درک اثربخشی وب سایت های شرکت های B2B 'از دیدگاه آمریکای شمالی و اروپا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23599||2005||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6330 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 34, Issue 5, July 2005, Pages 420–429
The globalization of economic activities has led multinational business-to-business (B2B) firms to use their corporate web sites extensively to communicate with their stakeholders. Using a field study of 368 business customers, this paper examines three factors of information that influence corporate web sites' effectiveness in a B2B context and whether these factors differ by web site user's national origin. Results indicate that informativeness of a corporate web site is important for both North American and European visitors. Quality of information is important for European users but not an important aspect for North American users. Usability is the most important factor for North American users but it is not important for European users. Implications of these results are discussed for managerial practices and further research.
The globalization of economic activities and widespread availability of Internet access across the world has led multinational firms to use their corporate web sites to communicate extensively with visitors from different parts of the world. However, many companies face the challenge of how to design a corporate web site that will be perceived as effective in a diverse multicultural environment. This manuscript investigates the factors that influence corporate web sites' effectiveness in a business-to-business (B2B) context and whether these factors differ by the web site visitor's nationality (in particular, North America versus Europe). The Internet allows marketers to communicate with interested customers, prospects, and stakeholders worldwide. A firm's corporate web site often acts as a gateway for visitors to find critical information that shapes their perceptions about the company as a whole as well as the company's offerings. If visitors to a corporate web site do not find helpful and relevant information, they are likely to form a poor perception about the company and may ultimately visit and transact with competitors who provide the necessary information. In a B2B context, the information aspects in a corporate web site become even more important due to the financial risk and the complexity of the exchange process with typical B2B transactions (Peppers & Rogers, 2001). Therefore, this research focuses on the information content of corporate web sites and the aspects of information customers perceive important for corporate web site effectiveness. While many consulting companies may have conducted extensive empirical research on corporate web site effectiveness, the results from such studies are, unfortunately, not available in the public domain. There are only a handful of studies in the academic literature that looked specifically at corporate web site issues (Palmer, 2002 and Robbins & Stylianou, 2003). Palmer (2002) used student samples to evaluate corporate web sites from Fortune 1000 companies. His results indicated that web site success is significantly associated with web site download delay, navigation, content, interactivity, and responsiveness. Robbins and Stylianou (2003) content analyzed corporate web sites from companies across the globe and found web site content features to be significantly different across cultural groups. However, in both of the studies mentioned above, the authors did not distinguish between B2B and B2C corporate web sites. In addition, neither study actually measured and tracked business customers' perceptions about corporate web sites. Given the importance of B2B and the web (Berthon, Ewing, Pitt, & Naude, 2003), it is critical to specifically investigate from business customers' perspectives what factors drive the effectiveness of corporate B2B web sites and whether such factors differ between customers from different parts of the world. The impact of the Internet in international marketing is expected to be much greater for B2B than for B2C (Samiee, 1998). A recent report from eMarketer (http://www.emarketer.com/) projects worldwide total e-commerce to grow to $3.2 trillion in 2004 and be dominated by an online population outside of North America. As per recent statistics, by 2002, 600 million people are online worldwide (http://www.clickz.com/stats/big_picture/geographics/print.php/151151), and the number of European Internet users (190 million) exceeds the number of North American Internet users (183 million). It is common knowledge that there are many underlying differences between how customers in North America perceive marketing stimuli or communication compared to customers in other parts of the world (Lynch & Beck, 2001). However, what is unknown is how such differences in customers' perceptions manifest in influencing corporate B2B web site effectiveness. This research attempts to bridge this gap with a field study of 368 business customers from two different continents—North America and Europe. The objective of this research is to identify the drivers of a B2B corporate web site's effectiveness and explore whether these drivers are different for business customers from different parts of the world. In the next section, a brief review of relevant prior research is provided, followed by hypotheses about the importance of different dimensions of information in a corporate B2B web site and their relationship to web site effectiveness. This is followed by a discussion of the design of the survey instrument and method of data collection. The results from a survey using a large sample of B2B customers in the construction industry are discussed in the next section. Finally, the implications of the research, its limitations, and future research directions are discussed.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Based on the review of academic and trade press literature, three dimensions of information (informativeness, usability, and quality of information) were identified that might influence a corporate B2B web site's effectiveness. Using prior research and pretests, reliable and valid perceptual measures for these constructs were developed. The significance of these three factors in explaining a B2B web site's effectiveness for North American and European respondents was tested simultaneously. Several interesting results emerged from this study. First, the measurement model factor structure was found to be invariant between the North American and European groups, suggesting that the underlying factor structure for the constructs investigated in this research is identical between the two groups. Second, the structural models built separately for each group produced good fit indices and interesting insights. For instance, informativeness had a significant effect on corporate web site effectiveness for both the groups. Interestingly, it was the most important variable for explaining web site effectiveness for the European group but the second-most important variable for the North American group. Quality of information had a significant effect for the European group, but it was non-significant for the North American group. The usability had a significant effect (and it was the most important variable in explaining web site effectiveness) for the North American group but not for the European group. Third, it was found that the nationality of a web site visitor moderates the structural relationships between the exogenous and the endogenous constructs in the model. The effects of this moderation manifest in the structural relationship between usability and web site effectiveness, as well as between quality of information and web site effectiveness. This is an important finding and suggests that managers of B2B corporate web sites need to be very careful in designing their sites and not try to use a “one shoe fits all” approach when dealing with business customers from North America and Europe. This study represents the first effort in academic literature to determine the differences in factors that contribute to the effectiveness of corporate B2B web sites between different geographical regions in the world using business customers' perceptions. There is an ongoing debate in marketing and advertising literature about whether communication and marketing practices can be standardized due to the emergence of a global economy and perhaps even global customers. The advent of the Internet has been argued to tilt this debate towards adopting standardized global communication practices. As pointed out earlier, there is a lack of research looking at this issue for corporate web sites that are used by companies to communicate with customers from different parts of the world. The results from this study suggest that the factors that are important in customers' perceptions of a corporate web site's effectiveness differ across geographic regions of the world, and companies need to consider this issue in their design of corporate web sites. Given that it is technologically possible for a company to figure out (based on the IP address of a visitor or using cookies) which part of the world the visitor is coming from, perhaps a company can use different versions of its corporate web site (emphasizing different factors) that can be created on the fly using dynamic portal technologies (such as those provided by Broadvision, BEA systems, etc.) to uniquely appeal to visitors from different parts of the world. It is also interesting that for North American customers, usability turns out to be the most important factor in explaining corporate web site effectiveness. This is consistent with the commonly held belief that the business customers from North America are often more pressed for time (than European customers) and therefore finding information quickly and easily in a corporate web site appeals to them. On the other hand, the European business customers may be more sensitive (than North American business customers) to the quality of information in a corporate web site because of the nature of the business environment in Europe. These are post hoc conjectures, and more research is clearly needed to explore these issues in the future.