Online relationship quality: scale development and initial testing

Isabelle Brun (Université de Moncton, Moncton, Canada)
Lova Rajaobelina (Department of Marketing, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Line Ricard (Department of Marketing, École des sciences de la gestion, UQAM, Montreal, Canada)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Publication date: 28 January 2014



The purpose of this paper is to propose a reliable and valid integrative scale for online relationship quality based on both the relationship marketing and electronic commerce literature.


The scale was developed using the approach put forward by Churchill (1979). The scale development and validation process includes a qualitative exploratory phase, three pre-tests and a final study using an online questionnaire (476 members of a consumer panel).


The findings support a third-order integrative model of online relationship quality composed of three dimensions (trust, commitment and satisfaction). The final scale is composed of 21 items.

Research limitations/implications

The study shows a lack of discrimination between satisfaction and trust, which other studies have also found. As the scale is validated in only one sector, online banking, it should be tested and replicated in other contexts (e.g. insurance).

Practical implications

An instrument for assessing the quality of online relationships between banks and consumers is important for marketing professionals who want to determine their relational positioning and focus on those dimensions that promote long-term online relationships. The scale developed here can be used to assess customers’ perceptions of the quality of the relationship with an online financial institution, to segment those customers more effectively, and to improve targeting of marketing strategies and activities.


This study contributes to the enrichment of the body of theory and provides researchers with a tool for the further investigation of the quality of online relationships.



The authors would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Financial Services Management Chair of the University of Quebec in Montreal for making this research possible.


Brun, I., Rajaobelina, L. and Ricard, L. (2014), "Online relationship quality: scale development and initial testing", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 5-27.

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