E-services: Online Shopping and Web Sites

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The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0960-4529.htm

E-service attributes available on men’s and women’s apparel web sites Minjeong Kim
Merchandising Management Program, Department of Design and Human Environment, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

E-service attributes on web sites 25

Jung-Hwan Kim
Department of Retailing, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA, and

Sharron J. Lennon
Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine whether service attributes available on women’s apparel web sites differ from those available on men’s apparel web sites in relation to the nine dimensions of E-A-S-QUAL (E-S-QUAL for apparel). Design/methodology/approach – Using three separate sources, 97 women’s and 97 men’s apparel web sites were selected, which constituted a variety of apparel retail web sites that are a fair representation of available US retail apparel web sites. ANOVAs and chi-square analysis were performed. Findings – The results of content analysis suggest that differences exist between women’s and men’s apparel web sites in providing online services that improve e-service quality in such a way that women’s web sites provided more service attributes that improve e-service quality than men’s web sites. Practical implications – The results of content analysis suggest that the distribution or availability of almost half the e-service attributes analyzed significantly differed between women’s and men’s apparel web sites. For the further growth of men’s apparel shopping via the internet, e-retailers of men’s apparel need to provide e-services at a more sophisticated level. Originality/value – This study provides valuable information to both men’s and women’s apparel e-retailers to understand their current performance in delivering e-service and areas for improvement. Keywords Electronic commerce, Internet shopping, Clothing, Gender, Customer service management, United States of America Paper type Research paper

Introduction The internet has become an important medium for the sale of products (Corbitt et al., 2003). About 60 percent of web users make 36 web purchases a year. A majority of web users consider the web a critical information source (Internet Retailer, 2008a). Prior to holiday 2009, 85 percent of consumers indicated that they planned to shop online and about 70 percent planned to purchase online for holiday gifts (Internet Retailer, 2009a). With the current economic recession, although the growth rate has slowed, e-retailing

Managing Service Quality Vol. 21 No. 1, 2011 pp. 25-45 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0960-4529 DOI 10.1108/09604521111100234

MSQ 21,1


is still growing at a much faster rate than other retail channels, taking a larger share of total retail sales (Internet Retailer, 2009b). Forrester Research has predicted that US e-retail sales will grow 10 percent by 2014, up from 6 percent in 2009, and represent 8 percent of total retail sales (Schonfeld, 2010). With the growth of e-retailing, there has been an increasing emphasis on e-service quality (Kim et al., 2006; Madu and Madu, 2002). Also, with a growing number of multi-channel retailers, retail web sites play a central role in influencing consumers’ satisfaction with online shopping experience and ultimately driving offline sales (TMCnet.com, 2005). Considering the crucial role of e-service quality on successful e-retailing, it is important for e-retailers to understand important e-service attributes to better meet the needs of their target customers. Parasuraman et al. (2005) developed E-S-QUAL as a measure of e-service quality based on the traditional SERVQUAL model. Compared to other measures of service quality, the dimensions of E-S-QUAL broadly contain all phases of...
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