Customer perceptions of e-service quality in online shopping


With the rapid global growth in electronic commerce (e-commerce), businesses are
attempting to gain a competitive advantage by using e-commerce to interact with
customers. Businesses with the most experience and success in using e-commerce are
beginning to realize that the key determinants of success or failure are not merely web
site presence and low price but also include the electronic service quality (e-service
quality) (Yang, 2001; Zeithaml, 2002). Santos (2003) defined e-service quality as overall
customer assessment and judgment of e-service delivery in the virtual marketplace.
Service quality is an elusive and abstract construct that is difficult to explain and
measure (Cronin and Taylor, 1992). The SERVQUAL model, first developed by Parasuraman et al. (1988) has been widely tested as a means of measuring customer
perceptions of service quality. TheSERVQUALmodel contains five dimensions, namely
tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. Furthermore, during the
past decade, SERVQUAL model has been tested for measuring service quality in
e-commerce settings (Devaraj et al., 2002; Kim and Lee, 2002; Li et al., 2002; Kuo, 2003;
Negash et al., 2003). Previous studies on the measurement of e-service quality focused
only on the application of the SERVQUAL model by rewording the original scale items.
However, in the service quality field, service researchers need to pay more attention to
customer evaluations of e-services, because methods of measuring service quality differ
between e-commerce and physical marketplace service (Parasuraman and Grewal,
2000). Additionally, van Riel et al. (2001) proposed that the SERVQUAL scale items
would have to be reformulated before they could be used meaningfully in the online
shopping context. Thus, this study aims to identify the main influence on online
shopping service quality, using a modified version of the SERVQUAL model.
Research is required on the influence of e-services on all customer responses, such
as perceived service quality, customer satisfaction and purchase intentions
(Parasuraman and Grewal, 2000; Jeong et al., 2003). Understanding the determinants
of service quality, customer satisfaction and purchase intentions for online shopping is
important for both marketing researchers and online stores managers. Moreover,
previous studies have revealed that service quality in online environments is an
important determinant of the effectiveness of e-commerce (Yang, 2001; Janda et al.,
2002). However, few studies have examined the relation among different dimensions of
e-service quality in predicting overall service quality, customer satisfaction, and
purchase intentions for online shopping.
This study attempts to derive the instrument dimensions of e-service quality
through modifying the SERVQUAL model to consider the online shopping context,
and develops a research model to examine how e-service quality dimensions affect
overall service quality, customer satisfaction and purchase intentions. To prove the
usefulness of the research model, data were collected from 297 online consumers.
Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to examine the reliability and
validity of the measurement model, and the structural equation modeling (SEM)
technique was used to test the research model, which was supported by LISREL 8.3
software. The test results provide a valuable reference for managers of online stores, as
well as for researchers interested in internet marketing.

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