Internet Service Quality Influence on Consumer Intention

Intention

Abstract

The study focused on determining the influence of internet retail-service quality on the ability of consumers to make a repeat purchase. The originality of this study was assured through the collection and analysis of primary data from the selected respondents. The objective of this research was to determine the influence of internet-retail service quality on consumer repurchase intention. The research used quantitative methods.

The data was analyzed using mathematical tools. The findings revealed that internet-retail service quality plays a critical role in defining the level of customers’ satisfaction whenever they make online purchases. According to the findings, the level of customers’ satisfaction with online purchases is likely to influence their perception of this new retail platform. The perception they develop influences their ability to repurchase products using online platforms. For that reason, online retailers should develop a proper understanding of the factors that influence service quality in the online platform.

Introduction

Electronic commerce, popularly known as e-commerce, has gained popularity in modern society as the emerging technologies continue to define the way of life. About two decades ago, brick-and-mortar was the primary mode through which consumers would purchase what they needed. They had to physically visit the retail outlet, identify what they need, make the required payments, and pick items from retailers.

However, the brick-and-mortar model of business is giving way to a new model, the e-commerce model. Increasing developments in the field of information and communication technology have created a platform where people can sell and buy various products online. When Amazon.com started its operations focusing on selling and renting books, many people did not understand the concept properly. However, the events that followed have demonstrated that the concept was well-timed and very appropriate in modern society. Today, the Internet retail industry has experienced massive growth not only in developed but also in developing countries.

A report by Agarwal, Selen, Roos, and Green (2015) showed that in 2014, online shopping accounted for 7.5% of the total retail expenditure, estimated to be about $1.67 trillion. In New Zealand, the internet retail industry has become very popular, especially among the middle working-class people. Major retail outlets that traditionally operated brick-and-mortar stores were forced to offer their products in the online platform to expand their geographic reach and lower their costs of operations. As Azevedo (2013) puts it, it has become clear that e-commerce will soon be dominant over the brick-and-mortar model.

According to a report by Galliers, Kim, Shin, Ryoo, and Kim (2012), the internet retail industry has achieved massive success around the world because of the changing socio-economic and political forces. The middle class in both the developed and developing economies play a significant role in the development of the economy. They spend most of their time at work, seeking to achieve career development.

In modern society, both men and women find themselves in positions where they are family breadwinners. It means that in most families, the time available to visit shopping malls has been increasingly shrinking as the parents spend most of their time at work. Internet retail industry came at a time when the middle class and the rich needed it the most. It offered them a new shopping experience where the entire process of making purchases can be made in the comfort of one’s living room, in the office, or any other place as long as one has internet connectivity (Ballantyne & Packer, 2013). Despite the growing popularity of this new retail platform, there have been concerns among the customers about several issues.

The increasing cases of cyber fraud, delays in the delivery of products, and the delivery of wrong goods are some of the issues that customers have raised in the recent past. The poor quality of the services, which are sometimes offered to them, minimizes their preferences to use this platform (Baack, Harris, & Baack, 2013). Internet retail service quality (IRSQ) defines how well customers achieve satisfaction when using these services.

Internet retail industry has attracted the attention of many scholars around the world and it was not difficult to access the relevant literature needed for the study. However, a careful review of the literature exposed a gap in the existing knowledge that needs to be addressed. It is not clear how internet retail service quality affects consumer purchase intention in New Zealand. Indeed, a closer look at the subject matter will reveal that there is very little information about customer behavior after the process of purchasing is over.

For instance, recent studies addressing the identified topic tend to focus on the options that a customer may have after making a particular purchase (e.g., the opportunities for a refund, the options associated with the management of the customer’s complaints, etc.), the “reactions following dissatisfaction after purchase” (Ors, Yilmaz, & Sen, 2015, p. 270), etc. However, the actual study of the buyers’ behavior that can be witnessed after a product or a service is bought are surprisingly rare.

One must admit that some studies tend to focus on the exploration of the psychological effects of certain purchases. For instance, a recent article regarding how gender as a social construct affects buyers’ choices points to the fact that there is a propensity among certain types of customers to experience guilt after a specific product or service is purchased (Hanks & Mattila, 2014). Therefore, there are several studies on the tendencies among customers to develop certain behaviors that can be deemed as characteristic of the post-purchase process. That being said, the specified researches are very few and in dire need of further expansion (e.g., carrying out a follow-up study).

There has also been a propensity among researchers to focus on explaining the psychology of post-purchase attitudes among customers. For instance, a recent study sheds light on the issue of customer dissatisfaction that comes after an unsuccessful purchase: “The buyers usually will recognize a problem or need when they sense a difference between his or her actual state and some desired state” (Wee, Ismail, & Ishak, 2014, p. 382).

Thus, a more accurate portrayal of the target population can be drawn; furthermore, some insights into the nature of customers’ behavior can be gained. However, the current studies lack perspective and analysis as far as the study of the post-purchase attitudes among the target population is concerned. As a result, a lot of opportunities for understanding the factors defining the repurchase intention among customers are omitted. A more detailed analysis of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that define further decisions to remain loyal to a particular brand or to refuse from consuming it in the future is, therefore, desperately needed.

The identified issue is especially important in the context of the contemporary market, including its online segment. The unique properties of online markets condition significant changes in the behaviors of customers; for instance, by creating the opportunities for accessing online shops at any point in time and on multiple occasions throughout the day, one is likely to contribute to a rapid change in the standards of buyers’ behaviors.

As a result, the levels of customer loyalty are likely to increase in the identified scenario, thus, causing a significant rise in a company’s popularity: “While new customers’ “calculative commitment” is predominantly cognitive, “affective commitment” is relevant predominantly to repeat customers, and represents a more emotive basis for repurchase” (Brodie, Ilic, Juric, & Hollebeek, 2013, p. 2).

In other words, a more detailed study of the changes in post-purchase behavior among customers will shed a lot of light on how a company may increase its sales rates and attract a new audience, at the same time keeping the current customer loyalty rates consistently high. Consequently, the prerequisites for meeting the needs of the target population in a manner as efficient as possible can be created. Moreover, a scrutiny of the changes between the pre- and post-purchase behaviors among the target customers will shed light on the changes in demand trends.

It is important to note that the socio-economic, geopolitical, and technological environment in New Zealand is different from that in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, or China. The fact that studies conducted in these foreign countries exist does not mean that they can universally be applicable. In some societies, people may register their dissatisfaction but continue to use services that offer them a value below what they desire.

On the other hand, in some cultures when people are dissatisfied with a given service, they completely avoid it and look for an alternative. That is why it is important to conduct this research in the local context to gain a better understanding of the influence of the internet retail service quality on consumer repurchase intention. The study aims at determining the relationship between consumers’ perception of IRSQ and their repurchase intentions. The following are the research objective that should be achieved by the end of this study.

  • To determine the influence of internet retail service quality on consumer repurchases intention.

To achieve the above objective, the researcher developed several questions that were to be answered using both primary and secondary data. The following are the research questions:

  1. Which of the dimensions of IRSQ (i.e., performance, access, security, sensation, and information) is more dominant in determining the consumers’ perception of IRSQ?
  2. Does the perception of customers positively correlate with their online repurchase intentions?
  3. What sorts of subjective factors influence one’s perception of IRSQ average Internet use, online shopping frequency, gender, age, and income)?
  4. Do the same subjective factors influence consumers’ repurchase intention on the Internet?

It was critical to come up with an effective methodology that could be used in collecting and analyzing data to respond to the above research questions. The research used a quantitative research method. A stratified sampling method was used to select a sample of 305 participants. Most of the sampled participants were the middle-class workers and local tertiary students within Auckland city.

This research project is very important because it focuses on analyzing the factors that affect growth in e-commerce within the country. As a developed economy, New Zealand is one of the countries where the internet retail industry has had major impacts on the way people undertake their purchases. However, it is worrying that the services offered in this new platform have not fully met the expectations of the consumers.

This study will identify the factors that have led to the limited level of customers’ dissatisfaction and what can be done to address the issue. The study can help the players in the online retail industry to understand the current weaknesses of their products and what can be done to address them. The outcome of this research will help in promoting e-commerce in the country by making it a safer, more reliable, and more effective way of shopping for customers than the brick-and-mortar model.

In this paper, the first chapter is the introduction that provides a comprehensive background of the research and the objectives that it seeks to achieve. The second chapter is a comprehensive analysis of the existing literature on the topic to help in supporting the primary findings of the research. The third chapter is a detailed discussion of the research methods that were used to collect and analyze the data. The next section of the paper is a list of the references used in the study. The last section of this document is the appendices.

Literature Review

In this chapter, the researcher will conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on this topic. E-commerce is a topic that has attracted massive attention from scholars around the world and it is important to determine their views before embarking on the primary data collection and analysis. As Blythe (2013) notes, every piece of research should add new concepts to the existing bodies of knowledge.

A researcher should be keen to avoid duplicating information that already exists because doing that will have little meaning when it comes to enhancing knowledge in that particular field. That is why it was important to review the existing literature and identify the gap or concepts, which remain controversial. This chapter is organized into six sections. The first section provides a brief review of the traditional brick-and-mortar stores to remind the readers of how things were before the invention of e-commerce. The second section focuses on the concept of e-commerce and how the transformation from bricks to clicks took place.

The next section looks at the factors that have promoted the transformation from bricks to clicks. The next section looks at the internet retail service quality and how consumers’ repurchase intention is affected by it. The theoretical background of the study then follows the section. The last section of this chapter is a review of the existing gaps in the literature reviewed.

The Traditional Brick-and-Mortar Stores

According to Davis, Demirkan, and Motahari-Nezhad (2014), the retail industry has gone through a significant transformation since man started engaging in barter trade. The brick-and-mortar business model gained massive popularity around the world as the retail industry continued to grow. The emergence of supermarkets was one of the main advancements at the peak of the brick-and-mortar retail industry. It offered shoppers a unique experience where they could make almost all, their regular shopping in one roof. They no longer had to move from one store to another when purchasing groceries.

The leading retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Metro Ag, and Sears Holdings came up with unique floor plans to ensure that every item that a shopper may want to purchase is properly displayed. Epps and Trebilcock (2013) say that the display designs embraced by most of the supermarkets and mega shops promoted impulse buying. A shopper would visit a retail outlet to purchase a specific item.

However, he or she would be faced with a beautiful display of other items, which were not on the shopping list. It was common to find cases where a shopper would spend most of the cash they have in the pocket to purchase items they had not planned for before. Others would use their credit card to continue purchasing new items to the extent that they would get into huge debts without their knowledge. The retailers benefited a lot from such impulse buying (French & Gordon, 2015). It explains why the stores were so keen on coming up with very appealing displays.

The brick-and-mortar stores were and still are very popular, especially for shoppers who want to assess the items that they intend to purchase. It offered the customers an opportunity to take full control of the shopping experience. They would only engage the shop attendees when they needed direction. This mode of retail remains popular even in the developed states (Gbadamosi, Bathgate, & Nwankwo, 2013).

Shoppers still prefer having a physical evaluation of the items they intend to purchase, especially the highly involving goods. Major retailers often identify the strategic locations, especially in busy streets and near bus or railway stations where there is high human traffic. Customers can easily get into these retail outlets on their way home and make the necessary purchases. The convenience of the location means a lot in the success of a brick-and-mortar retail outlet (Hardina, 2012). This is so because most of the shoppers have limited time to make their purchases.

The transformation from Brick to Click

The emergence of e-commerce has revolutionized the retail industry all over the world. As more people become connected to the internet through various devices such as personal computers and smartphones, a new way through which customers can purchase items they need has emerged. According to Lefebvre (2013), NetMarket and Shopping Network were the first companies to develop a secure web in 1994 that was capable of supporting online retail transactions.

As they continued to develop the concept, Amazon.com picked it up in 1995 and started shipping the products to the destinations stated by the customers. eBay also joined this emerging industry in 1995 (Louw, 2012). One of the biggest challenges that these pioneers of e-commerce faced was the additional cost of delivering products to the customers, especially those who purchased items of less value.

At that time, cases of traffic jams were common and it affected time and the cost of making the deliveries. Amazon.com developed a unique strategy where customers were encouraged to purchase goods worth a given minimum amount and have their goods delivered at their doorsteps. The initial transactions were not very profitable but this firm came up with ways of cutting costs and improving efficiency in service delivery. The fact that the retailer had no brick-and-mortar retail outlets also helped in cutting down its expenses.

Improvement in the field of information technology and improved means of transport, especially in the air, rail, water, and road transport greatly favored the internet retail industry. As more people got online through various affordable devices, the target customers for online retailers increased. Currently, the internet retail industry is growing rapidly all over the world (Oplatka & Hemsley-Brown, 2012). Online retailers such as Amazon.com and eBay are now operating at a global level. They have collaborated with international couriers such as DHL to help them deliver their products to their international customers through sea or air transport.

According to Moran (2015), internet retail service has gained massive popularity among the rich and the middle class who have limited time to visit the brick-and-mortar stores. Although recent studies suggest that most of the purchases are still made through brick-and-mortar retail model, online purchase is growing rapidly all over the world (Ravens, 2014). It is a clear indication that more people are finding it more convenient to make their purchases through online platforms instead of going to the physical stores.

Most of the leading retail outlets in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and China have developed websites where their products are easily available to their online customers (Safko, 2013). It shows that these retailers have realized that e-commerce is the future of the retail industry. Alibaba is an example of a successful online retailer that recently emerged in China (Tate, 2015). The firm is not only popular in China but also in other parts of the world.

Factors that promoted the transformation from brick to click

According to Zeiser (2015), the busy schedule of the modern-day, middle class leaves them with limited time to visit physical stores. In a typical American family, both parents are likely in gainful employment. The trend is common in most of the developed economies (Sharma & Shilpa, 2013). It means that in such families, the parents have limited time to spend with their families and make purchases of groceries and other items needed in their houses.

With stiff competition at work, these parents find themselves taking overtime at work to achieve career growth. The emergence of e-commerce came as a great reprieve for such parents. It enabled them to make all the purchases they need while at home with their families or at their offices. The convenience of internet retailing has seen it attract many middle-class consumers in most of the developed countries. Today, most of these parents do not have to worry about the need to visit retail outlets regularly because they can make purchases online and have the products delivered in their offices or at home. Gbadamosi (2016) says that the convenience it offers the customers is one of the main reasons why people are shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to online stores.

When Amazon.com and eBay started actively offering their products in the online platform, their biggest challenge was the payment method. To help promote convenience, Amazon.com started by allowing the customers to pay for the goods upon delivery (Crane & Matten, 2016). However, this proved challenging because some customers never showed up at agreed-upon locations after making their orders. The emergence of online payment platform was a major boost to the online retailers. It means that shoppers could easily view the products they want to purchase in the online platform before making payments.

Goods would be dispatched only after the customer has made the payment for them. It improved efficiency for the retailers. It also eliminated the need for the customers to carry cash to make payments. The elimination of geographic barriers is another factor that has promoted the popularity of brick-and-mortar stores. EBay offers its services in the global market as long as global customers can access its website. On the other hand, it forces Wal-Mart to set up physical stores in any location that it wishes to operate in because it still majorly operates under the brick-and-mortar retail model.

Albarran (2017) says that internet retail offers customers the ability to visit different stores simultaneously while they are online. It becomes easy to compare the prices of various products in various online stores. Customers can know the websites that offer them the best deal within a short while, unlike before when they had to visit these stores physically. Trading in the internet retail market requires trust.

Service Quality

The quality of services offered in the online platform can be looked at in three different ways. The core services that a firm offers its customers have significant impacts in defining how customers view the quality of services offered to them. Supplementary services, especially information that customers need to make the purchasing decisions are also very critical when developing a website as a retailer. The third is the user interface, which is the ease with which online visitors can navigate the website.

It is important to discuss each of these three factors in detail to help the retailers understand what is expected of them when going online. The first factor that must be put into consideration is the quality of the core products offered by the retailer to the customers. Once customers make the payment for a given product, they expect it to be of high quality. Just like in brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers must ensure that they have high-quality products, which are capable of meeting the expectations of the customers in the best way possible (Crane & Matten, 2016).

The quality promised when customers are making their purchases should be the quality that is delivered to them. In most cases, retailers have limited control over the quality of the products they carry because they sell what they receive from suppliers.

However, a retailer should explain to the customers the difference between various brands so that they can make informed decisions. Supplementary services are also very important in defining the customers’ perception of the quality of service they get from online retailers. Good retail outlets should offer their customers news and information relevant to their purchases. Whenever there are new products, changes in the existing products, or any piece of information that can help customers make a better decision, such information should be made available.

The interface of the website plays a critical role in determining the level of customers’ satisfaction. As Albarran (2017) notes, in online retailing, the retailers do not have the benefit of beautiful displays at physical stores. However, they have the responsibility of creating such a display on their websites so that customers can see what they are purchasing. Ease of use is often considered one of the most important factors. The layout of the website should allow users to go to the items they need without a struggle. Items should be arranged on the website based on their use and quality. The website should be responsive, just in case a client may need clarification on a given product. Answers to commonly asked questions should be made easily available for the customers (Gbadamosi, 2016).

Once a customer has identified the desired product, information about it such as price, quality, and purpose should be available. The security of online shoppers should be considered an issue of critical importance. Their credit card or bank accounts should not be exposed to cybercriminals when they are making their purchases. A good website should not crash simply because of heavy traffic. It should also be capable of protecting its contents from the access by third parties.

Measuring Online Retail Service Quality

Online retail service quality (ORSQ) can be deemed as one of the factors that determine the popularity of online retailers among the target population. Striving toward meeting the current standards for ORSQ should, therefore, be viewed as the primary goal of any company willing to promote loyalty among its customers and cement its position in the target market. It should be borne in mind, though, that, since the target market is comparatively young, the existing standards and guidelines are not very rigid. Herein lies the primary limitation; because of the necessity to choose between an array of rather specific tools, the result may lack universality.

Nevertheless, an overview of the existing tools for improving the OSRQ levels shows that, for the most part, the recommendation for enhancing the identified aspect of an online company’s operations are quite homogenous. A tight focus on the quality of communication (i.e., the speed and precision of the data transfer) seems to be the priority of the measurement process. The reasons for the identified phenomenon are quite understandable; without an opportunity to update the target audience on new services and products, as well as gather feedback and promoting cooperation between different departments of the organization, a firm cannot possibly deliver the products of the required quality. Thus, it is crucial to explore current opportunities for determining and measuring retail service quality online.

SiteQUAL

SiteQUAL is, perhaps, one of the best-known frameworks for determining ORSQ. The approach allows for an assessment of B2C services in an array of domains, including even the evaluation of the information systems deployed at the target organizations. When it comes to identifying the definitive characteristic that the said tool uses as the means of assessing the quality of the services offered by online companies, one should mention the data transfer process.

Webb and Webb (2004) state explicitly that the efficient management of the relevant data is what makes the SiteQUAL tool so popular. Therefore, one must give it credit for allowing an in-depth study of the crucial data management processes within the organization. As far as the quality parameters are concerned, Webb and Webb (2004) specified that the following aspects were proven to have the greatest effect on the overall quality of the product or service and its further perception by the target population: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibility.

Remarkably, the tool provided by the authors incorporates two dimensions of quality, i.e., the aspects affecting the efficacy of the services and the factors that define the success of the data transfer and analysis (i.e., accessibility, contextual representation, and intrinsic accessibility) (Webb & Webb, 2004).

It should be noted that the SiteQUAL tool is a successor of numerous prototypes that were aimed at determining the crucial dimensions of quality that companies must meet so that the needs of customers could be met and that the satisfaction rates could remain high. Indeed, Webb and Webb (2004) point to the fact that the number of dimensions was shrunk from five to three to two, thus, finally, being transformed into what is currently known as the SiteQUAL framework.

Therefore, the tool in question should not be viewed as a recent creation and, instead, needs to be perceived as the result of numerous reiterations that allowed for significant quality improvement. At present, the dimensions incorporated into the model allow for close communication with the customer, thus, creating premises for assured empathy and security. The latter is especially important in the context of the global market given the threats of cyberattacks to which online users may be exposed. Therefore, SiteQUAL can be deemed as rather impressive despite its age.

WebQUAL

WebQUAL was another step in improving the process of site evaluation. Offering new opportunities for assessing the services and products, the tool in question pointed to the fact that new dimensions could be used as the elements of the measurement process. Usefulness and ease of use are important aspects of the assessment. Allowing for a rapid increase in customer satisfaction and, therefore, loyalty levels, both help improve the functioning of a site. Other relevant categories of beliefs, however, seem far too vague a concept to include it into the assessment process (Loiacono, Watson, & Goodhue, 2007).

Internet retail service quality (IRSQ)

Finally, the tool known as IRSQ needs to be listed among the primary means of measuring the quality of online products. The study carried out by Swinder, Trocchia, and Gwinner (2002) points to the fact that the constituents of the device that would help evaluate the quality of online products and services have been sought for quite long. The reasons for the tool to require so much time and effort include the need to identify the factors that affect the choices of not only current but also potential customers. Therefore, the foundation for forecasting had to be created so that the framework could be adapted successfully for the measurement of any product or service. The article mentions SiteQUAL as one of the frameworks that served as the foundation for the development of a more comprehensive approach that was the IRSQ tool (Swinder et al., 2002).

The approach built by Swinder et al. (2002) is based on four crucial elements based on which the quality of the services and products is assessed. Particularly, the characteristics such as performance, access, security, and sensation need to be mentioned. The introduction of accessibility as an essential part of the assessment process shows that the services are evaluated based on their availability to the target population. The specified aspect might be not quite objective since accessibility does not necessarily hinge on the factors that are controlled by the company and, instead, may be defined by the location or legal standards of the area where potential customers live.

However, the specified concept has become a crucial assessment element in the realm of the global market. Similarly, security and information are important because of the threat of cyberattacks mentioned above and the necessity to maintain a consistent connection with the target audience. Sensation as an opportunity to interact with the item of interest, in turn, can be created with the help of the latest technological innovations and, therefore, should remain an important part of the evaluation process.

Theoretical Background

Consumers’ willingness to make repeat purchases depend on how well they are satisfied with the experiences of the initial purchases. When the initial purchases create memorable and pleasant experiences, it becomes easy for them to be influenced to make future purchases through the same platform. Regarding the specified phenomenon, one should bring up the theoretical framework known as the Theory of Repurchase Decision-Making (TRD). The identified framework suggests that certain factors define the customer’s decision to return to the services of a particular organization at the post-purchase stage (Han & Ryu, 2012).

Therefore, one can build the premises for the target population to consider returning to a particular company to use the provided services once again. Particularly, a recent study views “the phenomenon of re-buying decision-making based on the belief that inducing repetitive business is the key to a firm’s long-term success” (Han & Ryu, 2012, p. 786) as a legitimate concept that needs to be explored as a promising idea for developing a comprehensive customer-based approach to service quality assessment and enhancement.

The theoretical framework suggests that the principles of the theories of planned behavior and reasoned actions (the behavioral and normative beliefs) and the model of goal-directed behavior (MGB) (the “attitude” construct) should be incorporated into the framework. Thus, the connection between customer satisfaction, positive and negative anticipated emotions, etc., can be restored to showcase the link between the environment in which the purchase is made and the further intent of the customer to re-purchase the product or service in question (Han & Ryu, 2012).

The approach toward interpreting the customer’s intent described above can be viewed as a rather valid tool for determining customer’s behavior choices and, more importantly, forecasting the changes thereof in the future. Consequently, the analysis of the identified factors, including both intrinsic (i.e., controlled by the organization) and extrinsic (i.e., determined by the global environment) can be carried out successfully, with a comparatively accurate forecast of the future changes in the customer behavior.

A closer look at the results of the research showed that the customer satisfaction level could be deemed as the primary indicator of the further intention to repurchase the product or service that caused the response (Han & Ryu, 2012). Furthermore, the study showed quite clearly that the factors such as the development of commitment, as well as cost-switching between the rivaling organization and the target company, could be viewed as the prerequisites for further repurchase (Han & Ryu, 2012).

The identified discoveries align with the principles of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), as Han and Ryu (2012) explain. A closer look at the processes that occur in between the first purchase and the decision to make another one from the same supplier will show that the intention to repeat the action is caused by the positive emotion that the initial purchase prompted in the customer. Therefore, the implications of the study include not only the necessity to work on the adherence to the quality standards but also on the creation of the atmosphere in which customers will feel comfortable and satisfied (Han & Ryu, 2012).

It should be borne in mind, though, that the identified model requires a certain flexibility in its application. While the study conducted by Han and Ryu (2012) is all-embracive, with the essential details taken into account accordingly, the model was built to address customer satisfaction and retention issues in restaurants. Therefore, to make the model work in other settings, one should consider minor adjustments, such as the reconsideration of the environment-related factors.

For instance, the feeling of comfort mentioned above as one of the crucial factors defining the levels of buyers’ loyalty and their further decision to re-purchase the product or service, when applied to other industries, may be attributed to other factors than the ones listed for the hospitality industry. Nevertheless, the framework implying the focus on customer engagement, comfort, and satisfaction should remain the same (Han & Ryu, 2012).

The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) explains how people come to embrace technology (Moran, 2015). Internet retail heavily relies on the ability of targeted customers to embrace the regular use of internet-enabled devices regularly. The younger generation is more likely to embrace emerging technologies than aging people are. That is why middle-aged people and young adults constitute the most attractive market segment for online retailers.

According to this theory, the ability of the users to embrace new technology depends on its ease of use and perceived usefulness (Ravens, 2014). It is the responsibility of internet retailers to ensure that the websites they develop are easy to navigate even for the elderly members of society. Through promotional campaigns, these companies should try to influence the perception of the targeted customers towards the e-market and the benefits that it offers.

Methodology

The Internet retail industry has become a major platform where customers get access to various items they need irrespective of their geographical location. That is why scholars have given this topic massive attention all over the world. This chapter focuses on the analysis of the research methods used in collecting and analyzing data (Nestor & Schutt, 2014). It makes it easy for the users of this document to understand the basis upon which conclusions and recommendations were made.

This chapter is organized into six sections. The first section provides detailed information on the research design that was chosen for the research based on the objective set in chapter one. The second section looks at the sampling strategy that was used and the sample size that was finally selected. Then, the instrument used in collecting data from the participants is explained. The section is followed by an explanation of the procedure that was used in the actual data collection process. The data analysis method is the next section that elaborates on the approach used by the researcher to process collected data. The final section of this chapter looks at issues related to ethics when conducting the study.

Research Design

According to Bernard (2013), it is critical to define the research design that is in line with the objectives of the study. In this paper, the researcher is interested in determining the influence of internet retail quality on consumer repurchase intention. The chosen design must be capable of helping in achieving the goal. The descriptive research design was considered the most appropriate research design.

Using surveys, the researcher was able to collect data from the respondents to help in answering the research question. The quantitative research method was important in determining the level of customer satisfaction with the current online retail services. Through the survey, the researcher could engage the respondents and determine their views about the quality of the service they get from the online retailers and the likelihood that they would consider making repeat purchases.

Quantitative methods made it possible to use statistical tools to quantify the level of customers’ satisfaction and the likelihood that they would opt to make their purchases on online platforms. It is important to note that although this research majorly employed quantitative methods, some elements of qualitative methods were also embraced to help in explaining some of the concepts.

Population and Sample

Internet retail industry has gained massive popularity in New Zealand and the majority of middle-aged people, young adults, and teenagers living in urban settings have used online retail services in one way or the other. In Auckland city, many people have had the opportunity to use these services and as such, identifying participants for the study was easy. However, in this academic research time was of the essence. The researcher had to complete the study within a set timeline.

It meant that the researcher had to work with a manageable sample size to ensure that the data was collected from them and analyzed within the timeframe set for the research. As my research is descriptive and I used to employ the survey method with self-administered questionnaires. The researcher wanted to collect data from two groups of respondents, tertiary students, and staff currently studying at and affiliated with Auckland campus. I would collect data on the Auckland campus in common student areas through face-to-face campus intercepts and online using Survey Monkey. As such, the campus intercept sampling method was considered most appropriate.

Before we create our questionnaire, the sample size needs to be justified. Table 1 below is the sample size used in different literature. An average value of 305 is calculated. In this case, a sample size of 305 would ensure the validity of our empirical result.

Table 1. An average sample size of highly cited* quantitative studies on internet retail service quality (2002-2016)ю

Study** Sample size
  1. Long and McMellon (2004)
  2. Janda, Trocchia, and Gwinner (2002)
  3. Poddar, Donthu, and Wei (2009)
  4. Lee and Lin (2005)
  5. Kim and Lennon (2013)
  6. Cheema, Rizwan, Jalal, Durrani, and Sohail (2013)
  7. Barnes and Vidgen (2002)
477
446
400
305
219
150
140
Mean sample size= 305
Standard deviation= 140
Median sample size= 305
*Citations are double and triple digits by Google Scholar as of 21 April 2017.
**A reference list is provided at the end of this paper.

The sampling method made it possible to select participants from the two groups. Time constraint and response rate concerns informed the decision of the researcher to limit the study population to the Auckland campus. It was easy to reach out to individual participants physically within the confined geographical location. A sample size of 305 subjects was selected to participate in the study.

Although chances of having high response rate because of the limited geographic location that made it possible for the researcher to contact respondents physically if necessary, the researcher acknowledged that it was possible to have a situation where one or more of the participants fail to take part in the study for various reasons (Choy, 2014). The relatively large sample size was selected to ensure that if a few of the selected respondents failed to take part in the study, there would be enough participants who would provide information that can be generalized to the entire population.

Instrument

In this study, the researcher used two key sources to gather data that informed the conclusion and recommendation for the study. The first source was secondary sources gathered from books, scholarly journal articles, and reliable online sources. The information from these sources was reviewed in chapter two of this paper to form background information and identify the existing gap to help guide the process of collecting primary data.

The second source of information was the primary data collected from the sampled participants. The primary data was collected using a questionnaire. This questionnaire was discussed to cite from the previous research of Janda, Trocchia, and Gwinner (2002). The instrument was prepared before engaging with the participants. It was meant to help in collecting primary data in a structured manner. The questionnaire used in the study had two sections.

The first section was a major part of the questionnaire. It attempted to let participants evaluate their satisfaction level of the online retailer from different aspects, involving website performance, access, security, sensation, and information. The second section of the questionnaire focused on the background information of the participants. In the second section, the focus was to determine the demography and gender of the respondents.

The second section of the questionnaire was considered necessary because it made it possible to understand the online purchasing pattern based on gender and age. In the review of literature, it was noted that the younger generation is more likely to purchase items in the online platforms than the elderly people are. To determine if this is true or not, it was necessary to capture the age of the participants. It was also necessary to determine if there is a skew in the online purchasing pattern based on age. It was easy to capture any possible differences in the demographic space of the respondents.

Another issue that emerged during the review of the literature was that the income level of consumers influenced their purchasing patterns. Their high-income levels mean that they often find themselves in managerial positions; hence they often have a tight schedule at work, the fact that forces them to rely on e-marketplace that offers them convenience. The researcher wanted to determine if there is a pattern based on the income level of the respondents. This section was also motivated by the fact that people of different income level are likely to answer specific questions differently, especially the open-ended questions, because the majority of high-income groups usually are on higher educational level, and thus leading to the difference in the understanding of the concepts related to the questions.

The questionnaire employed both open-ended and closed-ended questions to help in capturing various issues under investigation (Bryman & Bell, 2015). As mentioned above, the study was majorly based on quantitative methods. Closed-ended questions helped in structuring the answers in a way that made it possible to quantify them. Quantifying the responses was important to enable the analysis using mathematical tools.

By using closed-ended questions, it was possible to capture the degree of customers’ satisfaction with the services they get in the online retail industry. It was also possible to determine the likelihood of them being able to make repeat purchases on the same platforms. It was important to explain why the respondents felt the way they did when using online retail services. Using the open-ended questions, the participants could explain why they felt satisfied or dissatisfied with the services offered to them by online retailers. It was also possible to capture their views about why they may or may not consider making repeat purchases in the online retail platforms they previously used.

Using these two types of questions made it possible to come up with comprehensive answers to the set questions. Each of the structured questions was coded for statistical analysis and interpretation on a scale of 1-7, where 1 meant strongly disagree while 7 meant strongly agree.

The questionnaire was administered in two different ways to help in gathering the desired data. The respondent identified 205 participants who were engaged in a face-to-face interview within the campus. The researcher considered it important to use this approach because it enhances the reliability of data. It allows the researcher to capture non-verbal cues when respondents are giving their answers. It also reduces cases where respondents provide misleading answers deliberately.

In case a response given by the participant was unclear, it was easy to request them to clarify their answers further. The researcher also used cloud-based software, Survey Monkey, to survey the remaining 100 participants. The researcher contacted these participants through Facebook and reminded them to fill the questionnaires in the Survey Monkey.

Procedure

The research started on April 20, 2017, when the researcher started developing a proposal. A proposal was developed to help guide the process of conducting the entire research. Proposal development involved outlining activities that were to be undertaken such as primary and secondary data collecting, analysis of the data, and writing the final report. The proposal development also involved developing the questionnaire that was used in collecting the primary data from the respondents.

The process ended on May 10. The proposal was handed over for approval on May 12. By June 2017, the proposal had been approved and the researcher embarked on the process of collecting data on June 5, 2017. It started by collecting and reviewing relevant literature. The researcher went to the school library and other online libraries to collect and review secondary data.

During the same period, the researcher started contacting potential participants for the study. After reviewing the literature, the researcher started the process of collecting primary data from the respondents. Primary data was collected through face-to-face interviews and online surveys using Survey Monkey. In the face-to-face interview, it took an average of 10 minutes for the respondents to answer all the questions. The collected data was then analyzed quantitatively using mathematical tools.

The entire process of collecting and analyzing primary data will be completed on July 15, 2017. The researcher will then start the process of writing up the report. The process will start on July 20 and end on August 10, 2017. From August 11, 2017, to August 25, 2017, the researcher will conduct editing and reviews for the paper. The table below shows a summary of the activities and their timeline.

Table 2: Projected timeline for the planned researchю

Project stage Anticipated start Anticipated duration
Proposal application to PGBos Late April 2017
Research start 29 May 2017
Desk search and literature review Early June 2017 Two weeks
Data collection Mid-to-late June 2017 Two weeks/s
Analysis Early July 2017 One/Two weeks
Report writing-draft Late July 2017 Two weeks
Feedback on draft Early August 2017
Report writing-final Mid-to-late August 2017 One/two week/s
Research end 25 August 2017

The researcher sought permission from the campus authorities before identifying the participants in the study. There was no need to translate the questions because all the participants could read, write, and speak in English. The researcher did not outsource any labor in collecting or analyzing data. After computing all the data in the questionnaires, the researcher took the files to the school archives. According to the school’s policy, these files will be kept in the archives for five years before they are finally discarded. Within that period, they may be of value to future researchers.

Data Analysis

The primary data collected from the participants will be analyzed mathematically using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) (Amelina, 2012). The researcher will conduct a series of tests to find answers to the research questions outlined in chapter 1 of this paper. The first research question requires mean comparisons while the second research question requires a Pearson correlation analysis. The researcher will employ independent samples T-tests and ANOVA analysis to answers the third and the fourth research questions.

Ethical Considerations

According to Caillaud, Rose, and Goepp (2016), it is important to observe ethical concerns when conducting research. Academic studies have a set of rules and regulations that a researcher must observe when conducting the study. The first step that the researcher took before identifying the participants was to contact the administrators at the Auckland campus to get permission to conduct the study within the institution. The researcher explained the nature and goal of the study in the letter that was written to the administration. The importance of the study was explained and the administrators were informed that this was purely academic research. It is after getting the approval that the researcher went to the next step of identifying the participant.

The researcher randomly identified participants within the campus to take part in this research project. The researcher had no prior relationship with the participants. They were informed that participation was voluntary and that they had the right to withdraw from the research at any time without any consequences. All they needed to do in case they decided to drop from the study was to inform the researcher of their intention without necessarily giving their justification to do so.

For those who agreed to be part of the study, the researcher took time to explain to them the relevance of the research, how it will affect their lives, and the need for them to participate in it. Those who were not convinced of the need to be part of the study had the liberty to withdraw. For those who were still interested, the researcher explained to them how their identity would be protected. The researcher ensured that the participants remained anonymous by assigning them pseudonyms instead of their actual names.

Maori participants could be chosen in this research. Interviewers would start with Kiaora to show their appreciation of Maori culture and the researcher would explain the questionnaire to participants with English. Participants would obtain information about the findings of the study if they were willing to receive it and leave an email address.

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Appendices

Questionnaire

Please Consider Only the Online Retailer That You Purchased Something Most Recently While Answering the Below Questions on the 7-Point Scale.

Questionnaire
Questionnaire
Questionnaire
Questionnaire

Thank You for Your Participation.