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Are online customers more satisfied during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Consumers are playing an important role in online shopping. The increasing use of the Internet by the younger generation in India provides an emerging prospect for online retailers. If online retailers know the factors affecting Indian consumers’ buying behaviour, and the associations between these factors and type of online buyers, then they can further develop their marketing strategies to convert potential customers into active ones.

Internet is changing the way consumers shop and buy goods and services, and has

rapidly evolved into a global phenomenon. Many companies have started using the Electronic Commerce with the aim of cutting marketing costs, thereby reducing the price of their products and services in order to stay ahead in highly competitive markets. Companies also use the Internet to convey communicates and disseminate information, to sell the product, to take feedback and also to conduct satisfaction surveys with customers.

Customers use the Internet not only to buy the product online, but also to compare prices, product features and after sale service facilities they will receive if they purchase the product from a particular store. Many experts are optimistic about the prospect of online business. In addition to the tremendous potential of the E-commerce market, the Internet provides a unique opportunity for companies to more efficiently reach existing and potential customers.

Consumers buy goods from the online shopping website on the basis of factors like offers and discounts, variety of product available, free home delivery, website user friendliness and cash of delivery payment option. The demographic variables, such as gender, age group, don't influence the factors of customer satisfaction. The customers expect improvement in user friendliness of the website, in order to choose online as a medium to buy grocery items rather than shopping for groceries with the traditional method. Out of the agreed respondents to buy online grocery, most of the respondents would think that it would be beneficial to shop grocery online on the basis of factors like easy to order, variety, discounts/ offers, saves time and avoid long queues.

With the emergence of social media, customer engagement is rife and can create value for the firm. Several models have been employed in studying customer satisfaction with online retailing. These include the disconfirmation of expectations model, perceived performance model, rational expectations model, expectations-artifact model, attribution model, cognitive dissonance model, comparison level model, contrast model, and the Kano model. This chapter is on customer satisfaction with online retail transactions. It looked at the concept, models, and customer engagement; and stressed the need for a holistic/multidimensional approach to engagement as a way of enhancing engagement in the present information, communication and technology (ICT)-driven age.

Put explicitly, online retailing has become a significant part of the daily activities of business organizations. Access to various online retail platforms is seen as a necessity rather than a form of luxury especially among the urban dwellers . And one of the major determinants of the growth of online retailing and ICT are inseparable because online retailers absolutely depend on ICT for their operations and intensifications . In addition, online retailing focuses on the application of ICT to facilitate the transaction and interaction between the business and the customers. Conclusively, ICT is a veritable tool for achieving an effective and robust online retail transaction; it is the live wire of any successful online retail transaction. The application of ICT to retailing is further defining customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement; and the extent of application is frankly speaking limitless. Accordingly, online retail transactions in this study refer to all activities by retail customers on the Internet and include buying from online shops, payments and receipts online like automated teller machine (ATM) banking, mobile banking/money, web banking and point of sale (POS) transactions

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