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Teltzrow et al.:Multi-Channel Consumer Perceptions


Maximilian Teltzrow Institute of Information Systems, Humboldt University Berlin teltzrow@wiwi.hu-berlin.de

Bertolt Meyer Institute of Psychology, Humboldt University Berlin bmeyer@psychologie.hu-berlin.de

Hans-Joachim Lenz Institute of Information Systems, Free University Berlin hjlenz@wiwiss.fu-berlin.de


We present a structural model of consumer trust in a multi-channel retailer. The model was developed on a sample of 1048 consumers who responded to a questionnaire linked to the website of a large German multi-channel retailer. The study identifies perceived privacy concerns as the strongest influence on trust in the e-shop, followed by perceived reputation and perceived size of the offline stores. We further differentiate between respondent groups based on their familiarity with the retailer’s e-shop and stores. In general, trust increases over familiarity with the retailer whereas the influence of perceived privacy has the same importance over different levels of familiarity. This research may be of interest to multi-channel retailers, who could use the findings to better align their offline and online marketing strategy. In particular, the results could be used to improve the website design and the delivery options of a multi-channel retailer. Internet-only retailers may consider an increase of marketing efforts in the offline domain.

Keywords: multi-channel retailing, trust, privacy, e-commerce

1. Introduction

The distribution of products across multiple sales channels — often referred to as multi-channel retailing — is the norm today. According to a recent survey, multi-channel retailers in the US increased their online market share from 52 % in 1999 to 75 % in 2003 — in contrast to Internet-only retailers, who lost market share correspondingly [Shop.org and Forrester Research 2004]. For some pure Internet retailers, changes towards multi-channel retailing

c a n b e o b s e r v e d 2 . T h e i n c r e a s i n g p r e v a l e n c e o f m u l t i - c h a n n e l r e t a i l i n g c a l l s f o r e m p i r i c a l r e s e a r c h o n t h e r e a s o n s for consumers’ appreciation of that business model. The main research question of this paper is to find out whether the perception of a retailer's physical stores has an influence on consumers' trust in the retailer's e-shop, which may ultimately lead to increased sales. Moreover, this paper aims at quantifying the strength of influence of the three antecedents of consumer trust perceived store size, perceived store reputation and perceived privacy of the e-shop.

2. Related Work

A number of surveys suggest that the Internet has a distinct influence on offline sales. In a series of studies conducted by the research consultancy Forrester, retailers claimed that about 24 % of their offline sales in 2003 were influenced by the Web, which is up from 15 % in 2002 [Shop.org and Forrester Research 2004]. A further study estimates that about half of the 60 million consumers in Europe with an Internet connection bought products offline after having investigated prices and details online [Markillie 2004]. A study by Doyle et al. [2003] analyzed the influence of store perception on online sales. 64.7 % of Internet users in 2002 claimed to sometimes or often look at



This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0308277, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Berlin-Brandenburg Graduate School in Distributed Information Systems (DFG grant no. GRK 316/2), and the Humboldt Foundation (TransCoop Program). The largest e-retailer Amazon.com, for example, features products and services from merchants with physical retail stores since 2002, e.g. Borders (04/02), Circuit City (08/01), Toys R Us.

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