For e-commerce, act local and think global

Taking your e-commerce business to the global marketplace is not just a matter of translating the text on product details into your target countries’ languages and measurement scales, a new meta-analysis of e-commerce success reports.

Nearly every aspect of an online business needs to be adjusted to the local culture, tastes, environment, and industry-specific factors, researchers from Newcastle University’s Business School (UK), Rice University (USA), and the University of Rostock (Germany) wrote in the Journal of Retailing

The researchers studied e-commerce globally over the past 15 years. Their aim was to develop a conceptual framework, related to various components of e-service quality to its outcome that could offer useful guidance to online marketers.

e commerce authors1. Markus Blut 2. Nivriti Chowdhry 3. Vikas Mittal 4. Christian Brock.

Prof. Markus Blut, Prof. Vikas Mittal, Prof. Professor Christian Brock, and doctoral candidate Nivriti Chowdhry analyzed the impact of e-service quality on three key outcomes: 1. Repurchase intentions. 2. Customer satisfaction. 3. World of mouth.

They considered four dimension to quality: 1. Security & privacy. 2. Customer service. 3. Website design. 4. Fulfillment.

How they stacked up in different markets was a function of the local culture, whether independent or collectivist, and how the population views itself in relation to power..

How important the quality dimensions were, according to the authors, depended on which of these cultural attributes dominated each local market, as well as the regulatory environment and the industry-specific context.

For example, power distance is the extent to which individuals expect and accept inequality in a system – and accept rather than challenge a well-defined hierarchy. Hierarchy means ‘pecking order.’

If individuals feel distant from power, consumers expect and require structure, security and well-defined social roles.

The authors wrote:

“Such an expectation exists from both individuals and institutions, public and private, deemed more powerful. E-service providers may be such institutions.” (in which case security, for example, becomes relatively more important)

Prof. Blut said:

“E-service quality, while a globally relevant construct, should be carefully interpreted and implemented with a local mindset. Understanding a country’s cultural values can enable managers to better position themselves for improving overall e-service quality, and thus its outcomes.”

Citation: E-Service Quality: A Meta-Analytic Review,” Markus Bluta, Nivriti Chowdhryb, Vikas Mittalc & Christian Brock. Journal of Retailing. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2015.05.004.

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