Reducing the Service Deficit in M-Commerce: How Service-Technology Fit Can Support Digital Sales of Complex Products

Jörg Heinze and Christian Matt
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 22, Number 3, 2018, pp. 386-418.


Mobile commerce still experiences high drop-out rates throughout the sales process. This is especially evident for complex products such as insurance, which consumers often initially explore online but complete the purchase offline to enjoy direct human assistance, helping them to better understand the product and reduce associated risks. To facilitate complex product purchases online, this article highlights the need for fit between the type of service and the type of technology used for the purchase, termed as service-technology fit (STF). In particular, the article proposes a comprehensive technological service (CTS); that is, the combination of a technology-mediated service (TMS) and a technology-generated service (TGS) as a central element of a face-to-screen service (FtoS). This experimental study found a significant superiority for CTS in terms of service quality and information quality as well as concerning consumers’ perceived financial risk, psychological risk, ease of use, and purchase intention. In contrast, relying solely on either TMS or TGS reduces the perceived service and information quality and reinforces the perception of several risks. These findings extend the theoretical knowledge on the mechanisms that are inherent to an FtoS service and give concrete practical implications for the future design of service in mobile commerce.

Key Words and Phrases: Complex products, comprehensive technological service, mobile commerce, perceived risk, online risk, online service, technology-generated service, technology-mediated service.