Analysis of Clothing Websites for Young Customer Retention based on A Model of Customer Relationship Management via the Internet
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In today's era of intense competition for acquiring and retaining customers, customer retention has become a major issue and a key objective in modern retailing. With the emergence of new information technologies, the Internet offers new possibilities for customer retention through the management of relationships between marketers and consumers. Little empirical research has addressed the role of Internet websites in retaining customers for particular brands or at particular stores. The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of the attitudes of a sample of young consumers aged 18 to 22 toward their favorite websites on intentions to purchase through the Internet and channels other than Internet clothing websites. The data were collected using an online survey with a structured questionnaire. The subjects of the study were 414 male and female undergraduate and graduate students at Virginia Tech and The Ohio State University, who were aged 18 to 22 and non-married. Several hypotheses were put forward and results except for one hypothesis were supported. Factor analysis, cluster analysis, factorial MANOVA, canonical correlation analysis, multiple regression, path analysis, and t-tests were employed to test the research hypotheses on the relationships among the variables. The factorial MANOVA results showed that shopping orientation and previous online shopping experience affected the evaluation of general clothing website characteristics, as well as the evaluation of favorite clothing websites. The canonical correlation results revealed that the product information, customer service, and navigation factors represented the favorite clothing website characteristics and were well predicted by the same constructs of the general clothing website characteristics. The path analysis revealed that attitudes toward favorite clothing websites were positively related to intentions to search for information at favorite clothing websites, and that intentions to search for information at those websites were positively related to intentions to purchase from those websites as well as from channels other than Internet clothing websites. Attitudes toward favorite clothing websites were directly and positively related to intentions to purchase clothing items from favorite clothing websites, and were not directly related to intentions to purchase clothing items from channels other than Internet clothing websites. The results also showed that shopping orientation affected intentions to search for information on one hand, and intentions to purchase clothing items from favorite clothing websites on the other. The online information search and purchase groups were significantly different in their intentions to purchase clothing items from their favorite clothing websites. From the results of the present research, it is concluded that Internet websites play a pivotal role in forming consumers' attitude toward the websites, which eventually lead to their information search and purchase intention from the websites. In addition, consumers' online information search intentions influence their purchase intention at channels other than Internet. Thus, by establishing effective websites, marketers can retain their customers through multiple channels including the Internet, brick-and-mortar stores, and catalogs.
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