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The role of E-quality within the consumer decision making process

Chao Wen (School of Business, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, USA)
Victor R. Prybutok (Department of Information Technology and Design Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Charles Blankson (Department of Marketing & Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Jiaming Fang (Department of Management Science and E-commerce, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test an empirically grounded comprehensive framework of e-quality that is the composite of the relationship between e-satisfaction and e-loyalty. This study’s objectives were: first, to develop a comprehensive measurement scale of perceived quality from an operations perspective, based on the classic Engel-Kollat-Blackwell (EKB) decision-making process; second, to develop a framework that integrates dimensions of quality and measures perceptions of e-quality during the customer’s decision-making process; and third, to examine the predictive capability of quality attributes in relation to service operations that rely on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

Following review of the related literature, focus group protocols were developed and interviews conducted. Based on the focus group input, surveys were developed and administered. Survey data from 717 online customers allowed testing the research hypotheses, and structural equation modeling allowed validation of the research framework.

Findings

The study determined that “e-channel quality”, “e-service quality” (including “web site quality” and “transaction quality”), and “product quality” positively influence customer e-satisfaction within an online operation. These constructs, in turn, influence customer e-loyalty in the e-commerce domain. The findings contribute valuable theoretical and managerial implications that can improve e-service operations.

Originality/value

The paper fills a relevant gap in the e-commerce and services operations literature by empirically developing and validating a new and robust quality measurement scale based on the EKB consumer decision-making process. The study also makes an important research contribution by providing empirical evidence that quality is pivotal in gaining customer loyalty and a competitive e-commerce edge.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to the anonymous IJOPM reviewers for the insight, constructive criticisms, directions and all the suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript. The authors extend gratitude to them. The authors thank the editor for his directions and support throughout the review process. Finally, the authors must thank all the students who participated in the focus group study and those who took part in the first and second surveys. This work was partially supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under Grant 71101018 for the fourth author.

Citation

Wen, C., R. Prybutok, V., Blankson, C. and Fang, J. (2014), "The role of E-quality within the consumer decision making process", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 34 No. 12, pp. 1506-1536. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-07-2013-0352

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited