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02/13/2012

Research Proposal On What Is The Factor Influence The Customer Buying Behavior Towards Online Shopping Of Clothing In London


What is the factor influence the customer buying behavior towards online shopping of clothing in London

 

I Proposed Working Title

            The working title of this dissertation is initially drafted as - What is the factor influence the customer buying behavior towards online shopping of clothing in London.

II Research Background/Context

Understanding the customer behaviors should move along with customer expectations, customer requirements and their purchasing trend. Since there are several internal and external factors which impact the consumer buying decisions, the consumer buying process is multifaceted (Stockford, 2008; Elliot, 1990). These factors that influence the purchasing decision of an individual is manifested in the stages of consumer purchase behavior as well as the type of buying behavior the individuals possess. Because of the fact that a customer evaluates a product or service, it would be plausible to acknowledge the motivations that influence customers to the evaluation process.

Particularly, understanding the customer buying behaviors is one of the most challenging aspects in marketing as it understands why customers do what they do or don’t. Acquiring this knowledge, however, is critical for marketers since understanding such sheds light on important things that buyers may consider as well as suggest important influences on consumer decision-making (Kotler and Armstrong, 2004). The interests of the consumers are uphold in such a way that marketers will be able to design marketing campaigns aligned on consumer requirements (Sheth, Gardner and Garrett, 1988). The factors that affect how the consumer makes decision is also complicated. Since every individual is different, it would be detrimental to formulate rules that explain how buying decisions are made. 

Why the consumers buy is perhaps one of the questions that yield many answers (Zemke and Woods, 1998). Nonetheless, there are internal and external influences that could be associated with consumer buying behaviors. Internal influences include perceptions, knowledge, attitude, personality, lifestyle, roles and motivation. External influences, on the other hand, are culture, group membership and purchase situation. How both of these influences apply to online shopping is not yet known. Specifically, which among these individual buying influencers are applied in purchasing apparel products online is also not known.

III Organization Background

This study will focus on one online purchase clothing company which is ASOS.com. Established in June 2000, ASOS is becoming UK’s largest independent online fashion and beauty retailer. There are over 19,400 branded and own label products that are available and 1,000 new lines are added each week. ASOS is primarily aimed at fashion forward 16-34 year olds. Currently, ASOS is attracting 5.4 million unique visitors a month and has 2.4 million registered users.

IV Rationale for the Chosen Topic

            Therefore, this study will be a significant endeavour in gaining in-depth understanding of the behavior and attitude of consumers when it comes to online shopping for apparel. This study will be helpful to online retailers as new recommendation of strategies could emerge from this research. This research will be also significant to online retailing research as it may unravel useful strategies for companies that belong in the online retailing and apparel industries. Moreover, this study will be an important contribution to a body of research online shopping and apparel e-tailing. The study is also significant to MBA students as it may serve as useful reference for future researchers and those who will seek information about consumer attitudes and behavior and online shopping. Overall, it may help boosts the growth of online consumerism research.

V Research Questions

            The key problem that the research will address is in what ways and to what extent do consumer buying behaviors influence online shopping for apparel. A common knowledge is that more than 75% of United Kingdom residents had shopped online, and with clothing, accessories and shoes as one of the top three purchase categories. With this, the following research questions are formulated:

1)    Among internal and external influencers, which among these influences consumer buying decisions of London online shoppers most?

2)    Why do these internal and external influences affect London online shoppers?

VI Research Objectives

            The main aim of this research is to evaluate factors that affect consumer buying behaviors among London online shoppers. As such, this study purports to:

  • Analyse influences of consumer buying behaviors affecting online shopping of apparel
  • Determine influences that most affect behaviors of London online shoppers

VII Literature Review

This study encompasses issues on the consumer decision-making process with emphasis on the consumer buying behaviors. Consumer behaviors refer to the decision-making processes and actions involved in purchasing using a product. In order that online shopping companies could understand the consumer behavior, there is the requirement to create the marketing mix which will give optimum utility to customers. Therefore analyzing the what, where, when and how consumers buy (Haugtvedt, Machleit and Yalch 2005; Parcon 2007, pp. 89-90).

As Wong (2000) argued, customer’s actions are based on the customer’s reaction in using the product or service, which means that the product or service should leave a good perception to the customer to consider him or her satisfied. When it comes to understanding the consumer behavior, according to Stanford (2002), expected vs. certain values of choices; comparison of actual outcomes to expected values; the behavior of the utility function; qualifications to the principle of diminishing marginal utility; and managerial implications of utility relationships are the basic concepts to consider. When it comes to fashion shopping, the customers’ behaviors and attitudes are commonly influenced by economic, cultural and aesthetic dimensions.   

  • Types of consumer behavior

The types of consumer behavior are determined by level of involvement in purchase decision and buyers’ level of involvement based on motivation. The first determinant focuses on the importance and intensity of interest in a product on a given situation while the second determinant deals with the information about a certain product and brand. There are personal, social and economic risks and that the higher the risks, the higher the involvement for a consumer.

            Even so, consumer behavior could be categorized as routine response or programmed behavior, limited decision-making, extensive decision-making and impulse buying. Programmed behaviors are inclined for low involvement frequently to purchase low cost items. These automatic consumptions need no researching and rigorous decision-making. The second behavior is the occasional purchasing of product which requires information about unfamiliar brand hence a significant amount of time in gathering information. In the third behavior, high degree of economic, performance and psychological risks assessments is considered while for the last behavior, it necessitates no conscious planning at all.

  • Factors that affect consumer behavior

While at it, it would be plausible to take note of the factors that affect the consumer buying process: personal, psychological and social. Personal are unique to an individual consumer including the demographic factors like gender, race and age. Personal factors greatly affect the decision-making especially because risks and utility are also very individualistic (Parcon 2007, pp. 91-93).

Consequently, the psychological factors include motives, perception, ability and knowledge, attitudes, personality and lifestyles. Motives are the energizing force onward satisfying a goal or a need. Perception refers to the process of selecting, organizing and interpreting information inputs in order to produce meaning. Changes in consumer attitude are based on information and experience and the capacity to learn these, same with attitude which are also learn from interaction with other people. Knowledge, on the other hand, is the familiarity with the product and expertise. Internal traits and behaviors; consistency with self-concept affects consumerism as well as the consistent patterns of living of our lifestyles (pp. 93-94).

Consumer attitudes impact consumer behavior more compared to other factors. Our attitude represents our likes and dislikes, thus preferences and decisions. As a lasting general evaluation of a thing, attitudes could serve a multiple purpose such as utilitarian, value-expression, ego-expression and knowledge. The variety of consumer attitudes suggest that there is a very different set of attitude concerning a product, the brand name and association, the retailer, the company and the channels of distribution as well as the means of communication. There are three elements which govern consumer attitude as: belief – the psychological association based on knowledge between the product and an attribute of such product; affect – as influenced by affective response or emotive association in products; and intention – the behavior component of consumer attitude based on the motives of the person (Baker 2002, p. 123).

Social factors, finally, affect the consumer cognition via opinion leaders, roles and family influences, reference groups, social class and culture and sub-culture. Opinion leaders serve as the spokespeople wherein consumers draw from their familiarity with the person himself/herself. The roles of the people consider the expectations of you from your position within a given group. Family, where majority of behaviors are patterned, has its own life cycle which characterizes unique consumer demands. As such, consumer behavior begins inside the family with a mixture of family and individual consumer decision-making. As an individual identifies with a group, s/he acquires many of the values, attitudes and behaviors of the group members. Social class, which also operates in a larger cultural schema, distinguishes the preferences as well as the buying capacity of the people, affecting their decision-making and actual purchasing. Finally, culture or the set of values, ideas and attitudes dictates the level of conformity among its members. Given the fact that these are transmitted to posterity and other culture as well through acculturation, there is the emergence of changing trends and patterns of behavior regarding consumption and consumer behavior (Parcon 2007, pp. 94).  

  • Consumer buying process

The consumer buying process is set in six stages: problem recognition, information search, alternatives evaluation, purchase decision, purchase and post-purchase evaluation. The first stage points to determining the difference between desired state and actual condition. Product information could stimulate this stage onward to gathering information. Searching happens internally and externally, the first through memory and the second through marketer dominated sources or comparison shopping aside from word of mouth. The success in this stage could lead to having an evoked set of alternatives whereby the consumer establishes criteria prior to weighing them. After the choice has been made, actual purchasing based on product availability will be considered. Whether the consumer makes the right decision or not in purchasing will be contemplated on the last stage (pp. 95-96). This last stage is best explained by the cognitive dissonance theory.

  • Global fashion retailing

Azuma and Fernie (2003) claim that fashion is perceived to be one of the most essential parts of civilization as it reflects the great culture of the past. Likewise, fashion exemplifies the changes within a given society over time. The authors also maintained that the materialization of global fashion transformed the way fashion was perceived in the modern world, changing the focus on standardization and low-cost advantage. Through fashion globalization also, the migration of fashion production offshore as well as the resultant dependence on non-traditional ethos of fashion designing imposed threat to domestic small fashion players. While also, the condition impedes them from ‘creating intrinsic fashion on a small but sustainable scale. As said by Yarwood (1992), fashion is a more accurate barometer because of its inherent universality attribute whereby fashion affects everyone. Fashion too characterizes the personal expressionism of life at a given time and place.  

For the purpose of satisfying the ever-changing demands of the consumer, the global fashion industry must find resources and avenues to continuously do such. Rowley (2009) affirm that a new industry must emerge, one which basically draws from the opportunities technologies could provide. Online fashion retailing, as Tseng and Piller (2003) figured, possesses special requirements compared to that of other online retailing sectors. Fashion visualization necessitates the existence of virtual catwalk, user interface and client/server architecture (p. 482). In order to respond to the dilemmas on online fashion retailing such as the lack of customer consulting and the accuracy of high three-dimensional display quality, online retailing for fashion products need to realized at a high level so as to achieve broad customer acceptance (p. 477). 

VIII Research Methodology

This study will adapt an interpretivist approach in research. Interpretivism is the necessary research philosophy for this study because it allows the search, of the ‘details of the situation, to understand the reality or perhaps a reality working behind them. From the interpretivist perception, it is necessary to explore the subjective meanings motivating people’s actions in order to understand their actions.

The research will be exploratory because it aims to determine the present facts as well as facts that are not yet explored about the phenomenon (Saunders et al, 2003). Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. This approach is a preferred mean of finding out “what is happening to seek new insights” or “to ask questions or to assess phenomena in a new light” (Saunders et al, 2003; Robson, 2002). This study will use the principal ways of conducting exploratory research, which include: literature search; talking to experts about the subject; and conducting focus group interview.

IX Data Collection Methods

In this study, primary and secondary research will be both incorporated. The reason for this is to be able to provide adequate discussion for the readers that will help them understand more about the issue and the different variables that involve with it. The primary data for the study will be represented by the survey results that will be acquired from the respondents. A semi-structured questionnaire will be developed and it will be used as the survey tool for the study. It is planned that the questionnaire will have a 5 point Likert Scale, as well as ranking questions. The researcher will survey consumers on their consumer buying process, consumer behavior and consumer decision-making.

On the other hand, the literature reviews to be presented in the second chapter of the study will represent the secondary data of the study. Sources in secondary research will include previous research reports and journal content and statistics. Sometimes, secondary research is required in the preliminary stages of the study to determine what is known already and what new data are required, or to inform research design. In this paper, existing findings on journals and existing knowledge on books will be used as secondary research. Internet databases will be also consulted including Questia, Highbeam and Emerald.

X Sampling

            Convenience sampling will be used. Convenience sampling means to collect or interview individuals who actually experience the phenomenon. Sampling will be done on places where human traffic is evident like the shopping malls and train stations. Referral method will be also used, a process which could be also regard as snowball sampling. Online shoppers who will be sampled will be asked if they know other people who are also into online shopping. Researcher will proceed to contact those persons.

XI Data Analysis

The data results of the study will be analyzed by determining their corresponding frequency, percentage and weighted mean. The following statistical formulas will be used:

1.     Percentage – to determine the magnitude of the responses to the questionnaire.

                        n

% = -------- x 100        ;           n – number of responses

                        N                                 N – total number of respondents

 

2.     Weighted Mean

                        f1x1 + f2x2  + f3x3 + f4x4  + f5x5

x = ---------------------------------------------  ;

                                    xt

where:            f – weight given to each response

                                    x – number of responses

                        xt – total number of responses

 

The first chapter of the study will present and discuss the problems and objectives of the study. The second chapter on the other hand will present the various related literatures that were reviewed for the study. Chapter 3, on the other hand, will discuss the methods and procedures that will be used in the study. Chapter 4 will present the results of the study in tables along with their specific interpretations. Finally, the fifth chapter will present the conclusion and discussion of the study.

The dissertation will be presented in written form with the addition of data charts which will present the project’s results. Pie charts and network charts will be needed to illustrate some of the analyzed data. This cannot be confirmed, however, until the research data have been analyzed.

XII Resource Requirements

            Access to the organization chosen could be difficult, although this cannot be confirmed until such time when the organization is already contacted. To wit, there are commercial information about the organization that are confidential and cannot be disclosed. In this case, negotiation skills will be applied and commercial confidentiality of information obtained will be upheld. A written document outlining the responsibilities of the researcher will be signed by both parties.  

XIII Timescale

 

        TASK

Months

1st

2nd

3rd

4th 

5th

6th

7th  

8th

9th

Read Literature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finalize Objectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Literature Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devise Research Approach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review Secondary Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organize Survey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Develop Questionnaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conduct Survey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analyze Secondary and Primary Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluate Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Findings Chapter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete remaining chapters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submit to Tutor and Await Feedback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revise Draft and Format for Submission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print, Bind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XIV Reference

 

  1. Azuma, N & Fernie, J 2003, ‘Fashion in globalized world and the role of virtual networks in intrinsic fashion design,’ Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 413-427.

  2. Baker, M J 2002, The Marketing Handbook, Butterworth-Heinemann.

3.    Elliot, G R 1990, The Marketing Concept – Necessary, but Sufficient? An Environmental View, Graduate School of Australia, University of Melbourne, Australia.

  1. Haugtvedt, C P, Machleit, K A and Yalch, R 2005, Online Consumer Psychology: Understanding and Influencing Consumer in the Virtual World, Routledge, London.

  2. Kotler, P & Armstrong, G 2004, Principles of Marketing, 10th edn. Pearson.

  3. Parcon, P 2007, Develop Your Decision Making Skills, Lotus Press.

  4. Rowley, J 2009, ‘Online branding strategies of UK fashion retailers,’ Internet Research, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 348-369.

  5. Saunders, M, Lewis, P and Thornhill, A 2003, Research Methods for Business Students, 3rd edn, Prentice Hall Financial Times, London.

  6. Stanford, R A 2002, Managerial Economics (online).

  7. Sheth J N, Gardner, D M and Garrett, D E 1988, Marketing Theory: Evolution and Evaluation, New York, John Wiley & Sons.

  8. Stockford, P 2008, Understanding the Buyer: Influencing Factors in Purchase Decision.

  9. Tseng, M. M. & Piller, F. M. (2003). The Customer Centric Enterprise: Advances in Mass Customization and Personalization. Springer.  

  10. Wong, A 2000, ‘Integrating supplier satisfaction with customer satisfaction’, Total Quality Management, 11(4-6), S826-9.

  11. Yarwood, D 1992, Fashion in the Western World, B.T. Batsford, London.

  12. Zemke, R and Woods, J 1998, Customer Service Best Practices, Human Resource Development Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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