An Empirical Study of Consumer Switching from Traditional to Electronic Channels: A Purchase-Decision Process Perspective

Alok Gupta, Bo-chiuan Su, and Zhiping Walter
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 8, Number 3, Spring 2004, pp. 131.

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between purchase decisions and channel-switching intentions. A theoretical model that explains channel-switching intentions was tested with a sample of 337 consumers. The results show a 52 percent tendency to switch from off-line to on-line across four product categories: books, airline tickets, wine, and stereo systems. The order of the switching tendency was consistent with the products’ search and experience attributes. Logistic regression analysis across product categories shows that differences in channel-risk perceptions, price-search intentions, evaluation effort, and waiting time have a significant impact on consumer switching from off-line to on-line shopping. Consumers who purchase on-line perceive significantly lower channel risk, search effort, evaluation effort, and waiting (delivery) time on-line than off-line and express significantly higher price-search intentions on-line than off-line. Consumers attracted to off-line channels also perceive lower search-cost and higher price-search intentions on-line than off-line, but their perceived on-line search effort and price-search intentions are significantly lower than for consumers attracted to on-line channels. These results support the important influence of the examined factors on channel switching. They also suggest that demographics may not be an effective basis for market segmentation.

Key Words and Phrases
: Electronic commerce, purchase decision, retail channel switching, risk perception.