away from the consumers, it doesn't necessarily imply that every retailer is equally visible to the consumers. Moreover there are fly- by- night chancers as well as credible retailers (Luo et al., 2012). It is really important for those online retailers who are new or unknown in the market to remove or shorten their spiritual distance from online consumers (Edwards et al. …

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