The purpose of this paper is to present a buying process for the multichannel consumer (MCC) that starts at online information search and ends at the offline retail channel and then seeks to determine the universality of such behavior across countries.
A structured questionnaire was administered to MCCs from Russia, Singapore and the USA. The model was estimated using partial least square and country comparisons were conducted with a multi-group analysis.
The empirical results validated the conceptual model. In country comparisons, there is both converging (online information search) and diverging (retail store) MCCs’ behavior exhibiting nuanced differences.
Future research should examine values of MCCs at the individual level so as to increase the generalizability of the findings.
The convergence of MCCs information search behavior suggests that there is an opportunity for companies to standardize their online information strategy to educate global MCCs prior to their visiting brick and mortar stores. In-store salesperson remains important and effective for MCCs in the USA and Singapore, but not Russia.
A new conceptual framework that integrates economic and psychology theories is presented to depict the shift of control tilting in favor of MCCs in the buying process and introduces the concept of “reversal” information asymmetry in which consumers perceive to have more knowledge than the vendors.
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