اطلاعات تکنولوژی ارتباطات در خرده فروشی: مقایسه متقابل صنعت
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 16, Issue 3, May 2009, Pages 232–238
Information technology (IT) may represent a source of competitive advantage for businesses in general and for retailers in particular. However, there is debate in the literature over the usefulness of investing in technology. This paper aims at analyzing the relationship between consumers’ perception on the use of information and communication technology by the retailer and consumer satisfaction with retailer technologies. Results support the need to restrict the investment in IT to what is strictly necessary, although there are significant differences according to retailer activity.
Organizations must cope with an increasingly changing environment. Such a change derives essentially from the evolution and changes in customers’ needs, technological advances to satisfy those needs and the evolution in business management (Porter, 1997). A study of successful retailers reveals that the business ability to build and defend a competitive position in the market depends to a great extent on the capacity to invest and use information (Weber and Kantamneni, 2002). In this regard, Buxmann and Gebauer (1999) consider information technology to be a key factor for the organization's success. Advances in information technologies (IT), such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), quick response technologies (QRT), point of sale (POS), universal product codes (UPC), radio frequency (RFID) and payment methods, offer new possibilities for the management of retailing companies. The need to investigate these possibilities in the field of logistics from a marketing channel approach has been raised by several researchers. In particular, Dresner and Xu (1995), Luque (1995), Denis and Czellar (1997), Van der Veeken and Rutten (1998) and Mentzer and Williams (2001) have highlighted the need to research different aspects of the logistics function such as quick response, physical delivery and information system management. Nevertheless, research in these areas is still scarce. Some authors, however, warn about the risk of “overengineering” or investing excessively in technology ( Sethuraman and Parasuraman, 2005), pointing out that good technology is “appropriate” technology. In contrast, practitioners tend to consider that more technology is always preferable to less technology ( Palmer and Markus, 2000). To evaluate this aspect, it is essential to measure the effects of IT solutions on perceived quality and consumer satisfaction ( Gurau and Ranchhod, 2002; Weinstein, 2002; Servera et al., 2006). Little attention, however, has been given to customer satisfaction with technology-based improvements and/or upgrading of existing services ( Timmor and Rymon, 2007) and the differences across service activities ( Drennan and McColl-Kennedy, 2003), even though both factors should be considered in investment decisions. In fact, several types of retailers analyzed in the literature present peculiarities ( Berry and Barnes, 1987) that may make difficult the extrapolation some investment patterns to other retail activities. Focusing on retail distribution, the present paper aims at testing empirically for differences in customer perception and evaluation of the retailer's IT solutions according to retail activity, as well as assessing the influence of the use and evaluation of the those technologies on consumer satisfaction. We attempt to identify the most relevant technologies for four types of retailer: grocery, clothing and footwear, electronics and electrical appliances, and furniture and decoration. In order to achieve this aim, the present paper is structured as follows. The existing IT literature in the context of relational marketing is revised below. Section 3 describes the methodology used. This is followed by the presentation and the discussion of the results. Section 5, the final part of the paper, contains the conclusions, limitations and new research lines.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our results support the existence of a positive relation between consumer perceived intensity of use of retail IT solutions and customer satisfaction with such technology. In this sense, our findings agree with Palmer and Markus (2000) and with the position that higher levels of and more advanced technologies are always better than lower levels of technological development. Nevertheless, not all technological solutions are equally valued by the customer and, in particular, there are significant differences in the evaluation of the intensity of IT solutions across retail activities. This can be explained by the peculiarities of the buying process of non-durable goods in comparison to durable goods, as well as to the information necessary to satisfactorily complete such processes and the importance of communications with the retailer for post-sales service delivery. Notwithstanding, IT solutions such as credit card and bar codes/scanner should be present in every store regardless of its retail activity, as we find high intensity of use of this technology and no significant differences across retail activities. In this sense, retailer investment in technology can be considered as a quality guarantee of its goods and services, especially in the distribution of durable goods that represent a major percentage of consumer expenditure and high consumer involvement. Thus, the present paper supports the need for retailers to invest in IT solutions, with recommendation to prioritize those technologies that are more valued by the retailer’s customers, since only some IT solutions (e.g. payment facilities, design software) show a significant effect on customer satisfaction with the retailer technology. In this regard, even if the results of our regression analysis show that the consideration of customer opinion in retailer IT coordination and development does not significantly influence customer satisfaction with retailer tech- nology, we understand that retailers should evaluate customers’ needs as a preliminary step for technology investment decisions. Additionally, some retail technologies such as office and design programs may be difficult to evaluate by customers and conse- quently, retailers should consider the possibility of having basic programs and outsourcing the production of more complex communications to customers elaborated with this type of technology. Furthermore, cost and impact on business perfor- mance are both relevant issues to be considered by retail managers. The fact that certain IT solutions do not help to increase customer satisfaction with retailer technology can be explained because, following Meuter et al. (2000) the main benefits of such technologies — e.g. time saving, ease of use, and cost saving — might not be appreciated by consumers. In other words, customers may not attribute the nature of their experience in the store to IT solutions. In this way, following Liljander et al. (2006) , we consider that retailers should implement strategies to create positive customer attitudes towards these IT solutions, especially for consumers over 65. Furthermore, results may be influenced by the fact that the definitions of IT advancement and IT alignment used in our research are focused on the company point of view but may be not related to customers’ perceptions. Additionally, high-touch and low-touch retailers may differ by their nature in terms of their IT, thus reflecting our results the logical differences across retail activities. Moreover, it is not surprising that more performance improvements a