Critical review of the e-loyalty literature: a purchase-centred framework

Aikaterini C. Valvi, Konstantinos C. Fragkos
2012 Electronic Commerce Research  
Over the last few years, the concept of online loyalty has been examined extensively in the literature, and it remains a topic of constant inquiry for both academics and marketing managers. The tremendous development of the Internet for both marketing and e-commerce settings, in conjunction with the growing desire of consumers to purchase online, has promoted two main outcomes: (a) increasing numbers of Business-to-Customer companies running businesses online and (b) the development of a
more » ... of different e-loyalty research models. However, current research lacks a systematic review of the literature that provides a general conceptual framework on eloyalty, which would help managers to understand their customers better, to take advantage of industry-related factors, and to improve their service quality. The present study is an attempt to critically synthesize results from multiple empirical studies on e-loyalty. Our findings illustrate that 62 instruments for measuring eloyalty are currently in use, influenced predominantly by Zeithaml et al. (J Marketing. 1996;60(2):31-46) and Oliver (1997; Satisfaction: a behavioral perspective on the consumer. New York: McGraw Hill). Additionally, we propose a new general conceptual framework, which leads to antecedents dividing e-loyalty on the basis of the action of purchase into pre-purchase, during-purchase and after-purchase factors. To conclude, a number of managerial implementations are suggested in order to help marketing managers increase their customers' e-loyalty by making crucial changes in each purchase stage. No problem facing the individual scientist today is more defeating than the effort to cope with the flood of published scientific research, even within one's own narrow specialty. Bentley Glass [70, p. 583] Up to this point, various studies have tried to explain the concepts of loyalty and satisfaction in online markets as well as the potential factors that influence them [37, 154, 197] . However, many online companies fail to cultivate e-loyalty because they are not aware of the mechanisms involved in generating customer loyalty on the Internet [169] . To the best of our knowledge, and despite the importance of e-loyalty for a business's success in the online market, there is a lack of comprehensive and systematic reviews on e-loyalty that incorporate empirical results from the last decade. Hence, the purpose of this study is to concentrate all the available empirical literature on e-loyalty as studied in e-commerce settings and to answer the following questions: 1) What instruments are currently available to assess e-loyalty? 2) Is there a common definition of e-loyalty? What are considered to be its most widely accepted antecedents? 3) What are the limitations of current research in the e-loyalty literature? Methodology Literature Search The literature review was conducted sourcing the following electronic databases: Web of Science, Scopus, Business Source Premier, ABI Inform, and Google Scholar. Search terms included different combinations of -e-loyalty‖, -web loyalty‖, -online loyalty‖, -web‖, -e-commerce‖, -intentions‖, and -repurchase intentions‖. Searches extended until July 2011 with no cut-off date for past studies. Only articles written in English were included. Articles could be from conference proceedings or journals, but only records with available abstracts were included. Dissertations, theses, and other material from the -grey literature‖ were excluded [170, 208] . We included studies that satisfied the following criteria: a) They were sampling or experimental surveys and reported quantitative results and b) They had e-loyalty as a dependent variable in the model the paper tested. Qualitative studies were excluded due to the present review's interest in instruments used for measuring e-loyalty and their psychometric properties. Also, methodologically, a critical review of qualitative studies assesses different concepts (e.g., sampling, coding. etc.) than one of quantitative studies, while conceptually they are in majority theory building and not theory testing papers [53]. Our aim is to offer an evidence-based approach for all research questions based on tested theories. Our search method also resulted in papers that investigated loyalty in mobile commerce (m-commerce) settings, loyalty towards social networking sites and online gaming platforms, and certain attitudes towards websites. These papers were excluded, since papers studying loyalty behaviours in e-commerce and marketing settings were the primary interest. The next step in the data collection process involved a type of snowball sampling technique: the references listed in the obtained studies were used to locate additional studies [80, 154] . Also, major review papers were screened for references to ensure that all suitable papers were included. Our search method resulted in 3,128 academic papers, which were downsampled to 217 according to the inclusion criteria. The screening procedure is shown in Figure 1 .
doi:10.1007/s10660-012-9097-5 fatcat:h7dvaevd45gpnbzusruj5opacy