The substitution effect between online and traditional channel has received considerable attention from academics and practitioners; however, little is known about the relative size of the substitution effect in different contexts. Since product attributes classification has been recognized as a useful way to evaluate the potential influence of the Internet as a marketing channel, the current study explored the extent to which the relative size of the substitution effect is the function of the product attributes. Drawing upon cross-channel dissynergy and status quo bias theory, we proposed and validated a research model on Chinese Internet users utilizing survey methods. The findings revealed a significant substitution effect between online and traditional channels, and this result was robust across different product categories. Moreover, the substitutive effect was more evident for search goods compared to experience goods. This study also found the direct influence of product involvement on purchase channel choice. This study contributes to both research and practice by advancing our understanding of cross-channel dissynergy and, more specifically, it provides insights into the design of cross-channel coordination strategies.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alba, J., Lynch, J., Weitz, B., Janiszewski, C., Lutz, R., Sawyer, A., & Wood, S. (1997). Interactive home shopping: consumer, retailer, and manufacturer incentives to participate in electronic marketplaces. Journal of Marketing, 61(3), 38–53.
Anderson, J. C. (2003). The psychology of doing nothing: forms of decision avoidance result from reason and emotion. Psychological Bulletin, 129(1), 139–167.
Armstrong, S. J., & Overton, T. S. (1977). Estimating nonresponse bias in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research, 14(3), 396–402.
Avery, J., Caravella, M., Deighton, J., & Steenburgh, T. J. (2007). Adding bricks to clicks: the effects of store openings on sales through direct channels. Working paper. Boston: Harvard Business School.
Bakos, J. Y. (1997). Reducing buyer search costs: implications for electronics marketplaces. Management Science, 43(12), 1676–1692.
Balasubramanian, S., Raghunathan, R., & Mahajan, V. (2005). Consumers in a multichannel environment: product utility, process utility and channel choice. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 19(2), 12–30.
Bentler, P. M., & Bonnett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88(3), 588–606.
Bhattacherjee, A., & Sanford, C. (2006). Influence processes for information technology acceptance: an elaboration likelihood model. MIS Quarterly, 30(4), 805–825.
Brynjolfsson, E., Hu, Y., & Rahman, M. S. (2009). Battle of the retail channels: how product selection and geography drive cross-channel competition. Management Science, 55(11), 1755–1765.
Brynjolfsson, E., Hu, Y., & Smith, M. D. (2006). From niches to riches: the anatomy of the long tail. Sloan Management Review, 47(4), 67–71.
Brynjolfsson, E., & Smith, M. D. (2000). Frictionless commerce? a comparison of Internet and conventional retailers. Management Science, 46(4), 563–585.
Carte, A. T., & Russell, J. C. (2003). In pursuit of moderation: nine common errors and their solutions. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 479–501.
Celsi, R., & Olson, J. (1988). The role of involvement in attention and comprehension processes. Journal of Consumer Research, 15(2), 210–224.
Chandon, P., Wansink, B., & Laurent, G. (2000). A benefit congruency framework of sales promotion effectiveness. Journal of Marketing, 64(4), 65–81.
Coughlan, A. T., Anderson, E., Stern, L. W., & El-Ansary, A. I. (2001). Marketing channels. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Darby, M. R., & Karni, E. (1973). Free competition and the optimal amount of fraud. Journal of Law and Economics, 16(1), 67–88.
Data Center of China Internet (DCCI). (2007–2008). China internet survey report. Available from: http://www.dcci.com.cn/list/research.shtml [Accessed 18.07.2008] (2008).
Deleersnyder, B., Geyskens, I., Gielens, K., & Dekimpe, M. K. (2002). How cannibalistic is the Internet channel? a study of the newspaper industry in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 19(4), 337–348.
Falk, T., Schepers, J., Hammerschmidt, M., & Bauer, H. H. (2007). Identifying cross-channel dissynergies for multichannel service providers. Journal of Service Research, 10(2), 143–160.
Forsythe, S., Liu, C., Shannon, D., & Gardner, L. (2006). Development of a scale to measure the perceived benefits and risks of online shopping. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 20(2), 55–75.
Garbarino, E., & Strahilevitz, M. (2004). Gender differences in the perceived risk of buying online and the effects of receiving a site recommendation. Journal of Business Research, 57(7), 768–775.
Gatignon, H., & Robertson, T. S. (1985). A propositional inventory for new diffusion research. Journal of Consumer Research, 11(4), 849–867.
Geyskens, I., Gielsen, K., & Dekimpe, M. G. (2002). The marketing valuation of Internet channel additions. Journal of Marketing, 66(2), 102–119.
Girard, T., Korgaonkar, P., & Silverblatt, R. (2003). Relationship of type of product, shopping orientations, and demographics with preference for shopping on the Internet. Journal of Business and Psychology, 18(1), 101–120.
Greene, W. H. (2000). Econometric analysis (4th ed.). Upper Saddle: Prentice Hall.
Greenwald, A. A., & Leavitt, C. (1984). Audience involvement in advertising: four levels. Journal of Consumer Research, 11(1), 581–592.
Gupta, A., Su, B. C., & Walter, Z. (2004). An empirical study of consumer switching from traditional to electronic channels: a purchase-decision process perspective. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 8(3), 131–161.
Hartman, R. S., Doane, M. J., & Woo, C. K. (1991). Consumer rationality and the status quo. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(1), 141–161.
Hershey, J., Johnson, E., Meszaros, J., & Robinson, M. (1990). What is the right to sue worth? Working paper. Philadelphia: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequence: international differences in work related values. London: Sage.
Holbrook, M. B. (1994). The nature of customer’s value: An axiology of service in consumption experience. In R. T. Rust & R. L. Oliver (Eds.), Service quality: new directions in theory and practice (pp. 21–71). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Horowitz, J. K., & McConnell, K. E. (2002). A review of WTA/WTP studies. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 44(2), 426–447.
Hsieh, Y. C., Chiu, H. C., & Chiang, M. Y. (2005). Maintaining a committed online customer: a study across search-experience-credence products. Journal of Retailing, 81(1), 75–82.
Inman, J. J., Shankar, V., & Ferraro, R. (2004). The roles of channel-category associations and geodemographics in channel patronage. Journal of Marketing, 68(2), 51–71.
InternetRetailer.com. (2006). Retailers don’t fully coordinate marketing across channels, study says (accessed on September 15, 2010).
Jiang, Z., & Benbasat, I. (2005). Virtual product experience: effects of visual and functional control of products on perceived diagnosticity and flow in electronic shopping. Journal of Management Information Systems, 21(3), 111–148.
Jiang, Z., & Benbasat, I. (2007). The effects of presentation formats and task complexity on online consumers’ product understanding. MIS Quarterly, 31(3), 475–500.
Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1991). Anomalies: the endowment effect, loss aversion, and status quo bias. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1), 695–707.
Keen, C., Hayes, A., Ruyter, K., & Feinberg, R. (2004). E-tailers versus retailers: which factors determine consumers preferences. Journal of Business Research, 57(7), 685–695.
Kilcourse, B., & Rowen, S. (2008). Finding the integrated multi-channel retailer. Miami: Retail Systems Research.
Kim, S. S., Malhotra, N. K., & Narasimhan, S. (2005). Two competing perspectives on automatic use: a theoretical and empirical comparison. Information Systems Research, 16(4), 418–432.
Klein, L. R. (1998). Evaluating the potential of interactive media through a new lens: search versus experience goods. Journal of Business Research, 41(3), 195–203.
Krishnan, B. C., & Hartline, M. D. (2001). Band equity: is it more important in services? Journal of Services Marketing, 36(4), 328–342.
Lee, Y., Lee, Z., & Larson, K. R. T. (2003). Coping with internet channel conflict. Communications of the ACM, 46(7), 137–142.
Lin, C. P., & Ding, C. G. (2006). Evaluating group differences in gender during the formation of relationship quality and loyalty in ISP service. Journal of Organizational and End User Computing, 18(2), 38–62.
Liu, Y., & Sutanto, J. (2012). Buyers’ purchasing time and herd behavior on deal-of-the-day group-buying websites. Electronic Markets, 22(2), 83–93.
Madrian, B., & Shea, D. F. (2000). The power of suggestion: inertia in 401(k) participation and savings behavior. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116(4), 1149–1187.
Molesworth, M., & Suortti, J. P. (2002). Buying cars online: the adoption of the web for high-involvement, high-cost purchases. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 2(2), 155–168.
Montoya-Weiss, M. H., Voss, G. B., & Grewal, D. (2003). Determinants of online channel use and overall satisfaction with a relational multichannel service provider. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31(4), 448–458.
Morris, M. G., & Venkatesh, V. (2000). Age differences in technology adoption decisions: implications for a changing work force. Personnel Psychology, 53(2), 375–403.
Morris, M. G., Venkatesh, V., & Ackerman, P. L. (2005). Gender and age differences in employee decisions about new technology: an extension to the theory of planned behavior. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 52(1), 69–84.
Morton, F. S., Zettelmeyer, F., & Silva Russo, J. (2001). Internet car retailing. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 49(4), 501–519.
Nakayama, M., Sutcliffe, N., & Wan, Y. (2010). Has the web transformed experience goods into search goods? Electronic Markets, 20(3–4), 251–262.
Nelson, P. (1970). Information and consumer behavior. Journal of Political Economy, 78(2), 311–329.
Nelson, P. (1974). Advertising as information. Journal of Political Economy, 82(4), 729–754.
Neslin, S. A., Grewal, D., Leghorn, R., Shankar, V., Teerling, M. L., Thomas, J. S., & Verhoef, P. C. (2006). Challengers and opportunities in multichannel customer management. Journal of Service Research, 9(2), 95–112.
Neslin, S. A., & Shankar, V. (2009). Key issues in multichannel customer management: current knowledge and future directions. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23(1), 70–81.
Novak, T. P., Hoffman, D. L., & Peralta, M. (1999). Building consumer trust in online environments: the case for information privacy. Communications of the ACM, 42(4), 80–85.
Nunes, P. F., & Cespedes, F. V. (2003). The customer has escaped. Harvard Business Review, 81(11), 96–105.
Oliver, R. L., & DeSarbo, W. S. (1988). Response determinants in satisfaction judgments. Journal of Consumer Research, 14(4), 495–508.
Pauwels, K., & Neslin, S. A. (2009). Building with bricks and mortar: the revenue impact of opening physical stores in a multichannel environment. Working paper. Hanover: Dartmouth College.
Peters, L. H., O’Connor, E., & Wise, S. L. (1984). The specification and testing of useful moderator variable hypotheses. In T. S. Bateman, and G. R. Ferris (Eds), Method and analysis in organizational research (pp. 128–139). Reston, VA.
Peterson, R. A., Balasubramanian, S., & Bronnenberg, B. J. (1997). Exploring the implications of the internet for consumer marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 25(4), 329–346.
Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Communication and persuasion: central and peripheral routes to attitude change. New York: Springer.
Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Goldman, R. (1981). Personal involvement as a determinant of argument-based persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41(5), 847–855.
Podsakoff, P. M., Mackenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podskaoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biased in behavioural research: a critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.
Podsakoff, P. M., & Organ, D. W. (1986). Self-reported in organizational research: problems and prospects. Journal of Management, 12(4), 531–544.
Poon, S., & Joseph, M. (2000). Product characteristics and internet commerce benefit among small businesses. The Journal of Product and Brand Management, 9(1), 21–34.
Ratchford, B. T., Lee, M. S., & Talukdar, D. (2003). The impact of the internet on information search for automobiles. Journal of Marketing Research, 40(2), 193–209.
Richins, M. L., & Bloch, P. H. (1986). After the new wears off: the temporal context of product involvement. Journal of Consumer Research, 13(2), 280–285.
Ritov, I., & Baron, J. (1992). Status-quo and omission bias. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 5(1), 49–61.
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press.
Rosa, J. A., & Malter, A. J. (2003). E-(embodied) knowledge and e-commerce: how physiological factors affect on-line sales of experiential products. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(1–2), 63–75.
Samuelson, W., & Zeckhauser, R. J. (1988). Status quo bias in decision making. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 1(1), 7–59.
Song, P., Zhang, C., Chen, W., & Huang, L. (2009). Understanding usage transfer behavior between non-substitutable technologies: evidence from instant messenger and portal. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 56(3), 412–424.
Song, P., Zhang, C., Xu, Y., & Huang, L. (2010). Brand extension of online technology products: evidence from search engine to virtual communities and online news. Decision Support Systems, 49(1), 91–99.
Suh, J. C., & Yi, Y. (2006). When brand attitudes affect the consumer satisfaction-loyalty relation: the moderating role of product involvement. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16(2), 145–155.
Sweeney, J. C., & Soutar, G. N. (2001). Consumer perceived value: the development of a multiple item scale. Journal of Retailing, 77(2), 203–220.
Teerling, M. L., & Huizingh, K. R. E. (2005). The complementarity between online and offline consumer attitudes and behavior. Working paper. Netherlands: University of Groningen.
Tsiros, M., & Mittal, V. (2000). Regret: a model of its antecedents and consequences in consumer decision naking. Journal of Consumer Research, 26(4), 401–417.
Van Baal, S., & Dach, C. (2005). Free riding and customer retention across retailers channels. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 19(2), 75–85.
Venkatesan, R., Kumar, V., & Ravishanker, N. (2007). Multichannel shopping: causes and consequences. Journal of Marketing, 71(2), 114–132.
Venkatesh, V., & Morris, M. G. (2000). Why don’t men ever stop to ask for directions? gender, social influence, and their role in technology acceptance and usage behavior. MIS Quarterly, 24(1), 113–139.
Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User acceptance of information technology: toward a unified view. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 425–478.
Verhoef, P. C., Neslin, S. A., & Vroomen, B. (2007). Multichannel customer management: understanding the research-shopper phenomenon. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24, 129–148.
Weathers, D., Sharma, S., & Wood, S. L. (2007). Effects of online communication practices on consumer perceptions of performance uncertainty for search and experience goods. Journal of Retailing, 83(4), 393–400.
Yang, Z., & Peterson, R. T. (2004). Customer perceived value, satisfaction, and loyalty: the role of switching costs. Psychology and Marketing, 21(10), 799–822.
Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1985). Measuring the involvement construct. Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), 341–352.
Zeithaml, V. A., & Bitner, M. J. (2000). Services marketing: integrating customer focus across the firm (2nd ed.). Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
Zhang, J., Farris, P. W., Irvin, J. W., Kushwaha, T., Steenburgh, T. J., & Weitz, B. A. (2010). Crafting integrated multichannel retailing strategies. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 24(2), 168–180.
The authors acknowledge very useful and constructive comments by editor and two anonymous referees. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation of China (71072045, 71002029 and 71102039).
Responsible Editor: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann
About this article
Cite this article
Wang, Q., Song, P. & Yang, X. Understanding the substitution effect between online and traditional channels: evidence from product attributes perspective. Electron Markets 23, 227–239 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-012-0114-2
- Substitution effect
- Status quo bias
- Search and experience goods
- Product involvement