Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

E-Commerce Buying Behavior in India: The Role of Website Features in E-Loyalty

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

E-Commerce Buying Behavior in India: The Role of Website Features in E-Loyalty

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In an electronic buying and selling situation, the cost of getting and maintaining a buyer is usually more than through the brick and mortar store channel (Reichheld and Schefter, 2000). At the same time the other web retailer is just a click and a few seconds away. Therefore, customer's loyalty is also lower. Two most important issues for online retailers are maintaining buyers and the usage continuance intention of those buyers (Liao, Palvia and Lin, 2006). In this work, the author tries to present the website features that have an impact on the continuance of usage intention of buyers for a given website. Three constructs have been identified to study the continued intention for the same site: Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU), Perceived Usefulness (PU) and Trust. PEOU and PU have been adapted from Technology Adoption Model (Davis, 1989). The effect of perceived usefulness on the continued intention to shop online has been researched in several past studies. Notable studies include Bhattacherjee (2001), Gefen, Karahanna and Straub (2003), Lin, Wu and Tsai (2005) and Liao, Palvia and Lin (2006). However, author also continues with the other construct of TAM which is perceived ease of use. India is new to online shopping and therefore, the assumption is that perceived ease of use of a website can play a crucial role in the users' intention to continue shopping from the same site.

The third construct is trust. The physical separation of customers and retailers in an electronic environment and the open structure of internet make the customers more uncertain and vulnerable in online buying situations and therefore, the role of trust is immense (Gefen, Karahanna and Sraub, 2003 and Pavlou, 2003). Trust can play an eminent role in the continued purchase intention. In online buying situations, the face of the retailer is website; from the buyers' point of view (Liao, Palvia and Lin, 2006). Therefore, the website features can play a crucial role in affecting perceptions of online buyers. Therefore, the author tries to examine the various website features which can affect the perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness and trust of website users, which in turn can affect the continued intention to shop from the same site.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

In most cases in B2C online buying, the online buyer sees only the website which almost depicts the face of the online retailer; if compared with physical retail settings. Therefore, the online buying site bears a noteworthy impact on perceptions of online buyers. Thus, the quality and security features of a website will bear an impact on perceived usefulness of the site for the buyer as well as trust of the buyer for the online retailer. However, these inter-relationships have not been thoroughly researched to give specific conclusions (Liao , Palvia and Lin, 2006). Several authors in e-commerce research are of the opinion that effective strategies and recommendations for designing and managing websites are yet to be developed. According to Zhang, Dixit and Friedmann (2010), the high cost of getting new buyers on the online medium and the issues related to maintaining them is the reason for increased importance of customer satisfaction and loyalty for online vendors. Existence of price transparency in ecommerce and the availability of competitive businesses just a few clicks away are the two reasons that make customer loyalty a rare phenomenon in e-commerce. As compared to brick-and-mortar stores, seeking new customers online costs 20 to 40% higher due to existence of large number of competitors (Gefen, 2002). Therefore, online vendors are highly interested in understanding the factors that govern customer loyalty and continuance intention to buy from the same website; in order to remain viable and grow profitable in the long run. As noted by Anderson and Swaminathan (2011), online vendors are at an advantage with loyal customers because they are ready to pay premium prices and perceive problems in product performance and service as genuine; showing more tolerance in such issues. …

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