This chapter aims to give the reader further useful information that is needed to help create knowledge of the area that is investigated.
Online Buying Behavior
The internet offers a large amount of e-tailing stores today but the internet still has a lot of potential to grow and steal market shares from physical stores. A barrier that causes difficulties for online stores is that many consumers do not have the necessary expertise to use the online stores properly. They may have problems with searching techniques and possible ways of paying etc. Consumers must find it easy and convenient to make purchases on the internet. (Forsythe, Liu, Shannon & Gardner, 2006)
The buying behavior process when shopping for apparel online consists of several different aspects. In-formation searching behavior, purchasing behavior and the pleasure aspects are all of major importance when examining how consumers act when shopping online. Consumers gather information when browsing the store, which is used to make a decision whether to purchase or not. The internet provides a large amount of information and it is easy for consumers to get hold of enough information to make a purchase based on a rational decision. The consumer can reach all the important aspects when brows-ing, such as price, size, color etc. and the process of searching for information can therefore be con-nected to the purchasing behaviors. (Forsythe, Liu, Shannon & Gardner, 2006)
A good way to put it is to quote Shim et al. (2001, p. 401):
“The proposed intention to search for information online is a predictor of intention to buy online”. It is also very important to avoid occurrences such as annoying broken links and buttons which creates a negative feeling towards the e-store and it is the most common reason for consumers to leave the website. 90 percent of consumers leave because of a non-satisfying system availability (Internet Retailer, 2006).
The purchasing behavior is how the consumer acts when paying for the goods. It is very common that consumers simply abandon what they have put in the shopping cart (more than 50 percent) thus it is an area which is of high interest for online distributors of apparel (Ha & Stoel, 2004). The question is what makes this number of non-closing sales that high. According to Beck (2001) the most common reason for consumers to not close their sales is the lack of convenience, in other words the product risk and the financial risk when making the purchase. On the other hand, it is widely known that online apparel stores provide convenience and a great product variety and good prices. These could be one of the main reasons to why internet is a popular source to purchase goods and services.
The quality of a service is generally defined as the difference between expected service and perceived service (Gronroos, 1982). The quality results come from the comparison of the actual service received and the prior expectations of what that service should provide to the customer.
Customer satisfaction can be described as the meaning of the customer reaction in the context of the state of fulfillment and is showed through a positive or negative feeling towards the supplier regarding the net value of services received. McKinney at el. (2002) describes satisfaction more specifically for customers purchasing online and divide it into two important sources:
1. “Satisfaction with the quality of the website’s information content.”
2. “Satisfaction with the website’s system performance in delivering information.”
There are different components between men and women that the online retailer has to fulfill. The be-havior between genders differs and there are therefore different aspects that the online retailer has to consider when focusing on selling to men versus selling to women. Both researches from the past and more recent studies have suggested that men are more interested in using the internet than women as a tool to shop. Women have for example been found to generally spend less money on purchases online than men (Garbarino & Strahilevitz, 2004). Garbarino and Strahilevitz further explain that one possible explanation that these differences could exist is because women perceive the risk to make a purchase online higher than men do. Jen-Hung and Yi-Chun s (2010) states that women shop with more emo-tions and that to men it is more important with the outcome (the clothes), while for women the whole experience of going to a shopping mall (with social interaction etc.) is just as important as the apparel itself. This could be a reason to why women do not find online shopping as exciting as a shopping trip to a physical store. Although their interest for fashion and clothes make them buy more clothes online than men anyhow.
Hasan (2010) came to the conclusion in his research that men’s cognitive, affective and behavioral online attitudes are “higher” than women, which means that online shopping appears to be more at-tractive to men compared to women. Hasan (2010) further addresses that cognition was a key factor since the difference in this factor between the genders were significant. Women had a significant lower number and that might be an important reason to why women have a lower affection and interest to-wards online shopping than men. Interesting findings since women in Sweden are shopping more clothes and accessories online than men. Women tend to be browsing more than men instead of mak-ing actual purchases (Kim et al., 2011). Furthermore Kim at el. (2011) states that men are functional shoppers where convenience and time saving are most important while women tend to seek value in-stead, which is in line with what was discussed in the introductory chapter. Kim et al.’s (2011) research came to the conclusion that websites that were aiming towards women were better at providing infor-mation regarding shipping cost, sales tax and size charts. Even though women are more concerned about security online and men more concerned about convenience, information regarding basic con-cerns such as shipping costs should not be understood in a way that men are disregarding information like shipping cost. Instead, the difference lies in what is prioritized in terms of what is most important. Hu and Jasper (2004) found in their research that men tend to be utilitarian and impulsive shopper, in other words they are goal-oriented, whereas women tend to be hedonic and planned shoppers, since they seek pleasure and structure while shopping. Men spend generally less time than women on shop-ping but the impulsiveness can be an advantage for retailers in the marketing strategy (Hu & Jasper, 2004). Specific selling techniques must however be developed in order to grasp men’s attention in the short amount of time that the seller has. The question is if these findings by Hu and Jasper (even though it was not specifically targeting the fashion and clothing industry) are still accurate since men are generally getting more concerned about their appearance year by year. Therefore it is reason to believe that they spend more time on getting the correct clothes. Manrai et al. (2001) found already in 2001 that men in Eastern European Countries were more into fashion than women in that geographical area.
Men’s Buying Behavior
Women stand for 71 percent of all online retail spending on apparel and men for 29 percent of the spending (eMarketer.com). Compare this number with what we mentioned earlier that it is 2.4 times more likely that men will make a purchase compared to women. Therefore we believe that the interest for men to buy apparel online has potential to increase if these websites begin to focus more on men and their needs. Men might not have grasped the convenience and price opportunities of buying clothes on line yet. On the other hand it is widely known that women spend large amounts of both time and money on clothes generally (Dailymail, 2006), and therefore it is a probability that the 29 per-cent is just relatively small compared to women’s spending but large in terms of money in form of an absolute value. Add the fact that 38 percent of women found it problematic to not be able to touch the product when making a purchase online while only 33 percent of men thought that it was an issue (eMarketer.se). The absence of being able to touch and try products when consumers make purchases online is a problem for online stores. The numbers indicate, however, that it is not as important to men and therefore an indication of the potentiality of online clothing stores for men.
In the modern society it is more acceptable for men to engage in shopping activity since people create their identity through what kind of clothes they buy (Firat & Dholakia, 1998). Men are usually getting marked with stereotypes when it comes to shopping though. Otnes and McGrath (2001) investigate three stereotypes in their study and these are sometimes accurate to a certain degree but sometimes the stereotypes are quite far from the reality. The study was done in the US but similar alleviation of gender roles in purchasing situations which the study shows might also be attachable to the behavior in Eu-rope, which gradually has changed over time to become less strict to gender roles. The first which was mentioned is “Grab and Go” and suggests that men grab their products and exit the store as quick as possible. Otnes and McGrath (2001) came to the conclusion that this stereotype does not entirely re-flect the reality since men rather browse stores for bargains (although often in a competitive matter), evaluate alternatives and some men even like to shop together with friends. However there are differ-ences in the findings of investigations in this area. Grewal et al. (2003) have addressed that men are more conscious about time than women, and should therefore be less likely to spend time on shopping in the enjoyable relaxed way that women do (Noble at el., 2006). Online apparel stores should thereby have many potential customers who have not yet discovered the time saving aspect of purchasing online.
Hansen and Jensen (2009) found in their study which was executed in Denmark that men are “quick shoppers” which is a conception which is very similar with the “Grab and Go” concept. This contra-dicts Otnes and McGrath (2001) to a certain degree. The differences might be because of a time differ-ence or a possibility that Denmark is a country with conservative men. Otnes and McGrath’s (2001) study was focused to a certain degree on qualitative investigation and the outcome may therefore an-swer differently compared to a quantitative study, since respondents in interviews do not want to ap-pear pessimistic in some cases. A conclusion might also be that Hansen and Jensen (2009) have focused more on the differences between men and women and therefore they state that men are still “quick shoppers” compared to women even though men spend more time on shopping today (2012) com-pared to the past. However, a clarification regarding this issue how the situation is distinguished today (2012) in Scandinavia will be investigated in the empirical research of this study.
The second stereotype was “Whine and/or Wait” which refers to the assumption that men almost al-ways dislikes shopping and stand passively and sometimes with an urge to leave when shopping with a partner for example. Otnes and McGrath (2001) studies showed that many men enjoy shopping and put sometimes much effort in choosing the correct items. However, we can also find evidence which shows that men are less interested in fashion and clothing compared to women (O’Cass, 2004). These theories may seem contradictive. A possible explanation is that men are goal-oriented during shopping and wants to pick the correct garment for the target occasion but are still not as focused on fashion as women. Males focus on achievement and success when making purchases (Firat & Dholakia, 1998) and reaches satisfaction out of that purposeful behavior. Othes and McGrath (2001) takes it even further and found that men see shopping as a competition where he tries to “defeat” the retailer from achiev-ing profits in form of mark-ups. Men need to turn shopping into a challenging competition in order to enjoy it, unlike women who see shopping and the products to be entertaining per se. The self-construal theory is a way to summarize since it says that men have individualistic goals to a higher degree com-pared to women (Noble et al., 2006). Men basically collect information and compare different retailers in order to get the most advantageous products for the best prices available. Furthermore, men general-ly have the confidence that they can process more information than women and come to a rational de-cision. Men become more motivated to shop if the factors of information attainment and price com-parisons are involved (Noble at el., 2006)
The third stereotype which was mentioned in Otnes and McGrath’s (2001) study is the “Fear of the Feminine” and explained by that men supposedly avoids everything which can associate them with fe-male matters Otnes and McGrath (2001) came to the conclusion that men have step by step turned away from that stereotype and can now spend longer time on shopping, and can buy “feminine” prod-ucts, for example apparel and accessories. Online apparel stores should take these stereotypes their real-ity descriptions into consideration during the developing of their marketing strategy since the behavior of the target consumer group (men in this case) might not always be what the marketer believes at first. The behavior of men differs significantly between different demographical classifications, for example cultural differences in various countries, income and level of education. High levels of income and edu-cation usually can be a reason for men to be more modern in their gender role attitudes and then Otnes and McGrath (2001) new descriptions of today’s reality of the stereotypes becomes more valuable as a measurement. Thereby the old descriptions of the stereotypes are more accurate for low income men consumers and those who have a lower education (Jump & Haas, 1987).
Sweden is according to Hofstede (1980) a feminine country and by this he means that the residents are not dominant, aggressive and not very assertive in the relationship. Men in Sweden are therefore differ-ent especially compared to countries outside of Scandinavia. Men’s femininity in Sweden resulting in that men have to be more concerned about their looks, since the process of impressing on the opposite sex is a two-way communication, and not one-way as the situation is in many masculine countries. Swedish men could therefore be in greater need of online clothing stores than men in, for example, the US and it is of interest to investigate the issue of website features in Sweden and see how these differs from studies that have been executed in other countries.
Hofstede’s (2001) argues that it is possible to differentiate masculine and feminine characteristics in so-cieties. Hofstede believe that gender stereotypes in feminine countries are “rooted in universal biologi-cal differences” and in masculine societies they are “country specific” (An & Kim, 2007, p. 186). Since the gender stereotypes differs between feminine and masculine countries there is a large risk that for-eign studies regarding buyer behavior and features of interest in online stores do not apply on the Swe-dish society and market. Men are allowed to be gentler in feminine countries (An & Kim, 2007) and we believe that this fact will also affect men’s attitude and thoughts towards buying clothes online. Sweden might therefore differentiate from other countries on this basis as well. In feminine countries “the lib-eration of women means that men and women should take equal share both at home and at work” (An & Kim, 2007, p. 186). Since men have a more important role in feminine countries which might indi-cate that men also are also more involved in making clothing purchases, and in turn be more engaged in online clothing stores as well, compared to countries in which the society is more masculine.
1.1 Choice of Subject
1.4 Explanation of Frequently Used Terms
2 Theoretical Framework
2.1 Online Buying Behavior
2.2 Introduction to the AIDA Model
2.3 The Two-Factor Theory
2.4 Research Questions and Model
3.1 Research Method and Design
3.2 Reliability and Validity
3.3 Model and Hypothesis Creation
3.5 Removed Responses
3.6 Analytical tools
4 Empirical Findings and Analysis
4.1 Descriptive Analysis
4.2 Internal reliability
4.3 Factor analysis
4.4 Regression and Correlation
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