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Teltzrow et al.:Multi-Channel Consumer Perceptions

may have occurred through the self-selection of online participants. However, the use of a rotating banner added randomness to the selection of participants: Only about every sixth visitor saw the banner on the retailer’s home page. Moreover, we explicitly asked participants to provide only honest answers.

The results of Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky and Vitale [2000] suggest that perceived size and reputation may influence trust differently depending on the type of products offered, which has not been further considered in this study. The product sector of consumer electronics tends to be highly suitable for multi-channel retailing [Omwando 2002]. It could be that the observed effects are less significant for less Internet-suitable product portfolios. Levin, Levin and Heath [2003] have found that consumers’ preferences for online and offline services differ for different products at different stages of the shopping experience. The analysis of different product portfolios and their impact on the path coefficients in a multi-channel context should be analyzed in further work. Moreover, it would be interesting to further research if the higher level of trust in multi-channel retailers may justify a higher pricing strategy as discussed by Tang and Xing [2001].

Criticism can also be directed at the definition of measurement scales [Grabner-Kräuter and Kaluscha 2003]. We used scales that have only been successfully applied in studies of Internet-only retailing. The scales included relatively few items per construct due to the retailer’s request to keep our survey as short as possible. Though the results returned good values for Cronbach’s Alpha, scaling demands more attention in further studies. Also, it remains in doubt whether our findings can be adopted for English-speaking countries, as our questionnaire was completely in German and targeted German customers only.

The study analyzed cross-channel effects between Internet and physical stores. Future work should analyze the effect of an Internet presence on trust in physical stores. Moreover, the integration of further "media channels" (mail, television) and "institutional channels" (call center, sales force) would be an interesting aspect of further work.


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