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Online shopping has transformed into one of the most popular channels, both for consumers and suppliers. It provides a broad range of benefits such as 24/7 opportunity to purchase, online catalogues, comparative pricing, cost efficiency, less time consuming and a lot more. These are the reasons why I believe that this channel is likely to grow in greater popularity in the future. In this aspect I focus on recognizing the motivational factors of online shopping. Once these factors are identified, online sellers would be able to enhance the popularity of this distribution channel at greater depth because in my project I will try to find the forces that drive consumers to buy online. I believe that in the development of the future characteristics of e-commerce, future patterns of buying behaviour would play a significant role. Furthermore my research would reveal emerging trends which can be considered by online companies in the development of their promotions.
The aim of the research is to look into the various factors which drive consumers to shop online and reveal the features that drive buying behaviour and also to underpin the most likely online shopping future patterns.
"What factors motivate consumers to shop online?" and "How consumer buying behaviour and needs are likely to affect future trends in online shopping". An investigation.
The objectives of my research is to explore the issue of online shopping and to specifically address the set research question. In order for me to successfully address the primary question, a number of research objectives are developed to establish clear boundaries of the present project.
Consumer motivation in online shopping
This objective will focus on the key drivers acting as impetus for consumers to pursue online shopping. I would not only focus on internal motivational factors but also on revealing external promoters of online purchases (e.g economic conditions)
Emerging trends in online shopping(critical evaluation of benefits and weaknesses)
As online shopping continues to increase, both organisations and consumers are expected to be better-placed with having a good understanding of where online shopping trends are heading. (Gramley, 2008)
Online buying behaviour and the development of e-commerce
The objective aims at evaluating how these drivers are impacting the online channel as an alternative channel for making purchases.
Future purchasing trends
I would develop proposition, based on the research findings, of how would online purchasing transform in the future and what effect will it have on online distribution channels. A number of new buying behaviour trends and needs would also be outlined to emphasize the impact of the new purchasing trends.
The main academic domains which I will explore are "buying behaviour" and "online purchasing". These are rich in literature and therefore I am confident in developing a credible literature review foundation for addressing the research question successfully.
My aim is to look deeply into the characteristics of consumer buying behaviour and then narrowing down the research scope to online buying behaviour, such as advantages and disadvantages, motivation for buying online, online channels that consumers would prefer to use, external factors that predispose to online purchasing, etc (Arnould et al., 2002: Chaudhuri, 2006: Hensen, 2006). I will also explore "the risk and advantages" with which online buying can be associated. There is rich literature on the topic, some authors identify online channels as important motivators of planned buying behaviour ( i.e consumers have the ability to browse, compare prices and make their choices) (Barringston and Pettit, 2007). However, other authors underline the risks of online buying (i.e credible websites, secure online payment, quality of products etc) (Hansen, 2006). On the other hand, there are research findings which recognize offline channels as greater motivators for impulsive purchases as store environment can often predispose to irrational purchases (i.e till promotios, store fragrances, music, staff behaviour, customer service etc). ( Dawson et al. 2006: Foxall and Goldsmith, 1994).
Bosnjak, Michael; Galesic, Mirta; Tuten, Tracy Personality determinants of online shopping: Explaining online purchase intentions using a hierarchical approach. Journal of Business Research, June 2007, Vol. 60 Issue: Number 6 p597-605, 9p; Abstract: "What determines whether one purchases products online or through another channel?"
Kim, Jong Uk; Kim, Woong Jin; Park, Sang Cheol.Consumer perceptions on web advertisements and motivation factors to purchase in the online shopping Computers in Human Behavior, September 2010, Vol. 26 Issue: Number 5 p1208-1222, 15p; Abstract: "The principal objective of this study was to investigate the mediating and moderating effects of product involvement and trust toward websites in relation to the effects of the attributes of web advertisements on customers' purchase intentions."
Services purchased at brick and mortar versus online stores, and shopping motivation Journal of Services Marketing, May 2007, Vol. 21 Issue: Number 3 p200-212, 13p; Abstract: Purpose - This study seeks to explore the idea that consumers select a particular shopping mode - i.e. bricks and mortar versus online outlet - based on their perceptions about whether a product or service is best bought from one or the other.
http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/social_sciences/report-54694.html "Consumer behaviour expert reveals what tempts online shoppers to surf sites"
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?id=2358 An experimental measure of Internet retail sales: Changes to methods
Information paper describing changes to the Internet retail sales methodology
Author:Â Craig H McLaren
"This article outlines planned methodological changes in the experimental internet retail sales estimates from the ONS Retail Sales Inquiry. A comparison between the current published value estimates and the estimates including all the methodological changes is presented."
http://www.learnmarketing.net/consumer.htm (contains information about consumer buying behaviour)
Evans, Martin (Martin J.) Consumer behaviour / Martin Evans, Gordon Foxall and Ahmad Jamal 2nd ed. hichester ; Chichester : Wiley : John Wiley, 2009
Consumer behaviour: A European perspective. Third Edition. Micheal Solomon, Gary Bamossy, Soren Askegaard, Margaret K. Hogg. 2006. Prentice Hall
Consumer behavior / Leon G. Schiffman and Leslie Lazar Kanuk 9th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, c2007[i.e. 2006]
Intended Method(s) of Data Collection
The present dissertation will be developed through the use of multi-method strategy, which will be comprised of both primary and secondary research. In this respect, I would rely on grounded theory as the basis of the secondary strategy (Saunders et al., 2003). In the context, of the primary research strategy I intend to use a combination of questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Questionnaires would provide me with grater scope of findings, whereas in-depth interviews would enable me to stay on track with valuable issues in the realm of the topic. Furthermore, I will analyze the extracted findings from the primary research through SPSS. This would provide me with the ability to manipulate large amounts of data and develop credible findings. Also my dissertation will approach the research question through an inductive research strategy. The main difference between deductive and inductive approach is that in explorations which are influenced by deduction, the writer develops hypothesis, which is challenge, proved or disproved. On the other hand, in the inductive research approach the author develops arguments and propositions with the gradual flow of the exploration, which would prove the dissertation with a more flexible research structure. I recognize a number of limitations with which the dissertation can be associated. The limitation which might place some constraints in the research process is that he project is conducted under university requirements. In this respect I have limited dissertation size and time which constraints my ability to apply other research strategies such as action research, long observation or experiment.
The result will be based on the primary research of questionnaires and in-depth interviews. I will develop a number of strategies to successfully conduct primary research. Questionnaires will be developed with a specific non-probability sampling method. Although online purchasing is a buying behaviour that can be recognized to be practised by many customers, I would specifically focus on two groups of consumers: regular buyers and consumers who avoid purchasing online. This would contribute to my ability to clearly identify the motivational factors for online purchasing. In the context of in-depth interviews, I would interview regular online buyers to carefully identify the reasons for their purchasing drives. I would not focus on large amount of interviewees but rather on longer interviewing sessions. I plan to cover people of both gender and all age groups with different disposable incomes to get as much as statistics and details as possible.