Yi-Wei Chang, Michael Jay Polonsky, Olga Junek, Victoria University
Abstract Convenience - the ability to reduce consumer’s time and energy costs in purchasing or using goods and services - has become an important attribute for time poor consumers. Berry, Seiders and Grewal (2002) proposed that convenience can be measured as a five dimensional construct comprising decision, access, transaction, benefit, and post-benefit. This paper examines the empirical reliability and validity of Berry et al’s five dimensions within one service setting. The results of a survey with 443 service consumers found that the five measures were all reliable (i.e. an alpha of above .60) and discriminate validity held (correlations below .85). These items warrant additional empirical evaluation in other settings to determine their generalisabiliy.
Introduction Consumers’ time scarcity results in a ‘time-buying’ consumer who desires to purchase and use goods or services that assist in time and effort (Berry and Cooper, 1990). This demand for convenience has resulted in an increased number of businesses focusing on satisfying consumers’ demands with goods and services which are able to reduce the time and energy spent during the consumer’s buying process (Shaheed, 2004). Traditionally convenience has been defined as a single construct, one that is driven by time-saving considerations (Brown and McEnally, 1992). However some researchers have suggested that convenience is multidimensional (Berry and Cooper, 1990). Past research has focused almost exclusively on examining factors that increase the demand for convenience goods or services that reduce consumers’ time expenditure (Brown and McEnally, 1992) rather than examining the role of convenience as attribute of goods and services (Berry et al, 2002; Brown, 1990, 1989; Yale and Venkatesh, 1986). More recently, Berry et al (2002) proposed a multidimensional measure that assesses convenience across timesaving and effort-saving domains. However, very little research exists, other than Seiders, Voss, Godfrey and Grewal (2007) exploring Berry et al’s five dimensions. This paper seeks to explore the reliability and validity of these measures in one service setting.
Literature Review In marketing literature, the first reference to the term ‘convenience’ was by Copeland (1923) who referred to the amount of time and effort expended in acquiring a consumer product. Brown and McEnally (1992) noted that early marketing definitions of the term ‘convenience’ primarily focused on providing consumer value by decreasing consumer time and effort costs, ignoring the other dimensions, such as the psychological, comfort-adding aspects of convenience. This has resulted in some recent researchers broadening the perspectives and considering convenience as
a product attribute that can reduce the non-monetary price of a product (i.e. Okada and Hoch, 2004; Seiders, Berry and Gresham, 2000). The concept of convenience has been even further expanded with the suggestion that researchers should consider the need for convenience within the overall service delivery process, rather than only focusing on the service purchased (Berry et al, 2002; Brown and McEnally, 1992; Robinson and Nicosia, 1991; Seiders et al, 2000). For example, time-savings might involve less time spent in the consumption process (active time), or having the provider availability at a convenient time, i.e. consumer not having to wait (passive time) (Darian and Cohen, 1995). There is extensive research that consumers view waiting as ‘time lost’, which could have been used more productively (Carmon, Shanthikumar and Carmon, 1995; Hui and Tse, 1996; Leclerc, Shmitt and Dube, 1995; Maister 1985), as such reductions in waiting time could be an important component of convenience, impacting on consumer satisfaction (Hui and...