Resaerch Proposal

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Research Proposal - By Sanchita Chowdhury

Website’s design factors
impact customer shopping attitudes
Abstract
Today internet plays a very important role in the retail industry. The retailers use the internet in all round activities from gathering customer data; understand market demand, promotion, to showcasing their products, getting customer feedback, and selling the products. Different studies show the impact of different factors on customers’ both online and offline shopping attitudes. This research paper has the purpose to explore which factors and how the design of any retail website is affecting customers purchase behaviour. The primary data will be collected through customer survey targeting 300 general retail customers with an expected response rate of minimum 60% and through 5 semi-structured focus group interviews with regular online customers and 3 one -to-one interviews with web designers. The secondary data will be collected from different website design related articles. The survey contributes to categorical quantitative data while interviews and secondary data will contribute to qualitative data. Qualitative data will be analysed through inductive approach and quantitative data will be analysed by identifying the data patte rns through mode, median etc. This is a 10 week project with an approximate cost of £800. This research will help any new or established business to identify the factors in website (transactional or non-transactional) design that needs to be properly taken care to improve the customer’s volume online or offline.

Introduction
Relevance of the Proposed Research to Business Research
Today a website acts as a window for the retailers to reach the customers via internet. In UK, currently 69% retailers are having transactional websites and 5% are planning to develop such facility. 88% retailers believe that non-store sales are going to increase in 2011(Ferguson 2010).Though the retail industry in UK has gone through turmoil during recent recession but the internet retailing has grown by 18% in 2010. The main growth of 22% has been seen in the media products with Tesco having 10% and Amazo n 6% share (GMID 2011). However a successful e-business strategy often depends heavily on the design of website (Tan, Wei 2005) and realization of how the online market operates (Bruce, Moore, Birtwhistle 2004).

This research paper has the intension to investigate the customer’s perspective on any retail website design in general. The paper will identify the attributes which actually make the customers like and return to the website. Thus this study can help the businesses to understand how a website can influence the customer in buying a product online or offline or at least make them visit the brick and mortar store of the business if applicable.

Key Research Studies and Relevant Bodies of Theory:
As per the Theory of planned behaviour, a consumer’ s decision for buying online may be negative if the customer perceives the buying process as complex but it can be changed by another user’s pleasant experience with the process (Kotler et. al. 2009). However a customer’s shopping channel selection can itself depend on the channel trade-offs, the transaction costs and the perceived risk (Kotler et. al. 2009). Thus customer’s attitude towards online shopping differs with their percipience regarding online experience and benefits. But the personal and situational factors together with factors like gender, income, education, and lifestyle can also affect the customer’s online shopping behaviour. Studies show that the quality of a product, brand loyalty, online trust and prior experience of online shopping plays important role in customer’s attitude towards online shopping (Ling et. al 2010).

E-commerce channel provides limited scope for the customers to understand the experiential attributes of products like taste, fit, quality etc. So it was suggested that int ernet retailers should focus on...
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