A study of factors influencing customer perceived E-service quality in online shopping. Nowadays, with the rapid development of information and communication technology Internet has been played an important role in people’s life and regarded as a crucial tool to do business for them. More and more companies now are trying to make full use of it as a platform to start their businesses and develop their electronic commerce in internet (Dave Chaffey, 2004), with the purpose of gaining more competitive advantages and increasing their market share.
Many of them would like to create their own company websites and publish the information about their products including the prices and the features there, which facilitate customers well informed, better known the price and other information in time when they are seeking for service and products online. According to this way, companies can interact with customers directly, which is quick different form the way of traditional transactions.
However, with the increasing numbers of companies participating on the Internet market and the growth of online shopping, the competition among online retailers has become more and more fierce. It requires online retailers to look for some strategies to better compete with their competitors and attract customers to their online shopping service, which are the main issues for them. Typically, providing competitive and low price and more products selected to customers is considered as the major way for online retailers to improve their products and service selling and therefore to enhance their competitive advantages.
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But now, instead, more and more businesses are realizing that there is anther factor affecting their online business performance besides the above factors mentioned, that is, their online service quality offered to customers, which is also called electronic service quality. Jun et al. (2004) has claimed that the e-service quality differentiation has become the most important factor for online retailers to attract and retain their customers in online shopping.
Yang (2001) and Zeithaml (2002) also have stated that the key determinants of the success for online retailers are not only including the website presence and the lower price offered to customers, but also including the electronic service quality. Therefore, electronic service quality has been as a crucial factor that determined a company doing a successful business in internet market. As a result, many of retailers in China now are trying to focus on their online service quality and quick motivated by it. However, only knowing e-service quality was a crucial factor for doing successful business is not enough for online retailer.
The problem is before providing good e-service quality to customers and increasing the advantages, it is very important and needed for online retailers to know and understand how the customer evaluates their electronic service quality as a foundation for improving their selling, encouraging people to buy frequency and gain customer loyalty.
This research investigates what factors influencing Chinese customers perceived e-service quality in online shopping. This is helpful for online retailers better understand what kind of e-service quality their online customers want and what aspect need to improve for their service.
RQ: What are the factors influence customers perceived e-service quality in online shopping?
This study aims to:
- To examine how Chinese consumer perceived e-service quality in online shopping.
- To identify the factors influencing customer perceive e-service quality in online shopping.
Online Shopping in China
According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China is now the world’s largest Internet population country and the internet population in 2008 has been up to 298 million which was up by 41. % as compared with year 2007. With this rapid growth of the Internet population, the developments of online retailing has been becoming so fast.
According to iResearch, there were around 120 million people registered in internet as online shoppers in 2008 and the transaction value of online shopping in this year has reached to 128. 1 billion Yuan, which was up by 128. 5% as compared with year 2007. Industry experts expect that this growth trend of internet population and customers’ transactions online would be increased and extended in the next following years.
Concept of E-service
Quality Berry, Parasuraman and Zeithaml (1988) stated that service quality is a result which was perceived by customers that came from a comparison between customer expectations and desires addressed to the provider of products or service and the customer’s perception of the actual service received.
It also can be defined as a service conformance to customer desires and requirements, or the ability of the product and service that satisfying customer needs as they expected. According to Ziethaml (2002) and Ziethaml et al. 2002, e-service quality is defined as “the extent to which a website facilitates efficient and effective shopping, purchasing and delivery of products and services”.
Quality Many researches have been done for the dimensions of determining customers evaluating e-service quality over the last two decades. Zeithaml (2002) has argued that there are eleven dimensions affecting customers evaluating the e-service quality online, which include reliability, responsiveness, access, flexibility, ease of navigation, efficiency, assurance/trust, security/privacy, site aesthetics, price knowledge and personalization.
Jun, Yang and Peterson (2004) also have develop a framework consisting of 10 dimensions measuring customer service quality which include responsiveness (prompt response), reliability (accurate and efficient response), competence, access (accessibility of service and contact information), personalization, courtesy, continuous improvement, communication, convenience, and control while Janda et al. (2002) has claimed that there are four dimensions of measuring e-service quality in his framework; they are access, security, sensation, and information/content.
Besides, Parasuraman et al. 2005) has described that the efficiency, system availability, fulfillment and privacy are the core four dimensions influencing the core e-service quality. Moreover, Wolfinbarger and Gilly (2003) have discussed that the web site design is also a main dimensions affecting customers perceived e-service quality in internet market except reliability, security and customer service. What is more, Yoo and Donthu (2001) in their framework also have concluded that ease of use, aesthetic design; processing speed and security are the measures evaluating the e-service quality.
The research model is a formed from various past researches. E-service quality variables that consist of reliability and responsiveness are adapted from Santos (2003) and Zeithaml (2002), Jun, Yang and Peterson (2004); Security and trust are adapted from Zeithaml (2002), Janda et al. (2002) and Yoo and Donthu (2001); Besides, Website Design is adapted from Wolfinbarger and Gilly (2001, 2002) while easy of use is adapted from Yoo and Donthu (2001).
It is usually related to the design of the web site and regarding about the aesthetic elements of the website, such as the color, graphics, etc (Wolfinbarger and Gilly 2003). It is closely relative to how is the website looks; is it looking very good and attractive to people or very bad when they visit, and is the website much more creative than others. Gronroos et al. (2000) claimed that “a well-designed website creates an interest in the firm and its offerings, and it should also offer the users opportunities to reconstruct the website in their minds so that it matches their cognitive structures”.
Easy of Use
Loiacono et al. (2002) stated that ease of use usually is relative with ease of understanding, which involves these three parts. First of all, the web site labels should be easy to understand; Secondary, The text on the Web site should be easy to read; thirdly, the display pages within the Web site are easy to read. Perceive ease of use is usually closely bound up with messaging, browsing, and downloading activities. Appropriate graphic and structural site designed website usually help to achieve easy of use and relevant content with visual appeal and therefore reduce the customer frustration (Janda et al. 2002).
Reliability has been considered as one of the important factors that have the most influence affecting people on shopping online. It is the ability to perform the service consistently and accurately. Santos (2003) also has described that it is the ability of online retailers that delivering the promised service to customers accurately and consistently which is consisted of updating the web site frequency for them and replying to their enquiries promptly, etc. It is a measure of coming from customers’ perceptions that whether they should count on their merchants or not, especially when the time comes to fulfill the promise for them.
It is usually associated with the risk (Vijayasarathy and Jones, 2000). Online consumers usually extremely want to receive the items that they have booked on the internet market with the right quality and the right quantity, which was promised by the retailers before, and besides customers also would like them to be billed accurately (Kim et al. 2004).
Responsiveness is a willingness to help customers and provide prompt service (Chaffey, 2004). It usually measures whether a company can provide the appropriate information to its customers or not when there are some problems happened.
It is therefore a kind of abilities that dealing with complaints and promptness of the service effectively (Santos 2003), such as an arrangement for online guarantees and a mechanism for handing returns (Wang, 2003). Hence, providing correct and fast responses to customers usually can help them to resolve their problems timely. Thus, it is an important way to increase the convenience and reduce the uncertainty to customers for online retailers and showing them that they are customer-oriented (Gummerus et al. , 2004).
According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Security is the “quality or state of being secure”, which includes “freedom from danger” and “freedom from fear or anxiety”. Security also means something that secures including measures taken to guard against espionage or sabotage, crime, attack, or escape. In an information technology context, security is a set of procedures, techniques, and safeguards designed to protect the hardware, software, data, and other system resources from unauthorized access, use, modification, or theft (Davis and Benamati, 2003).
Trust Claire, 2005 has argued that trust is an important issue for online purchase and critical for their success. On the Internet market, trust is usually related to the process of buying and payment between the buyers and the sellers. Besides, trust is also shown on the reliability of the website and how the privacy and securities severed for customers. Moreover, the fulfillment of order, after sales service are also the main sources of trust. 5. Research Methods Research can be descriptive or explanatory. Description and explanation can be seen as part of a circular model of research.
This process can work in two ways: inductively or deductively (Veal, 2005). Inductive research is a study in which theory is developed from the observation of empirical reality (Yin 2003). The deductive process is used to test the hypothesis against data (Veal, 2005).
Quantitative and qualitative are two principle research methodologies (Hussey and Hussey 1997). Qualitative approaches involve gathering a great deal of information about a relatively small number of subjects rather than a limited amount of information about a large number of subjects.
Qualitative approaches are used when he researcher accepts that the concepts, terms and critical issues should be defined by the subjects of the research and not by the researchers. They are often used for the study of group’s particularly where interaction between group members is of interest. They are also used when exploratory theory building, rather than theory testing, is undertaken. The methods used to gather qualitative information include observation, informal, unstructured and in-depth interviewing, and participant observation (Veal, 2005).
Quantitative approach to research involves the gathering and analysis of numerical data. It relies on numerical evidence to draw conclusions or test hypotheses. To be sure of the reliability of the result it is often necessary to study relative large numbers of people or organizations-subjects-and therefore to use computers to analyze the data.
Typically, the aim is for the sample studied to be representative of some wider population, so that the results can be generalized to that wider population. The data might be derived from questionnaires-based, surveys, from observation or from secondary sources, such as sales data (Veal, 2005).
Method Based on the research methods identified above, the next step should be focus on the choosing of research methods to apply in the research. In this study, deductive research approach and quantitative method would be selected and used to do the dissertation. 6. Collection of Data
According to Boyce (2002), secondary Data is defined as fact and figures that already exist and that may be available to people who would like to access and use them for own purpose. Secondary data have the potential to play an important part in any research process, particular in the design of a project.
It provides background information that helps the researcher to understand the task more clearly, without it, the research would be difficult to ensure the validity and reliability. It is inexpensive and available quickly compared with primary data. Thus, in this research, secondary data would be widely used and to support this study.
Primary data are facts and figures that are newly collected for the project (Kerin et al, 2003). Most market research sets out to obtain primary data and the main methods used to do this are survey and focus groups and depth interviews.
Survey is often interviewing large numbers of people and asked themto fill in answers to questionnaires. In focus groups and depth interviews, small numbers of carefully selected people give their opinions in detail in an informal and unstructured setting (Boyce 2002). Primary data are usually far more costly and time consuming to collect than secondary data.
It is very crucial and important to determine the sample size of project. Generally speaking, the more sample sizes collected, the more accuracy the research.
In this research, the sample size of primary data will be medium scale and sent to over 200 survey respondents which are conduct to the group and individuals will select from consumer who are willing to complete the questionnaire. Around 100 survey respondents will be asked to fill in the questionnaires directly and the other 100 samples will be done online by sending emails to people.
Method of Data Analysis
The data gathered would be statistically analyzed and to see whether the hypotheses that were generated have been supported (Bryman, and Bell, 2007).
For this study, the researcher would use the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Science) to do the data analysis after collecting back the survey questionnaires from all the respondents. This dissertation will be presented several graphs and data figures to supported writing and facilities readers. Respondents’ information will be kept confidential as per university guidelines.
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