The effect of trust, transaction utility, and product uniqueness on International Online Outshopping (IOO) intention and customer delight: the role of e-tailer’s country image

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Bharath Ramkumar (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Byoungho Jin

Abstract: International Online Outshopping (IOO) is the virtual movement of consumers from one electronic marketplace to another across the globe with the intention of purchasing goods from the convenience of their homes, at the click of a button. With an increasing number of U.S. consumers looking to shop for apparel-related products at foreign websites, this recent IOO phenomenon has raised questions among e-tailers and academicians as to the characteristics of this new-age, international online outshopper and the nature of an IOO purchase. Though there have been significant efforts to understand the characteristics of an outshopper in prior research, the process of an IOO purchase is yet to be understood comprehensively, especially in identifying the antecedents and consequences of an IOO purchase. Moreover, understanding of the influence of consumers’ perception of the e-tailer’s country image on their IOO intention is limited. Filling these research gaps, the purpose of this study is to develop and test a comprehensive framework consisting of both the antecedents of initial IOO intention and emotional consequences of an IOO purchase. Built on Commitment-Trust Theory, Mental Accounting Theory, Commodity Theory, and The Model of Customer Delight. The research framework consisted of two phases. Phase I manipulated and tested the effect of three antecedents (i.e., trust in e-tailer, transaction utility and product uniqueness) on IOO intention and included country image (U.K. image and China image) as the moderator of these effects (H1a-c to H3a-c). Phase II manipulated and tested the effect of the above three antecedents on the Model of Customer Delight which includes the emotions of surprise, arousal, positive affect, and customer delight (H4a-b to H11a-b). Both phases were tested on U.S. consumers’ IOO purchase at Chinese and U.K. e-tailers, the top two IOO destinations for U.S. consumers as well as leading developing and developed country e-tailers, respectively. An experiment was conducted by developing 16 IOO scenarios consisting of all possible combinations of high and low levels of trust (2) x transaction utility (2) x product uniqueness (2) at both Chinese (8 scenarios) and U.K. (8 scenarios) e-tailer settings. Using Qualtrics to conduct the experiment, 539 usable responses (275 Chinese and 264 U.K. e-tailer setting) were collected from college students. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 16 scenarios at either Chinese or U.K. e-tailer setting. Pre-tests were conducted to validate and refine the manipulation of high and low levels of trust, transaction utility and product uniqueness prior to data collection. Upon manipulation of the scenarios, participants’ IOO intention and their emotions in the Model of Customer Delight were captured using items on Likert-type scales. The hypotheses in the causal model (research framework) were tested using multiple-sample Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The findings of this study showed that, in Phase I, trust in an e-tailer positively influenced IOO intention at both Chinese and U.K. e-tailers (H1 a & b supported), transaction utility positively influenced IOO intention at U.K. e-tailers but not at Chinese e-tailers (H2a unsupported, H2b supported) and product uniqueness did not influence IOO intention at both Chinese and U.K. e-tailers (H3 a & b unsupported). Country image moderated only the relationship between transaction utility and IOO intention such that it was stronger in the U.K. than Chinese e-tailer settings; however, this effect was opposite to the strength that was hypothesized (H2c unsupported). There was no moderating effect of country image on the relationship between trust and IOO intention, and product uniqueness and IOO intention (H1c and H3c unsupported). The findings of Phase II revealed that trust was the only manipulated factor that influenced surprise while transaction utility and product uniqueness did not influence surprise. However, contrary to the hypothesis, this effect of trust on surprise was negative (H4 – H6 unsupported). Further analysis into this anomaly revealed that trust increased the level of surprise among consumers with no prior experience shopping at foreign websites, whereas it decreased the level of surprise among those with prior IOO experience. Finally, the relationships in the Model of Customer Delight were significant (H7 – H11 supported). This study extended the research in outshopping literature to understand the phenomenon of IOO by conducting an experimental study, thereby advancing the theoretical understanding of country image, online trust, transaction utility and customer delight. The findings of this study suggest to managers in the e-tailing industry that, developing a trustworthy website is the most important step towards generating purchase intention at that e-tailer’s website, regardless of the e-tailer’s country image. The limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are also provided.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Country image, Delight, E-commerce, E-tailing, International Online Outshopping, Outshopping
Electronic commerce
Cross-border shopping
National characteristics $x Economic aspects
Consumer behavior
Consumer confidence
Consumer satisfaction

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