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Customer intention to return online: price perception, attribute‐level performance, and satisfaction unfolding over time

Pingjun Jiang (Department of Marketing, School of Business Administration, La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, )
Bert Rosenbloom (LeBow College of Business, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 1 January 2005




Compared with the emphasis that service quality research has received in online marketing, much less work has been done on the role of price perception, service attribute‐level performance and satisfaction that unfolds over time, and their effects on customer retention. This paper seeks to fill this gap in the literature.


This paper builds propositions about the role of price and customer satisfaction at different stages on customers' intention to return. Research hypotheses are developed based on theory from the combined literatures of services, product pricing, and behavioral decision theory. Data from the e‐retailing industry related to two specific periods of shopping experience (at checkout and after delivery) are used in the empirical tests. Structural equation modeling is employed to test the hypothesized relationships.


The findings of this study indicate that after‐delivery satisfaction has a much stronger influence on both overall customer satisfaction and intention to return than at‐checkout satisfaction, and that price perception, when measured on a comparative basis, has a direct and positive effect on customer overall satisfaction and intention to return.

Research limitations/implications

The data are only available from surveying customers who have made purchases. Future study can investigate how satisfaction with shopping convenience has impacted customer acquisition. Measures of actual return behavior, as opposed to behavioral intentions, will also enhance the validity of the study.

Practical implications

This paper concludes that excellence pre‐sales service is not necessarily an advantage that allows e‐tailers to develop customer retention. In fact, e‐tailers might command higher customer retention through providing good performance in after‐delivery service and continuously generating favorable price perceptions among customers because both have a strong and positive influence on return intention.


This research conceptualizes and explores different aspects of satisfaction that unfold over time, regarding customers' whole shopping experience with a particular e‐retailer. It is a pioneer work that empirically investigates the relative contribution of at‐checkout and after‐delivery satisfaction in generating intention to return to an e‐tailer.



Jiang, P. and Rosenbloom, B. (2005), "Customer intention to return online: price perception, attribute‐level performance, and satisfaction unfolding over time", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 39 No. 1/2, pp. 150-174.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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