Is There A Global Multichannel Consumer?

This purpose of this article is to present a buying process for the multichannel consumer (MCC) that starts at information search (pre-purchasing stage, online) and ends at the retail channel (purchase stage, offline) and then seeks to determine the universality of such behavior across culture.

Abstract: 

Structured Abstract:

Purpose 
This purpose of this article is to present a buying process for the multichannel consumer (MCC) that starts at information search (pre-purchasing stage, online) and ends at the retail channel (purchase stage, offline) and then seeks to determine the universality of such behavior across culture.

Design/methodology/approach 
A conceptual framework that integrates economic theories (bounded rationality, information asymmetry, signals from principal/agent theory) and the Theory of Planned Behavior (perceived control, purchase intention) is presented to depict the shift of control tilting in favour of MCCs in the buying process. A structured questionnaire was administered to MCC’s from  Russia, Singapore  and the U.S., three culturally different markets.  The model was estimated using PLS and country examined by applying a multi-group analysis and comparing the paths.  

Findings
The empirical results validated the conceptual model with multiple paths from bounded rationality, information asymmetry, signals, and perceived control leading to purchase intent. In the comparison across countries, there is converging MCCs behavior in the pre-purchase stage. However, diverging MCCs behavior is present in the purchase stage exhibiting nuanced cultural differences.

Research limitations/implications
Future research should test the model in other markets and examine cultural values at the individual level so as to increase the generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications
The results of this study suggest that in-store salesperson remain important and effective for MCCs in the U.S. and Singapore, but not Russia. The convergence of MCCs information search behaviour suggests that there is an opportunity for companies globally to standardize their online information strategy in order to educate global MCCs prior to their visiting brick and mortar stores.  

Originality/value
This is one of the first studies to examine MCCs’ control shift, this work compares MCCs from Russia, Singapore, and the United States by examining their buying process at the retail store. This paper also introduces the concept of “reversal” information asymmetry in which consumers perceive to have more knowledge than the vendors.

Key words: Multichannel Consumer, Reversal Information Asymmetry, Russia, Partial Least Square, Mediating Effect    

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Authors: 
Rippe, C.
Weisfeld-Spolter, S.
Yurova, Y.
Sussan, F.
Year of Publication: 
2015
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
International Marketing Review
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
3/4
Pages: 
329-349
Publisher: 
Emerald
Publication Language: 
English
ISSN Number: 
0265-1335
DOI: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IMR-10-2013-0225
Boyer's Domain: 

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