Customization of the online purchase process in electronic retailing and customer satisfaction: An online field study

Sriram Thirumalai, Kingshuk K. Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper investigates the customization of the online purchase process in electronic retailing. We conceptualize customization relevant to the two constituent sub-processes in the online purchase process: (i) decision customization - the customization of the information content delivered to customers to help them in the decision-making sub-process; and (ii) transaction customization - the customization of the purchase transaction sub-process for each customer. We draw on and synthesize the theoretical perspectives of Website Usability, Technology Acceptance Model, and Transaction Costs, to triangulate and deduce hypotheses linking customization of the online purchase process in electronic retailing and customer satisfaction. The hypotheses are tested by analyzing: (i) primary data on customization of the online purchase process collected from an online field study involving a direct observation and content analysis of the websites of 422 retailers; and (ii) secondary data on customer satisfaction with the online purchase process for the same set of 422 electronic retailers collected from a publicly available data source. The research method used for the empirical analysis is Multivariate Analyses of Covariance (MANCOVA). The results indicate that decision customization that provides choice assistance by way of personalized product recommendations is positively associated with customer satisfaction with the decision-making sub-process; and transaction customization, oriented towards making the transaction sub-process personal, convenient, and interactive is positively associated with customer satisfaction with the purchase transaction sub-process. Additionally, the results indicate that both decision customization and transaction customization are associated with overall customer satisfaction with the online purchase process of electronic retailers. The contributions, managerial implications, and limitations of the study, and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-487
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers, the associate editor, and the special issue guest editors for their constructive feedback and guidance in improving our manuscript. We also acknowledge the financial support for this study from the Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation .

Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customization
  • Electronic retailing
  • Online field study
  • Online purchase process

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