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Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction in Apparel Online Shopping at theProduct-Receiving Stage: The Effects of Brand Image and Product PerformanceHsiao-Ling LinThesis submitted to the faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and StateUniversityin partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree ofMaster of ScienceInApparel, Housing and Resource ManagementJessie H. Chen-Yu, ChairJihyun KimNoreen M. KleinApril 25, 2008Blacksburg, VAKeywords: Brand image, product performance, consumer satisfaction/dissatisfactionCopyright 2008, Hsiao-Ling Lin

Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction in Apparel Online Shopping at theProduct-Receiving Stage: The Effects of Brand Image and Product PerformancebyHsiao-Ling LinCommittee Chairman: Jessie H. Chen-YuApparel, Housing and Resource ManagementABSTRACTDue to the success of apparel online shopping, many researchers in consumerbehavior hope to extend the existing consumer behavior theories into the electroniccommerce area to assist apparel marketers to develop effective marketing strategies tounderstand, attract, and maintain their consumers (Goldsmith & McGregor, 1999). Manyapparel researchers have investigated Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction (CS/D) withonline shopping (Hou, 2005; Jiang & Rosenbloom, 2005; Kim, Kim & Lennon, 2006;Lee, 2004). However, most of these studies focused on CS/D with apparel websites ore-service quality, rather than CS/D with the products purchased online.In apparel online shopping, consumers cannot examine the textures, hand, or colorof the fabric or try on the garment. Because of the intangibility of apparel products on thewebsite, consumers may use extrinsic cues, such as brand image, to judge if the brand isworthy of the price and to make an inference of the product quality (O’Neal, 1992).Previous studies about brand image mainly discussed about how brand image influencesconsumers’ perception and evaluation of product quality (d’ Astous & Saint-Louis, 2005;Dodds, Monroe & Grewal, 1991) and the impact of brand image to consumers’ purchaseintention (Ataman & Ulengin, 2003; Li, 2004; Park & Stoel, 2005). No research hasexamined how brand image influences consumers’ expectations at purchase and theperceptions of product performance at the product-receiving stage, and the role of brandimage in CS/D after receiving products, especially in the realm of apparel onlineshopping. Therefore, a study investigating the roles of brand image and productperformance in CS/D with apparel online shopping is essential.

The purpose of the study was to examine the factors related to CS/D with thepurchased product and with the brand in apparel online shopping at the product-receivingstage. The four objectives of the study were to examine (a) the relationships betweenconsumers’ individual differences (i.e., brand sensitivity, brand familiarity, brandself-congruity and demographics) and perceived brand image at the purchase stage, (b)the influence of consumers’ perceived brand image at purchase on their expectation forproduct performance and on perceived product performance, (c) antecedences of CS/Dwith the product and CS/D with the brand, and (d) antecedences of product returnintention and repurchase intention.A model of CS/D with the purchased apparel product and with the brand in anonline shopping context was proposed as the framework of this study. Different from thetwo stages (i.e., purchase stage, product-consumption stage) usually proposed in thestudies of offline shopping, an extra product-receiving stage was included betweenpurchase and product-consumption stages to illustrate the process of CS/D afterconsumer receive the product that they ordered online. Fifteen hypotheses weredeveloped according to the relationships proposed in the framework. A 2 X 2between-subjects factorial experimental design was developed to conduct this study. Thetreatment variables were brand image and product performance. Two levels of brandimage at the purchase stage (i.e., higher, lower) were manipulated by two brand namesand logos. Two levels of product performance at the product-receiving stage (i.e., higher,lower) were manipulated by two sweatshirts with different levels of quality. A websitewas developed to simulate the apparel online shopping process, and a questionnaire wasdeveloped to measure the variables included in this study. A structural equation modelwas developed to examine the proposed relationships and hypotheses.Results in this study showed that both brand image and product performancesignificantly influenced CS/D with product and CS/D with the brand. Productperformance was the most important factor on consumers’ satisfaction with the productthat they ordered online. Brand image at purchase played a direct role in CS/D with thebrand but an indirect role in CS/D with the product. Brand image at purchase positivelyinfluenced product performance expectation; product performance expectation positivelyinfluenced the perception of product performance; and then, perceived product

performance affected satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the product. Visible attribute (i.e.,style, color) expectancy disconfirmation was also found to be an antecedence of CS/Dwith the product. If perceived product performance of style and color was better thanwhat they expected, participants tended to be more satisfied with the product. CS/D withthe product was found to be a significant antecedence of CS/D with the brand. CS/D withthe product was found to be the direct factor influencing product return intention, andperceived brand image at the product-receiving stage and CS/D with the brand wereantecedents of repurchase intention.In conclusion, this study suggests that brand image and product performance weresignificant factors on CS/D with the purchased product and with the brand at theproduct-receiving stage in apparel online shopping. This study is beneficial to consumerbehavior researchers and apparel e-tailers by identifying the roles of brand image andproduct performance in apparel online shopping. Based on the results, marketingstrategies in apparel online shopping were provided.

TABLE OF CONTENTABSTRACT.iiTABLE OF CONTENTS.vLIST OF FIGURES.ixLIST OF TABLES.xCHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. 1Introduction. 1Purpose of the Study. 4Definition of the Variables in the Study. 4CHAPTER II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE.6Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction. 6Definitions and Components of Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction. 6Measurements of Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction. 8Expectancy Disconfirmation Model. 9Consumer Expectation. 9Perceived Performance. 13Expectancy Disconfirmation. 14Psychological Effects on the Expectancy Confirmation Process. 14Consumer Expectation and Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction with OnlineShopping. 17Navigation and Website Design. 17Ordering and Delivery Processes. 19Customer Service. 20Merchandising and Product Information. 21v

Brand Image. 22Definitions of Brand Image. 22Dimensions of Brand Image. 23Brand Name/Logo. 23Brand Benefits. 24Brand Attitudes. 25Brand Personality. 26Brand Providers and Users.27Variables Related to Brand Image.27Brand Sensitivity. 28Brand Familiarity. 29Summary of Literature Review. 30CHAPTER III.METHODOLOGY. 34Framework and Hypotheses of the Study. 34Individual Differences. 36Purchase Stage. 38Product-Receiving Stage. 39Product-Consumption Stage. 46Research Method. 46Selection of Participants. 47Selection of Treatments.48Selection of Brand Name and Logo. 48Selection of Garment Samples. 49Instrument Development. 51Internet Shopping Web Pages. 51Questionnaire Development.52Data Collection. 57Data Analysis. 59vi

CHAPTER IV. RESULTS. 61Participants’ Profiles. 61Demographic Characteristics. 61Wardrobe Expenditures and Apparel Online Shopping Experiences.63Gender Differences. 63Measure Reliability and Manipulation Check. 66Measure Reliability. 67Manipulation Check. 68Results of Hypothesis Testing. 70The Relationship between Individual Differences and Perceived BrandImage.70Results of Structural Equation Modeling. 71Processes of Correcting and Trimming the Model. 71Hypothesis Testing with Structural Equation Modeling. 78CHAPTER V.SUMMARY, DISCUSSIONS, APPLICATIONS, LIMITATIONS,AND RECOMMENDATIONS. 85Summary of the Study. 85Discussions and Applications of the Findings. 87Participants’ Differences in Gender, Wardrobe Expenditures and ApparelOnline Shopping Experiences. 87Brand Self-Congruity and Perceived Brand Image at Purchase. 90Perceived Brand Image at Purchase, Product Performance Expectation,and Perceived Product Performance. 91Antecedences of Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction with the Productand Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction with the Brand. 92Perceived Brand Image at the Product-Receiving Stage. 96Product Return Intention and Repurchase Intention. 97Conclusion and Suggestions for Strategies in Apparel Online Shopping. 99Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Future Researches. 100vii

REFERENCES.103APPENDIXES. 123Appendix A – Advertisement for Recruiting Participants in the Dorms. 124Appendix B – Survey for Choosing Brand Names to Create Different Levels ofBrand Image.125Appendix C – Survey for Choosing Sweatshirts to Create Different Levels ofProduct Performance. 126Appendix D – Size Charts for Sample Sweatshirts. 127Appendix E.1 – Web Page for Higher Brand Image Group (Men’s Sweatshirt). 128Appendix E.2 – Web Page for Lower Brand Image Group (Men’s Sweatshirt). 135Appendix E.3 – Web Page for Higher Brand Image Group (Women’sSweatshirt). 137Appendix E.4 – Web Page for Lower Brand Image Group (Women’sSweatshirt). 140Appendix F.1 – Questionnaire for Higher Brand Image Group – Part I. 142Appendix F.2 – Questionnaire for Higher Brand Image Group – Part II.143Appendix F.3 – Questionnaire for Lower Brand Image Group – Part I.148Appendix F.4 – Questionnaire for Lower Brand Image Group – Part II. 149Appendix G – Informed Consent for Participants. 154Appendix H.1 – Instruction 1 – Higher Brand Image Group. 157Appendix H.2 – Instruction 1 – Lower Brand Image Group. 158Appendix H.3 – Instruction 2 – Higher Brand Image Group. 159Appendix H.4 – Instruction 2 – Lower Brand Image Group. 160Appendix I – Random Number Sheet for Assigning Participants into ExperimentalGroups. 161viii

LIST OF FIGURESFigure 3.1 A framework of consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the purchasedapparel product and the brand in an online shopping context. 35Figure 4.1 The hypothesized SEM model.73Figure 4.2 The results of the hypothesized SEM model. 74Figure 4.3 The SEM model with added paths.77Figure 4.4 The final model of consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the purchasedapparel product and the brand in an online shopping context. 79Figure 5.1 The result model of consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the purchasedapparel product and the brand in an online shopping context. 89ix

LIST OF TABLESTable 3.1 Factorial design of treatment variables. 47Table 4.1 Demographic characteristics of the participants. 62Table 4.2 Wardrobe expenditures and apparel online shopping experiences of theparticipants. 64Table 4.3 Gender differences in wardrobe expenditures and apparel online shoppingexperiences. 65Table 4.4 Gender differences in variables measured in the framework. 67Table 4.5 Measure reliability.69Table 4.6 Correlation matrix of model constructs. 75Table 4.7 Added paths and hypothesis testing with SEM results. 76Table 5.1 Hypotheses and summary of the results. 88x

CHAPTER IINTRODUCTIONThis chapter was composed of three sections. The first section was theintroduction, which described the background of the study. The second section, theresearch purpose, discussed the objectives of the study. The third section stated thedefinition of each variable in this study.IntroductionAccording to the prediction of Forrester Research (October, 2006), non-travelonline retail revenues in the United States (U.S.) will reach the quarter-trillion-dollarsmark by 2011. Wikipedia Encyclopedia Online reported that apparel, accessories andfootwear became the largest category selling online in 2006, which was18.3 billion. Otherlarge categories selling online were computer hardware and software (17.2 billion),automobiles and auto parts (16.7 billion), and home furnishings (10.0 billion). The mainreasons why consumers shop apparel products online are convenience, selection and price(Corcoran, 2006). Consumers can access brands they do not have in local markets,especially luxurious and high-end products. Because of the success of apparel onlineshopping, many researchers in consumer behavior hope to extend the existing consumerbehavior theories into the electronic commerce area to assist apparel marketers to developeffective marketing strategies to understand, attract, and maintain their consumers(Goldsmith & McGregor, 1999).Satisfaction is important for both consumers and marketers. For consumers, it istheir ultimate goal to utilize limited financial resource and efforts to maximize theirsatisfaction and gain the optimal products or services (Chen-Yu, Williams & Kincade,1999). For marketers, satisfying consumers’ needs and want is a requirement to attractnew consumers, keep existing consumers, and make profits (Bloemer & Kasper, 1995;1

Peter & Olson, 2005). Although a satisfactory experience does not guarantee loyalty, thelikelihood that consumers will remain loyal depends on their level of satisfaction(Blackwell, Miniard & Engel, 2001). In addition to the possibility of repeat purchase,consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction (CS/D) may also shape consumers’ word-of-mouth,which is one of the best promotions because of its high credibility (Peter & Olson, 2005).Consumers with satisfying experiences may tell their family and peers about thepleasurable purchase experiences and encourage them to try the products or services.Consumers with dissatisfying experiences, on the contrary, may decide not to use theproduct/service anymore or decide switching to another brand. Some consumers maydiscourage their family and friends to shop at the same store or buy the same brand(Chen-Yu & Hong, 2006).Many studies have investigated consumer behavior within the scope of Internetshopping and showed that there were significant differences between online and offlineshopping in consumer attitudes and behavior for products and services chosen. Forexample, Degeratu, Rangaswamy and Wu (2000) found that brand name had higherinfluences on consumers in online than offline shopping. Lynch and Ariely (2000) andShankar, Rangaswamy and Pusateri (2001) found that consumers’ price sensitivity waslower in online than offline shopping. Therefore, studies in understanding consumerbehavior in online shopping are needed. In recent years, many apparel researchers haveinvestigated CS/D with online shopping (Hou, 2005; Jiang & Rosenbloom, 2005; Kim,Kim & Lennon, 2006; Lee, 2004). However, most of these studies focused on CS/D withapparel websites or e-service quality, rather than CS/D with the products purchasedonline.Chen-Yu et al., (1999) propose a model for CS/D with the performance of apparelproducts, which suggests that one important determinant of CS/D with a product atpurchase was the confirmation/disconfirmation between consumers’ perceivedat-purchase performance and their experienced-based norm. However, this model canonly be applied to traditional brick-and-mortar apparel shopping but cannot be applied toonline shopping because in brick-and-mortar apparel shopping, consumers can examinehow the garment looks like by trying on the garment. Consumers can evaluate theperformance of the product and compare it with a norm based on their past experiences.2

The outcome of the comparison between consumers’ perceived performance and theirexperienced-based norm leads to satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the product. Becauseconsumers already knew what the garment looks like at purchase, their expectation forthe product is more related to product performance after wash or after a long-time wear,instead of the appearance of the garment. Consumers in online shopping, however, cannotphysically examine the product at the purchase stage. They can only imagine how theapparel will look like or will fit based on the description and photographs of the product,or the sizing charts provided by the website. Only after consumers receive the purchasedproduct, can they evaluate the product performance. Therefore, consumers’ expectation atthe purchase stage is more related to how the garment will look like and whether theproduct quality will be sufficient. The evaluation of the garment will not happen until atthe product-receiving stage. The perception of the product performance may be similar toor significant different from their expectation at purchase, which leads to satisfaction ordissatisfaction with the product. Because the uniqueness of the process in apparel onlineshopping, it is essential to examine CS/D at the product-receiving stage in onlineshopping.In apparel online shopping, consumers cannot examine the textures, hand, or colorof the fabric or try on the garment. Because of the intangibility of apparel products on thewebsite, consumers may perceive a high level of risk when they make their purchasedecision. Consumers may use extrinsic cues, such as brand image, to judge if the brand isworthy of the price and to make an inference of the product quality (O’Neal, 1992)because brand image can help consumers to process, organize, and retrieve information inmemory (Aaker, 1991). For marketers, brand image is extremely important because it canhelp them to position their products, differentiate themselves from other brands, createconsumers’ positive attitudes and emotions toward their brand, and help their targetcustomers perceive a high level of benefits of purchasing or using their brand (Pitta &Kutsanis, 1995). Therefore, studies in the role of brand image in online shopping areneeded and important. However, previous studies about brand image mainly havediscussed about how brand image influences consumers’ perception and evaluation ofproduct quality (d’ Astous & Saint-Louis, 2005; Dodds, Monroe & Grewal, 1991) and theimpact of brand image to consumers’ purchase intention (Ataman & Ulengin, 2003; Li,3

2004; Park & Stoel, 2005). No research was found to examine how brand imageinfluences consumers’ expectations at purchase and the perceptions of productperformance at the product-receiving stage, and the role of brand image in CS/D afterreceiving products, especially in the realm of apparel online shopping.Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of the study was to examine the factors related to CS/D with thepurchased product and with the brand in apparel online shopping at the product-receivingstage. The four objectives of the study were to examine (a) the relationships betweenconsumers’ individual differences (i.e., brand sensitivity, brand familiarity, brandself-congruity and demographics) and perceived brand image at the purchase stage, (b)the influence of consumers’ perceived brand image at purchase on their expectation forproduct performance and on perceived product performance, (c) antecedences of CS/Dwith the product and CS/D with the brand, and (d) antecedences of product returnintention and repurchase intention. There was no research on CS/D with the product andwith the brand purchased in online shopping. The findings of this study can extend theunderstanding of consumer online shopping behavior, especially in CS/D in the onlineshopping context. The study results may also help apparel e-tailers to understand the roleof brand image in CS/D in order to develop effective marketing strategies to providemaximum customer satisfaction.Definition of the Variables in the Study1. Brand sensitivity: the degree to which a consumer notices or uses brands as importantinformation to making purchase decision (Nelson & Devanathan, 2006).2. Brand familiarity: the number of consumers’ brand-related, direct or indirect,experiences (Kent & Allen, 1994).3. Brand self-congruity: the degree of similarity between consumer’s self-image andbrand image (Sirgy, 1982).4

4. Brand image: the total impression of a particular brand in consumers’ minds (Ditcher,1985).5. Consumer expectation: consumers’ pre-usage belief that a product possesses aparticular level of an attribute or a particular level of overall performance, or thatproduct usage will result in a particular outcome (Bone, Shimp &.Sharma, 1990).6. Perceived product performance: the subjective evaluation of performance made by aconsumer at purchase or after a product is consumed (Chen-Yu et al., 1999; Halstead,Hartmann & Schmidt, 1994).7. Expectancy Disconfirmation: consumers’ evaluation of the discrepancy between theirexpectations and their perception of the actual performance (Halstead et al., 1994).8. Consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction: consumers’ perception, overall evaluation,and psychological reaction to their experience (Hou, 2005).9. Product return intention: consumers’ anticipation/likelihood of bringing or sendingthe purchased product to a former or proper place (Merriam-Webster DictionaryOnline, 2008).10. Repurchase intention: consumers’ anticipation/likelihood of buying the sameproduct or products of the same brand again (Blackwell et al., 2001).5

CHAPTER IIREVIEW OF LITERATUREIn this chapter of literature review, previous studies in consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction (CS/D) and brand image were reviewed in the following sections. The firstsection, CS/D, included the review of definitions and components of CS/D,measurements of CS/D, antecedents of CS/D, and consumer expectation and CS/Dtoward online shopping. The second section, brand image, contained the reviews ofdefinitions, dimensions and variables related to brand image.Consumer Satisfaction/DissatisfactionDefinitions and Components of Consumer Satisfaction/DissatisfactionCS/D has been deemed as a fundamental determinant of long-term consumerbehavior (Oliver, 1980b). The concept of CS/D has been discussed extensively in theretailing and service quality areas (Anderson & Fornell, 1994; Bitner, Brown & Meuter,2000; Cronin & Taylor, 1992; Zeithaml, Berry & Parasuraman, 1996). Meanwhile, theCS/D with e-tailing or e-satisfaction has attracted more researchers’ attention (e.g., Selz& Schubert, 1998; Szymanski & Hise, 2000). However, the definition of CS/D is stilldivergent in the literature of the retailing and service quality areas (Hou, 2005).Howard and Sheth (1969) first propose that CS/D as a related psychological stateevaluates the responsiveness between what consumers actually get and give. CS/D is alsodefined as a total psychological state when there is a difference between the emotion andexpectation, and the expectation is consumers’ feelings anticipated and stored up fromtheir previous experience (Oliver, 1981). Churchill and Surprenant (1982) pose that CS/Dis a result of which consumers compare the expected reward and the actual cost afterpurchasing and using products. After the concept of CS/D is extended to service,Zeithaml and Bitner (2000) define CS/D as consumers’ evaluation of a product or service6

of whether the product or service has met their needs and expectation. Most researchersfocus on the CS/D in the post-purchase stage, for example, Engel, Blackwell and Miniard(1995) state that CS/D is a post-

product-receiving stage in apparel online shopping. This study is beneficial to consumer behavior researchers and apparel e-tailers by identifying the roles of brand image and product performance in apparel online shopping. Based on the results, marketing strategies in apparel online shopping were provided.

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