HOW EXTERNAL AND MEDIATING FACTORS AFFECT CONSUMER PURCHASING BEHAVIOUR IN ONLINE LUXURY SHOPPING
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Recently, many studies have detailed how consumer perceptions and experiences affect attitudes and behaviours towards web service quality and e-satisfaction. Controversy arises when it comes to luxury brands. Luxury brands associate themselves with the concept of exclusivity and they position themselves in the market as such. But in online placement, how do they remain exclusive when information is accessible to everyone? Consumers of luxury products and services have varying opinions on the subject. Not all consumers are susceptible to online marketing and retailing. The perception of consumers is highly relevant when assigning the term ‘luxury’ to a brand. Therefore, a luxury brand has a certain personality and has an emotional and a creative appeal for the consumer. The aim of this research is to understand consumer attitude towards online luxury shopping websites before the purchase, during the purchase, and after the purchase. This study investigates the external factors that impact on consumer attitude toward purchasing online luxury shopping as a first step in the consumer online luxury shopping model. Further, it examines consumer attitude towards purchase life cycle, and the mediation role of consumer attitude between external factors and purchase intention. Moreover, this study investigates the relationships between different stages inside the purchase life cycle. This work is the first study focusing on the above aspects in a luxury context, the importance of which has been widely recognised in marketing literature but never explored empirically. Taking an exploratory approach, the study shows that in the case of brands in the premium luxury segment, external factors may have a positive influence on luxury perceptions, and more specifically on consumer attitude, which in turn may affect their intention to proceed to the online buying process. This study uses the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) as a theoretical grounding to study the adoption and evolution of a consumer online luxury shopping (COLS) model. A questionnaire was deployed online as a research instrument to collect the data from 313 online luxury consumers in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US). The data were analysed using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) with PLS software. Further analysis using multi group analysis (MGA) was conducted after the main analysis for comparison between country (UK and US), gender (Male and Female), and level of internet experience (Intermediate and Advanced).
The empirical results from this study show that, among seven external factors that affect consumer attitude (perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived brand value, e-WOM, e-service quality, social network site usage and social media marketing activities), e-service quality has the strongest impact on consumer attitude toward purchasing online. However, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness and e-word of mouth were non-significant, while e-service quality, social network site usage, social media marketing activities, and perceived brand value were all significant, and positively impact on consumer attitude. Moreover, the rest of the relationships from the COLS findings were significantly positive. Finally, the findings of this study provide noteworthy theoretical insights in terms of development of the COLS from the theory of extended TAM, and the COLS highlights the importance of the external factors, consumer attitude, and purchase lifecycle as the key elements of online luxury shopping. Moreover, the COLS model has been tested using multi-group analysis in three sets (country, gender, and internet level of experience). Furthermore, these findings bring valuable marketing implications highlighted by this study, and covers before purchase, during purchase, and after purchase, which shows what is happening inside the entire buying process for online luxury shopping. Marketers might also note that adopting an online luxury shopping website and recognising what factors can affect buying externally or internally can improve business efficiency.
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