The purpose of this research is to analyse the attributes of e-commerce websites such as Amazon and eBay to determine their impact on the buying pattern of consumers. This research will discuss the critical attributes of a website that ensure the attraction of customers and modify their patterns of purchasing from a theoretical perspective. One such example pertains to the placement of ads on an e-commerce website and that these ads are placed in such a way that ensures the customer can view them. Furthermore, this research will ensure the analysis of website attributes in great detail to determine the underlying factors that play a key role in influencing the buying pattern of the consumer. In addition, the research will specifically focus on two of the most used e-commerce website, Amazon and eBay, and determine their website attributes. In this digital era, companies are developing their websites to attract as many customers as possible and it is more common for an e-commerce company to start up their business with the development of a website and include attributes that would impact the buying behaviour of the consumer to sell their products. Hence, it is important to shed light on attributes that have an impact on consumer buying patterns and incline customers to purchase those products.
The study of Jadhav and Khanna (2016) mentions that the behaviour of buyers and consumers is impacted by internal and external factors which are also similar in the case of the online buying process. According to the study of Dedeoğlu et al. (2020) consumers are crucial for any business and perform a very imperative role. A similar author states that consumers are also considered as the critical component for the success and existence of a business. Therefore, according to the study by Tonnison and Tonnison (2019) businesses are now moving towards the online landscape and are effectively capitalising on the capabilities of the internet to provide improved standards of services or products to their customers or buyers. Similarly, the study by Pappas (2016) states that online consumers often select and choose shopping brands based on the choice of products, post-sales services, quality of the information provided, and various factors such as supply chain, social media, and brand value. However, the study of Nadeem et al. (2015) argues that the actual buying pattern and purchasing process of online consumers is based on the quality of a website. The same author mentions in his study that a good quality website design with appropriate information and customer service can generate sales and convert a potential browser into a consumer. Therefore, the study will focus on the buying pattern techniques used by Amazon and eBay through their websites.
This research aims to determine and analyse the key attributes of websites such as Amazon and eBay that impact the buying pattern of consumers and attract them to their websites. The following are the objectives of the study:
To determine the critical attributes of websites and buying patterns from a theoretical perspective
To determine and understand the impact of the attributes on consumer buying pattern
To determine key website attributes of Amazon and eBay that attract customers
To review the implication of website attributes for Amazon and eBay customers
The following are the research questions of the study:
What are the key features or attributes of websites from a theoretical perspective?
What is the impact of the attributes on consumer buying patterns?
What are the key website attributes of Amazon and eBay that attract customers?
What are the implications of website attributes for Amazon and eBay on buying patterns of consumers?
Entertainment, Trust, and Currency are some of the attributes of websites as described by the study by (Akram et al., 2018). Entertainment pertains to ensuring the inclusion of elements that promotes the factor of entertainment while using the website. Trust describes the factor of safety while making transactions on the website for making purchases, and Currency implies that all information on the website is updated which promotes the credibility and trust factor of the website (Akram et al., 2018). Currim, Mintz and Siddarth (2015, p. 12) explain that in the past, brick-and-mortar stores displayed their products in such a way that would motivate the customer to visit the shop and inquire more about the product that is displayed and perhaps even purchases the product as well. Similarly, in the current era of digital technology, e-commerce websites are also striving to achieve the same concept by displaying their product in such a way that would motivate the customer to buy the product. Similarly, Pizzi, Scarpi and Marzocchi (2014, p. 45) elucidate that although there are many types of e-commerce websites available today, and each of these websites has specific factors that influence the buying pattern of the consumer, all website owners ensure that they can cater to specific condition to capitalise and maximise higher revenues. According to the study by Menon et al. (2016, p. 5010), the author explains that there are two types of behaviours that consumers adopt when searching or visiting an e-commerce website. The first behaviour pertains to simply browsing different sections of products that are listed on the website and is labelled as an active consumer, who has the intention of purchasing a product but does purchase one. The second behaviour pertains to consumers who visit the website to purchase the product.
The study of Lin and Lo (2016, p. 44) describes the results that were published by Girish Mallapragada, Sandeep R. Chandukala, and Qing Liu in 2016 which investigated the attributes of websites and the products being displayed to find out customer shopping behaviour. The shopping pattern of 2000 customers was analysed by the authors over one year and the data included 773,262 sessions of browsing and 9,662 transactions at 385 online retailers in 43 categories of product. The researchers scored websites based on two functionalities: navigation and communication and their findings depict that website owner who is selling more utility products obtain benefits by having rich navigation functionality, and if hedonic products are being sold, then the website would be more effective by having rich communication functionality (Lin and Lo, 2016).
According to the study by Jeong and Koo (2015), many attributes influence consumer buying patterns, some of which are: Ease of Use, Product Information, and Customer Support. Some of these are discussed as follows.
Ease of Use: Amin, Rezaei and Abolghasemi (2014) explain that the attribute of ease of use of a website greatly impacts the buying pattern of the consumer. If too much information is being displayed on the website to the customer, then the customer is not able to locate the product they intend to buy and cannot find additional information about the product. On the other hand, if the website is developed cleanly with an uncluttered screen, efficient flow of information, and ease of navigation between categories and products, then the consumer spends more time on the website and can locate the product they intend to buy with additional information as well (Matic and Vojvodic, 2017).
Product Information: According to the study by Mosteller, Donthu and Eroglu (2014, p. 2488), product information is one of the crucial attributes of an e-commerce website that must be displayed to the customer. It has been noted that many customers do not purchase products due to the unavailability of additional information on that product, such as specifications, colour, guarantee or warranty, etc. Additionally, Cho and Sagynov (2015, p. 23) elucidate that since consumers can view the product in real time, they rely on the product information that is given on product websites to gauge the quality of the product and understand its functionality. Extensive product information available on an e-commerce website will motivate consumers to purchase that product.
Customer Support: Customer support is also one of the key attributes of a shopping website that influences the buying pattern of the customer. This pertains to the amount of help provided by the staff members of the website owners when customers encounter an issue with their product, transaction or delivery process (Tandon, Kiran and Sah, 2018, p. 60). If the customer support provided by an e-commerce website is excellent, then the consumer would be motivated to purchase a product from that website again, however, if there is little to no customer support, then the customer would not visit the shopping website again and would find other alternatives (McLean and Wilson, 2016, p. 606).
The study by Hasan (2016) discusses that various traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have switched to online methods of buying and selling products and services through websites. Furthermore, on global scale e-commerce has now become an important source for trading and transaction of products and services. The study of Sharma and Lijuan (2015) states that online websites are now considered as the primary platforms to generate sales and provide high-quality services to clients or customers. Therefore, the websites of businesses can provide increased revenues to businesses and provide them with the opportunity to change or alter the purchasing patterns of consumers. Similarly, the study of Arnold, Kiel and Voigt (2016) highlights that the level of competition among businesses is rising due to the rapid development of technology associated with the internet which results in companies using competitive online selling techniques to generate sales. Due to the increasing number of potential online consumers, businesses often fail to identify the needs and wants of the customers (Dedeoğlu et al., 2020). Therefore, this study identifies this problem and will focus on investigating the attributes of a website that influence the buying pattern of a consumer.
The study of Sharma and Lijuan (2015) discusses that the internet is now a powerful tool for businesses and most organisations are focusing their interests on selling their product or services online. Furthermore, according to the study by Jadhav and Khanna (2016), consumer buying behaviour is considered as the most essential factor to organisations and businesses looking to increase their sales and generate profit by maintaining sustainability. According to the study by Pappas (2016) number of factors are responsible for influencing the buying and purchasing behaviour of consumers. However, the study of Hasan (2016) argues that the website and its quality are the most important factors in determining the behaviour of online buyers. Furthermore, various authors have conducted studies regarding the factors influencing the behaviour and buying patterns of online consumers. However, a significant gap is present in the literature regarding online buying patterns and the influence of websites on consumers. Similarly, previous studies also fail to mention online sales through websites of reputable online brands. Therefore, the rationale of this study is to effectively investigate the website attributes on consumer buying behaviour by assessing the case of Amazon and eBay.
The significance of this research is that it will allow researchers, academicians, and customers to be knowledgeable of the key factors or attributes that influence the buying patterns of the customer when visiting online e-commerce websites, especially Amazon and eBay. The study of Chan, Cheung and Lee (2017, p. 205) depicts that online e-commerce websites employ use different marketing strategies on their websites to ensure that customers can purchase the product when they visit their website. For example, websites use pop-up advertisements as soon as the customer opens their website, which shows the “deal of the day” or the promotion for today, to ensure that customers view them and that their buying pattern is modified. Thus, this signifies that it is important to analyse the attributes of websites that are employed by different e-commerce website owners to ensure that they can modify customer buying patterns by promoting products.
The study of Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) mentions that the research paradigm is used in the research to deal with the basis, source, and progress of information for the research. Therefore, this study will apply the use of positivism. Study Ryan (2015) mentions that the research paradigm of positivism is applied by the researchers to analyse major differences in the research area. Similarly, the study of Thanh and Thanh (2015) discusses that the positivist approach utilises the factual knowledge of the study which is obtained through measurement and observation. Furthermore, the study will apply the use of positivism because the researcher will be focusing on objective techniques of data collection and interpretation.
The study of Saunders et al. (2012) discusses that the research approach is categorised into three distinct categories such as inductive, deductive, and abductive approaches. Therefore, the study will apply the use of the deductive approach. According to the study by Sik (2015) deductive approach is crucial for understanding the validity of the theories used in the research. Similarly, the study of Zalaghi and Khazaei (2016) discusses that the deductive approach is essential in confirming or rejecting the theory formulated for the research. Furthermore, the study will use a deductive approach because it will enable the researcher to explain the relationships that are developing between the variables and concepts. The deductive approach is also essential for the research because it allows measuring the concepts of the research quantitatively and generalising the findings of the research.
The research method suitable for the study will be the primary quantitative method of research. The study of Antwi and Hamza (2015) mentions that the quantitative research method is based on mathematical calculations in different arrangements. Similarly, the study of Rahman (2017) also mentions that the quantitative method of research allows the researcher to obtain data through questionnaires that include close-ended questions and different methods of regression and correlation. Similarly, the quantitative research method was suitable for the study because it enabled the researcher to research within shorter periods. Furthermore, the quantitative research method allowed the researcher to maintain a high level of standardisation in the research and easily compare the findings of the research.
The study will use a size of 100 participants for the survey questionnaire to investigate the attributes associated with websites that influence the online buying patterns of consumers. Furthermore, the target population of the study will be categorised based on gender, age, and professional background, the study will also focus on including participants at a global level. Similarly, the study will also include a population of consumers that are actively buying products from Amazon and eBay. The sampling method used in the study will be the non-probability sampling method and the technique applied will be a snowball sampling technique. According to the study by Saunders et al. (2012), the non-probability sampling method narrows down the members of the population participating in the study. Therefore, the study will use non-probability sampling because it will enable the researcher to consider the population of the study by subjective judgment. Similarly, the snowball sampling technique will allow the researcher to target primary data sources cost-effectively.
The data for this research will be collected through survey questionnaires. The study of Ponto (2015) mentions that the survey method of data collection is used to question participants of the research regarding the topic and then define the responses of the participants. The survey questionnaire will be suitable for the study because it will effectively describe certain characteristics or traits of the population selected for the research. Furthermore, the survey will enable the researcher to collect and analyse the primary data conveniently with a large number of respondents. The data analysis method used in the study will be quantitative data analysis through SPSS software. The study will also apply the use of correlation and regression which will enable the researcher to effectively analyse the developing relationships between the different variables. Specifically, the correlation analysis will be establishing the association between the attributes and consumer buying patterns. While the regression analysis will be analysing the impact of attributes on consumer buying behaviour.
The researcher will make sure to follow the ethical obligations of the study and ensure that the participants are not subjected to any sort of harm. Furthermore, the dignity and confidentiality of the research participants will be prioritised throughout the survey. Moreover, the data for the research will be obtained after the full consent of the participants before the study. The privacy of the participants will also be maintained and protected and the researcher will ensure a sufficient level of confidentiality of the research data. Furthermore, the researcher will access the information through online survey distribution through mail.
The research might be limited in some cases because of the oversampling which might lead to bias in the research. Moreover, the respondents might become hesitant in providing the name of their peers resulting in ethical concerns. Furthermore, the research can also become limited due to the expensive cost, limited duration of licensing, and regular updates of SPSS software which confuses. Moreover, the survey questionnaire can also cause an inability among participants to provide relevant information for the research. Bias among the participants might also cause inaccurate information for the research resulting in differences in understanding.
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