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Conceptualising consumer behaviour in online shopping environment

Demangeot, C. and Broderick, A.J. (2007) Conceptualising consumer behaviour in online shopping environment. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 35 (11). pp. 878-894. ISSN 0959-0552

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This study adopts a holistic approach to consider how consumers perceive online shopping environments. The conceptual model proposes that consumers perceive these environments in terms of their sense-making potential and exploratory potential, and it considers the influence of these on user involvement with the website, shopping value and intention to revisit. A survey was administered to 301 respondents after they had shopped on a specific website for 8 minutes. Structural equation modelling was used to validate the measures developed and test the hypothesised model. Sense-making and exploratory potential are distinct constructs; exploratory potential mediates the relationship between sense-making potential and involvement. Furthermore, involvement is essential in producing shopping value and intention to revisit. The study highlights the importance of the exploratory potential of websites since sense-making is necessary but not sufficient to involve customers with the content of a site. It reveals that in spite of sensory limitations and consumers' possibly more instrumental orientation in online contexts, they are still very sensitive to the shopping experience for its own sake. Managerial implications: The two concepts of sense-making and exploratory potential and their ten dimensions provide marketers with their own, consumer-focused, language when discussing the aims of their website with information systems and design specialists. This study suggests that the distinction between sense-making and exploratory potential is a pertinent and parsimonious organising framework to understand holistically how online shopping environments are perceived and processed by consumers when they shop online.