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Distinguishing between the exploratory and the sense-making potential of online shopping environments : Conceptualisation and scale development

Demangeot, C. and Broderick, A.J. (2006) Distinguishing between the exploratory and the sense-making potential of online shopping environments : Conceptualisation and scale development. In: Academy of Marketing Annual Conference, 2007-07-01.

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Abstract

While there has been much scholarly interest about online shopping environments, little yet is understood about how consumers apprehend them overall. This paper explores the possible relevance of two concepts from the environmental and cognitive psychology literatures to organise the perceptual attributes of retail websites, based on the environmental needs fulfilled and the stimulus form. Focusing on the environmental needs dimension, it then develops scales and empirically tests the existence of two distinct higher-order constructs: the sense-making and the exploratory potential of environmental cues. The procedures used to develop and validate ten subscales are described, after which the higher-order factor structure is tested. The results support the contention that the exploratory and the sense-making potential of the environment are two distinct constructs which contain the following dimensions: content relevance, links relevance, intuitiveness and screen clarity for sense-making potential; visual impact, context familiarity, site-user understanding, informativeness, suggestions offering and non-marketer information for exploratory potential. The implications of this research for marketing researchers and practitioners are discussed.