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The e-quality-satisfaction-loyalty chain and virtual fitting room technologies - an empirical analysis among online shoppers

Heil, J. (2016) The e-quality-satisfaction-loyalty chain and virtual fitting room technologies - an empirical analysis among online shoppers.

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Abstract:Businesses operating in the e-Commerce industry face severe competition and are reliant on establishing a loyal customer base. The most cited and examined antecedent of customer loyalty is customer satisfaction. Compared to the factors that influence customer satisfaction in a traditional retail store context, additional criteria apply when investigating customer satisfaction in an online setting. While many customers favor online shopping because of the associated convenience, a perceived downside of online shopping is the inability to evaluate garments and their fit before purchase resulting in an increasing amount of packages returned to the retailers. An approach to enable the customer to make a more informed judgment about the fit of a garment has been the introduction of virtual fitting room (VFR) technology. No previous studies have examined the impact of a VFR technology on customer experience. The author filled this void by investigating the effects of a VFR on transactional e-satisfaction while simultaneously exploring the relationships of transactional e-satisfaction, overall e-satisfaction and e-loyalty. In order to examine the impact of a VFR technology, the quality-satisfaction-loyalty chain was utilized and dimensions of quality chosen that could measure the experience with a VFR. An online survey was employed to investigate the relationships. As a means to investigate the hypotheses, multiple regression analysis and IBM’s Watson ecosystem is used. The empirical analysis reveals that the e-quality-satisfaction-loyalty chain is applicable in this context. Among the examined e-quality dimensions, informational fit-to-task and visual appearance have the biggest predictive strength in determining transactional e-satisfaction. The impact of the third dimension innovativeness could only be confirmed using IBM Watson. Additionally, respondents with no prior experience with a VFR technology showed higher levels of transactional e-satisfaction and e-loyalty in turn. Gender is found to moderate the relationship of informational fit-to-task whereas prior experience with product return failed to show significance, suggesting that female online shoppers have a higher need of product information than males. As predicted, higher levels of e-satisfaction result in higher levels of e-loyalty providing further support for this widely acknowledged relationship. The findings corroborate the hypothesized mediating effect of overall e- satisfaction on e-loyalty only partially. For this reason, transactional e-satisfaction should remain within the focus of online retailers because it has a direct effect on the dependent variable. The author discusses the managerial implications of these findings and the limitations of the present study and offers directions for future research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
TU-Berlin, Germany
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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