Information Search at the Point of Sale: How Information Source Influences Customers’ Purchase Channel Switching Intention: An Abstract
Understanding the influence of customers’ mobile device usage at the point of sale is a fundamental insight for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with online stores. Prior research has extensively studied diverse facets of mobile marketing communication (e.g., Bues et al., 2017; Goldfarb & Tucker, 2011; Luo et al., 2014). However, customers’ mobile search behavior at the point of sale and its influence on their shopping behavior have not been sufficiently investigated (Daurer et al., 2015). Therefore, we developed a model centered toward the effect of the source of information (mobile internet search vs. frontline-employee interaction vs. product description) on customers’ channel switching intentions (from the physical retailer to a competitive online store) during the purchase process.
Based on a mixed-methods approach involving qualitative interviews and a field experiment, the purpose of this paper is (1) to identify switching costs during a purchase process and (2) to examine the impact of information source on purchase channel switching intentions.
Matching the qualitative data with previous literature, we identified four types of switching costs that could explain the effects of the determinants on customers’ purchase channel-switching intention. The results indicate that purchase channel preferences are determined by the channel used to gather product information as well as other contextual determinants, such as relative online price advantage, delivery time, and time spent to get to the store.
To test the proposed model, a single-factor between-subjects field experiment was conducted. A total of 575 undergraduate students completed different experimental tasks at an electronics store and a follow-up questionnaire.
In this context, the concept of switching costs provided an appropriate approach for explaining customers’ channel switching intentions in an ongoing purchase process. While existing literature has mostly focused on mobile price comparisons as a potential risk for retailers, this study provides evidence for the impact of general mobile device usage in the purchase process.