Online retailers must distinguish themselves in three aspects of a transaction: customer interaction with the Web site, delivery of the product and ability to address problems when they occur
Early research in e-commerce projected that online retailing would spiral into a never-ending price war, but recent research has shown that customers are more likely to pay higher prices to online retailers of high quality that they trust. But how do customers evaluate quality in online retailing? What are the specific aspects of an online transaction that customers value and use to distinguish one site from another? The authors explored these issues by surveying customers who had recently engaged in an online retail transaction to determine how they evaluate the quality of their experiences with online retailers. The results demonstrated that customers’ perceptions of quality and satisfaction with online purchases depend upon three things: interaction with the Web site, delivery of the product and how prepared retailers are to address problems when they occur. Of the three, product delivery has the strongest influence on customers’ satisfaction and future purchase intentions. The authors further break down each of the three aspects of quality to create a complete picture of what it takes to build a trusting relationship with customers in an e-commerce environment.