Understanding the substitution effect between online and traditional channels: evidence from product attributes perspective

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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).

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Correspondence to Peijian Song.

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Responsible Editor: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann

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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

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Keywords

  • Multichannel
  • Substitution effect
  • Status quo bias
  • Search and experience goods
  • Product involvement

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  • M1