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Developing a framework for measuring physical distribution service quality of multi‐channel and “pure player” internet retailers

Yuan Xing (Logistics Research Centre, School of Management and Languages, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
David B. Grant (Logistics Research Centre, School of Management and Languages, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 April 2006

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8499

Abstract

Purpose

Many traditional retailers use the internet as a complementary business channel and thus sell products through multiple channels. In contrast, “pure player” internet retailers only sell products via the internet. A proliferation of pure players over the past few years has intensified competition in the online shopping market and the question of who is better at offering physical distribution service quality (PDSQ), multi‐channel retailers or pure players, is open to debate. Despite PDSQ's importance in an electronic commerce environment there are few studies to date and most have focused on general service quality of internet shopping. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this phenomenon and posit a conceptual framework for further investigation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews the literature to develop variables and constructs for investigation following the first stage of Churchill's paradigm for scale development, which are presented in a framework based on the concept of order fulfilment as a key driver in electronic PDSQ, or e‐PDSQ.

Research limitations/implications

The framework is presented for future investigation, thus there is no empirical study in this paper.

Practical implications

PDSQ has strategic importance for retailers to achieve competitive advantage and offer superior customer service, particularly for pure players as they are considered intangible services compared to their multi‐channel competitors. This importance also extends to the e‐commerce environment.

Originality/value

Earlier work has provided insight into how e‐PDSQ, represented by availability, timeliness and reliability, is affected by pricing, transactions and firms. This paper extends this work and presents an e‐PDSQ framework to investigate differences between multi‐channel and pure player retailers.

Keywords

Citation

Xing, Y. and Grant, D.B. (2006), "Developing a framework for measuring physical distribution service quality of multi‐channel and “pure player” internet retailers", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 4/5, pp. 278-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550610660233

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited