Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Impact of Service Parameters and Customers’ Demographic Characteristics on Satisfaction with E-Tailers with Special Reference to Bareilly City

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Impact of Service Parameters and Customers’ Demographic Characteristics on Satisfaction with E-Tailers with Special Reference to Bareilly City

Article excerpt

Introduction

Internet shopping has been widely accepted as a way of purchasing products and services. Online shopping has grown leaps and bounds in India over the past five years or so. Earlier, it was a rarity, but now e-tailing has touched every online citizen's life, be it men or women of India, be it a person from a metro or a person from a tier-3 city:

Online shopping or e-shopping is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser. Alternate names are: e-tailing, e-web-store, e-shop, e-store, Internet shop, web-shop, web-store, online-store, online storefront and virtual store. A person can purchase anything online-from groceries and greeting cards to cell phones and ringtones for the cell phones, everything can be purchased online. While most people still find it more convenient to buy their groceries from the neighborhood shop, many people are purchasing it over the Internet. Online shopping provides the consumer with more information and choices to compare product and price. Online shopping provides more satisfaction to modern consumers seeking convenience and speed.

This rapid growth of e-retailing reflects the compelling advantages that it offers over conventional brick-and-mortar stores, including greater flexibility, enhanced market outreach, lower cost structures, faster transactions, broader product lines, greater convenience, and customization. By dramatically lowering the transaction and distribution costs with the extinction of certain types of intermediaries, the internet has allowed the e-tailers to offer comprehensive product lines and more efficient service with lower prices. More and more intensive competition is showing up in online marketplaces when the product assortment and price difference are less noticeable due to the easy reach of shared information between the suppliers and customers. It is interesting that online buying is motivated more by internet innovativeness (e.g., technology-based functionalities such as personalized suggestion) than by product innovativeness. Because e-tailers are not likely to exclusively carry specific brands or products, the supplementary services (e.g., easy return, quick shipment, reverse pick-up, etc.) and the user interface will provide the best opportunity for e-tailers to meaningfully differentiate themselves from others. Accordingly, it is important to understand the issue of online service quality and its impact on related consumers' behavioral attitudes and intentions.

The factors determining the consumers' purchasing decisions are changing as they embrace e-commerce with expectations about efficiency, service and support. In addition to the rapid growth of the internet population, there has been an emphasis on internet exchanges occurring at lower prices than in the conventional outlets. In part, this is assumed to be due to the belief that a primary role of an online store is to provide price-related information and product information to help reduce consumers' search and purchasing costs. Convenience is termed as a primary factor affecting consumers purchasing decision. Site design and convenience have a significant influence on e-satisfaction levels.

On the other hand, some consumers still feel uncomfortable to buy online. Lack of trust, for instance, seems to be the major reason that impedes consumers to buy online. Also, consumers may have a need to examine and feel the products and to meet friends and get some more comments about the products before purchasing. Such factors may have negative influence on consumer decision to shop online.

The fundamental philosophy of e-tailer service is the focus on customers meeting their needs precisely and thereby growing the markets and revenue. Technology is an enabler in e-service, but not an end in itself. As e-retailers use the opportunity provided by the technological advances to gain competitive advantage over offline retail, it opens up new forms of e-service providing greater convenience and support services to customers. …

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