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A CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF CUSTOMER VALUE IN ECOMMERCE
Xu, Yunjie, National University of Singapore, 3 Science Drive 2, 117543, Singapore xuyj@comp.nus.edu.sg Cai, Shun, National University of Singapore, 3 Science Drive 2, 117543, Singapore caishun@comp.nus.edu.sg

Abstract
Customer value is crucial in predicting customer choice in traditional consumer behavior research. However, online customer value can be different from its offline counterpart because customer value is highly context-dependent. In online retailing settings, not only the product itself, but also the web store and the Internet channel contribute value to customers. Synthesizing the research in consumer behaviour and IS, we propose an online customer value model with three key components: the outcome value, the process value, and the shopping enjoyment. These three dimensions capture different benefits an online consumer can obtain from a web store. A pilot study with a sample of 89 graduate students was carried out. The preliminary results validate our choice of constructs and test the validity and reliability of the instruments used in this study. With an explicit focus on the customer role of a web user, this value conceptualization is expected to facilitate better understanding of the online consumer behaviour. Keywords: e-Commerce, customer value, process value, outcome value, shopping enjoyment

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INTRODUCTION

Customer value is the net benefits a customer obtains from a product or a store. Customer value has received enduring research interests in marketing area for the past two decades (e.g. Parasuraman et al. 1985, Zeithaml 1988, Dodds et al. 1991, Holbrook 1999, Chen & Dubinsky, 2003). It plays a key role in predicting customer choice. If retailers can offer values to the consumer, they are on the way to creating competitive advantages (Scott & Lamont, 1977). Despite the crucial importance of customer value in the offline environment, it is less studied in the eCommerce context. Online customer value can be different from its offline counterpart. Previous researches have demonstrated the multidimensional and highly context-dependent nature of customer value (e.g. Parasuraman 1997, Holbrook 1999). In online retailing settings, not only the product itself, but also the web store and the Internet channel contribute value to customers. For example, customers may enjoy the extra convenience of online shopping (Keeney 1999). However, what really constitutes the value of a web store is not well understood. Different conceptualization has been proposed (e.g. Keeney 1999, Teo et al. 2003). The aim of this research is to develop a theoretical framework which conceptualizes and examines the different dimensions of customer value in online retailing settings.

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THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
Traditional customer value research

In consumer behavior studies, there has been an enduring endeavor to understand the concept of customer value. Two major streams of research can be identified, with one focusing on the product value, and the other focusing the on the shopping value. Product value is defined as what a consumer gets for what she pays for a product (refer to Zeithaml 1988 for a systematic discussion). Though Zeithaml’s definition of product value is more than the quality/price tradeoff, the majority of marketing researchers defined it only as quality and price tradeoff (e.g. Sirohi et al. 1998), or value for the money. Product value was found to be critical to customer’s product choice decision (Dodds et al. 1991). Shopping value is defined as the evaluations of a shopping experience with a store (Babin et al. 1994), which focuses on the process of obtaining the desired products, rather than the products themselves. Offering shopping value to customer is claimed to be critical to the patronage behavior (Babin et al. 1994). Customer value is more used as an overarching concept that encompasses both the shopping value and the product value...
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