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Has the web transformed experience goods into search goods?

Abstract

Klein (Journal of Business Research 41(3): 195–203, 1998) posited that the Web can transform experience goods into search goods (ES shifts). We examine her proposition in three ways. First, we critically assess the background of her proposition in light of the Web evolution in the past decade. Second, we conduct a comparison of past studies that measured the extent of search, experience, and credence (SEC) characteristics of goods. Third, we report the results of an exploratory survey on a set of commonly purchased products to benchmark possible ES shifts against the past studies. Their results indicate that SEC classification changes do not seem significant.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Whether the SEC rating should be on a single continuum or a multi-dimensional construct can be debated. As we see in the previous studies, the constructs used so far are either a single continuum or a two-dimensional (search attribute and experience/credence attribute). We choose, however, a single continuum for two reasons. First, we want to benchmark our results against the two studies using a broader range of products. Second, using a multi-dimensional construct can increase uncertainly in (a) whether to use a formative vs. latent construct and (b) reliability and convergence issues of measurement items.

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Correspondence to Makoto Nakayama.

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Responsible editor: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann

Appendix A. SEC rating histograms

Appendix A. SEC rating histograms

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Nakayama, M., Sutcliffe, N. & Wan, Y. Has the web transformed experience goods into search goods?. Electron Markets 20, 251–262 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-010-0041-z

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Keywords

  • Consumer purchase behavior
  • Product attribute
  • Product quality
  • Search-experience-credence(SEC) classification
  • Web impact

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