An Investigation of Antecedents and Consequences of Consumers’ Attitudes Toward an Apparel Website.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Zui-Chih Lee (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Nancy Hodges

Abstract: The percentage of U.S. consumers shopping and purchasing through the Internet is growing. The consumer has adapted to using the Internet to purchase products and retailers have profited from this new channel. Although the Internet is becoming an important part of business as well as consumers’ daily lives, little is known about how a website provides competitive advantage to a retailer and what makes a website appealing to consumers. In order to address the gap in research that exists regarding why and how consumers identify with online apparel retailers, the purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between website attributes (e.g., perceived attractiveness, informativeness), e-service quality (e.g., efficiency, fulfillment, system availability) and consumer-company identification for online information search and purchase behavior. More specifically, this research examines the links between consumer-company identification, perceived usefulness, and attitude toward a website, and their implications for the behavioral intention of consumers. Behavioral intention includes the consumer’s intention to search for information and intention to purchase within the online environment.

Very little research has been done that connects consumer-company identification with information search and purchase behavior of apparel consumers in the online context. Combining elements from Social identity Theory and Technology Acceptance Model, this study proposes a conceptual model that builds on the Technology Acceptance Model and tests a total of seven hypotheses developed based on the key constructs and literature.

Survey data were collected from a convenience sample of 291 students at the ii University of North Carolina at Greensboro, based on a pre-selected website (American Eagle: www.ae.com). Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the hypothesized relationships.

Findings revealed that six of the seven hypothesized relationships were supported. This study makes several contributions to the literature. First, this study tests consumer-company identification to provide implications for Internet retailing. Second, the research provides important insights into consumers’ search and purchase intentions in relation to consumer-company identification with, perceived usefulness of, and attitude toward a website. Third, discussion of the relationship between website design attributes, e-service quality attributes and perceived usefulness provides suggestions for online marketing strategy. Fourth, this research connects psychological concepts like identity and organization identification with business strategies and consumer decision-making. Finally, this research confirms the unique value of Internet technology to retailing and emphasizes the importance of online store attributes to search and purchase intention.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
attitude, consumer-company identification, e-service quality, information search, online shopping, website design
Subjects
Consumer $x Attitudes.
Clothing and dress $x Marketing.
Teleshopping.
Electronic commerce.
Consumers' preferences.
Consumer behavior.
Fashion merchandising.