Customer Perception

Topics: Online shopping, Retailing, Shopping Pages: 11 (3588 words) Published: January 18, 2013
Manouchehr Tabatabaei, Georgia Southern University,

ABSTRACT Recent advancements in technology have facilitated commerce around the globe. The online medium of commerce has provided and will continue to provide great opportunities for consumers and businesses. However, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before the advantages of online shopping can be fully realized. One significant aspect is consumer perception of online shopping. The purpose of this paper is to examine the online shopping perception of consumers who shop from traditional stores. A survey was conducted in shopping malls in the southeastern region of the United States. The results show a positive perception of offline consumers toward online shopping. In addition, the results coincide with national trends for online shopping which show many traditional shoppers gather information on products and services online, but still make the purchase onsite in a traditional setting by visiting a store. Keywords: Perception of shopping, Offline shopping consumers, Online

increasing numbers of customers. Many traditional businesses are reacting by going online to remain competitive (Schoenbachler and Gordon 2002). Advancements in technology enable apparel stores, for instance, to improve their online services by using personalized virtual models allowing consumers to visualize the product on the model to determine correct sizing and fit (Kim and Kim 2004; for a trend forecast of the online apparel industry, see: Newbery 2004). In general, online businesses such as Dell are able to mass customize because of current technology and offer customers basically a build-to-order service. Retail based e-commerce sites also try to serve customers by providing a personal shopper. As the shopper searches for an item of interest online, similar or complementing products are suggested. This personal one-on-one customized assistance might require more knowledgeable staff in a traditional store and might require an increase in the costs of products to compensate for the increased staffing costs. The internet has influenced the life of everyone in the recent years and has impacted behavior of consumers (Garrett and Parrott 2005). In general, three types of consumers in regard to their shopping habits can be classified (Lepkowska-White 2004): Online shoppers, i.e. those who purchase regularly online Online browsers, who mainly use the internet as a source of information but prefer to conduct their transactions in traditional stores Hard core offline shoppers, comprised of the continuously diminishing group of individuals, who do not use the resources of the internet either for information gathering or for shopping purposes These different groups show different characteristics and will need to be addressed differently to optimize or initiate online shopping behavior. This study focuses on the traditional consumers who prefer shopping onsite. It is important to know their perception toward online shopping and their classifications of online browsers or hard core offline shoppers. In addition, the factors preventing them from shopping online are important to understand.

INTRODUCTION The rise in internet access and online commerce possibilities in recent years has made online shopping a major opportunity for businesses and has changed the way that consumers go about acquiring goods and services (Garrett and Parrott 2005; Schoenbachler and Gordon 2002). For consumers, online shopping provides more flexibility and opportunity (Stafford, Turan, and Raisinghani 2004). For example, consumers can shop with increased knowledge of products through online research and place less reliance on salespersons. If they wish to make a purchase, consumers are not restricted by time, distance, or location (Kim and Kim 2004; Schoenbachler and Gordon 2002). Furthermore, online stores do not incur costs such...

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