Antecedents and Consequences of Customer Satisfaction: Do They Differ Across Online and Offline Purchases?

G. Tomas M. Hult, Pratyush Nidhi Sharma, Forrest V. Morgeson, Yufei Zhang
2019 Journal of Retailing  
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more » ... se notify us by emailing including the URL of the record and the reason for the withdrawal request. Abstract Retailers seek to utilize both online and offline purchase channels strategically to satisfy customers and thrive in the marketplace. Unfortunately, current multichannel research is deficient in answering what drives customers' satisfaction, and consequently their loyalty, differently when customers purchase online versus at a physical store. This gap in knowledge can be a significant concern for retailers due to the negative impact of having dissatisfied customers on their bottom lines. Using a version of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) model, we demonstrate several important purchase-channel differences in the antecedents of customer satisfaction and its subsequent effect on customer loyalty. Specifically, we show that when retail customers buy electronic goods online they view purchase value as a significant attribute in rating satisfaction, and are more satisfaction-sensitive when making repurchase decisions than when they purchase offline. On the other hand, the overall quality of the purchase experience and customer expectations are stronger drivers of customer satisfaction in the offline purchases. We provide evidence that these differences between the channels generally persist across customer demographics (gender, age, and education) and broader product categories, and we also discuss the specific contexts where they do not. Our work offers actionable guidance to retailers seeking to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty across both the online and offline channels. Moreno 2014). While traditional retailers with heavy equity in physical stores (e.g. Walmart, Macy's) have had to adapt to the online preferences of customers, many online retailers (e.g. Amazon, Bonobos) are conversely experimenting to enhance their offline presence by opening physical stores. In light of these heavy investments in building cross-channel capabilities by retailers at both ends, there is an exciting, yet untapped, opportunity to understand better how customers' purchasing experiences across channels influence their satisfaction and loyalty. Due to the inherent differences in the online and offline channels, customer perceptions and behaviors are likely to be very different when they purchase online versus offline, resulting in varied implications for the retail firms (Rajamma, Paswan, and Ganesh 2007). A deeper knowledge of how the antecedents and consequences of customer satisfaction differ in online versus offline purchase contexts can be crucial for retailers in designing effective strategies for operating across both channels, such as different pricing and marketing strategies tailored to the context. Given its high relevance, the research comparing online and offline purchasing has enjoyed a prominent role in the retail literature. Early studies by Degeratu, Rangaswamy, and Wu (2000) and Danaher, Wilson, and Davis (2003) (which was recently replicated by Saini and Lynch (2016) ), showed that brand loyalty differs in online and offline purchasing contexts. Shankar, Smith, and Rangaswamy (2003) showed that the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty is stronger in the online than offline context due to the "cognitive lockin" effect. Other studies have also utilized the online versus offline distinction to examine customers' behavioral intentions (Van Birgelen, Jong, and De Ruyter 2006) , choice (Campo and
doi:10.1016/j.jretai.2018.10.003 fatcat:vu5njwh5qbabnmvlcy4u2po76y