A Model of Online Consumer Behavior

  • Michel Laroche
  • Marie-Odile Richard
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


In this chapter, we develop and explain a model of online consumer behavior which is born out the authors’ collective research output in the last 10 years. The model presented is original and derives from previous ones with additional variables. It is based on the SOR paradigm of Mehrabian and Russell (1974). First visitors are exposed to website interfaces. Following exposure to website interfaces are emotional responses (pleasure, arousal and dominance; Mehrabian and Russell 1974) leading to website entertainment (affective atmospherics), flow (skills, challenge and interactivity) and some cognitive atmospherics. Most web atmospherics belong to the latter category (effectiveness, informativeness, structure, and organization) because the concern is to evaluate the impact of information content on other variables. All these dimensions lead to the processing variables such as exploratory behavior, website involvement, product involvement, website attitudes and product attitudes. To complete this model, are outcomes such as purchase intentions and online purchases. Finally we cover some selected important moderators, such as gender, personality variables and culture. We conclude with some ideas for future research, including applications to social media and brand communities, and with some managerial implications.


Consumer Online behavior Web atmospherics Emotions Involvement, attitudes Personality Gender Culture 


  1. Balabanis, G., & Reynolds, N. L. (2001). Consumer attitudes towards multi-channel retailers’ web sites: The role of involvement, brand attitude, internet knowledge and visit duration. Journal of Business Strategies, 18(2), 105–131.Google Scholar
  2. Bauer, H. H., Grether, M., & Leach, M. (2002). Building customer relations over the internet. Industrial Marketing Management, 31(2), 155–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumgartner, H., & Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M. (1996). Exploratory consumer behavior: Conceptualization and measurement. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13(2), 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berlyne, D. E. (1963). Motivational problems raised by exploratory and epistemic behavior. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of science (Vol. 5, pp. 284–364). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Bruner, G. C, I. I., & Kumar, A. (2000). Web commercials and advertising hierarchy-of-effects. Journal of Advertising Research, 40(1–2), 35–42.Google Scholar
  6. Cacioppo, J. T., & Petty, R. E. (1989). Effects of message repetition on argument processing, recall, and persuasion. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 10, 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cacioppo, J. T., Petty, R. E., Kao, C. F., & Rodriguez, R. (1986). Central and peripheral routes to persuasion: An individual difference perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1032–1043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chakraborty, G., Lala, V., & Warren, D. (2003). What do customers consider important in B2B websites? Journal of Advertising Research, 43, 50–61.Google Scholar
  9. Chatterjee, S., Heath, T. B., & Mishra, D. B. (2002). Communicating quality through signals and substantive messages: The effects of supporting information and need for cognition. In S. M. Broniarczyk & K. Nakamoto (Eds.), Advances in consumer research (Vol. 29, pp. 228–229). Valdosta, GA: Association for Consumer Research.Google Scholar
  10. Chebat, J.-C., Gélinat-Chebat, C., & Therrien, K. (2005). Lost in a mall: The effects of gender, familiarity with the shopping mall and the shopping values on shoppers’ way finding processes. Journal of Business Research, 58(11), 1590–1598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, Q., & Wells, W. D. (1999). Attitude toward the site. Journal of Advertising Research, 39(5), 27–38.Google Scholar
  12. Chen, Q., Clifford, S. J., & Wells, W. D. (2002). Attitude toward the site II: New information. Journal of Advertising Research, 42(2), 33–45.Google Scholar
  13. Cleveland, M., & Laroche, M. (2007). Acculturation to the global consumer culture: Scale development and research paradigm. Journal of Business Research, 60(3), 249–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cohen, A. R., Stotland, E., & Wolfe, D. M. (1955). An experimental investigation of need for cognition. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 291–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Coyle, J. R., & Thorson, E. (2001). The effects of progressive levels of interactivity and vividness in web marketing sites. Journal of Advertising, 30(3), 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1977). Beyond boredom and anxiety. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Dailey, L. C. (2004). Navigational web atmospherics: Explaining the influence of restrictive navigation cues. Journal of Business Research, 57(7), 795–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 318–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Davis, L., Wang, S., & Lindridge, A. (2008). Culture influences on emotional responses to on-line store atmospheric cues. Journal of Business Research, 61, 806–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dickson, P. R. (2000). Understanding the trade winds: The global evolution of production, consumption and the internet. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(June), 115–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Donthu, N. (2001). Does your website measure up? Marketing Management, 10(4), 29–32.Google Scholar
  22. Elliott, M. T., & Speck, P. S. (2005). Factors that affect attitude toward a retail website. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 13(1), 40–51.Google Scholar
  23. Eroglu, S. A., Machleit, K. A., & Davis, L. M. (2001). Atmospheric qualities of online retailing: A conceptual model and implications. Journal of Business Research, 54(2), 177–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fogg, B. J., Soohoo, C., Danielsen, D., Marable, L., Stanford, J., & Tauber, E. (2002). How do people evaluate a web site’s credibility? Results from a large study. Consumer WebWatch. Available at
  25. Fortin, D. R., & Dholakia, R. R. (2000). The impact of interactivity and vividness on involvement: an empirical test of the Hoffman-Novak model. Presentation, INFORMS conference on understanding consumer behavior on the internet.Google Scholar
  26. Furrer, O., Liu, B. S., & Sudharshan, D. (2000). The relationships between culture and service quality perceptions. Journal of Service Research, 2(4), 355–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gallagher, K., Foster, K. D., & Parsons, J. (2001). The medium is not the message: Advertising effectiveness and content evaluation in print and on the web. Journal of Advertising Research, 41(4), 57–70.Google Scholar
  28. Griffith, D. A. (2005). An examination of the influences of store layout in online retailing. Journal of Business Research, 58(10), 1391–1396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harvin, R. (2000). In internet branding the off-lines have it. Brandweek, 41(4), 30–31.Google Scholar
  30. Haugtvedt, C. P., & Petty, R. E. (1992). Personality and persuasion: Need for cognition moderates the persistence and resistance of attitude changes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 308–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Higie, R. A., & Feick, L. F. (1989). Enduring involvement: Conceptual and measurement issues. In Advances in consumer research (vol. 16). Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research, pp. 690–696.Google Scholar
  32. Hoffman, D. L., & Novak, T. P. (1996). Marketing in hypermedia computer-mediated environments: Conceptual foundations. Journal of Marketing, 60(3), 50–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hofstede, G. (1991). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across cultures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Hsu, F. L. K. (1983). Exorcising the trouble makers: Magic, science, and culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  35. Huizingh, E. (2000). The content and design of websites: An empirical study. Information and Management, 37, 123–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jee, J., & Lee, W. N. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of perceived interactivity: An exploratory study. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 3(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
  37. Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53, 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Katerattanakul, P. (2002). Framework of effective website design for business-to-consumer internet commerce. INFOR, 40(1), 57–70.Google Scholar
  39. Korgaonkar, P. K., & Wolin, L. D. (1999). A multivariate analysis of web usage. Journal of Advertising Research, 39(2), 53–68.Google Scholar
  40. Koufaris, M., Kambil, A., & Labarbera, P. A. (2001). Consumer behavior in web-based commerce: An empirical study. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 6(2), 115–138.Google Scholar
  41. Kozhevnikov, M., Kosslyn, S., & Shephard, J. (2005). Spatial versus objects visualizers: A new characterization of visual cognitive style. Memory and Cognition, 33(4), 721–726.Google Scholar
  42. Kwon, O. B., Kim, C. R., & Lee, E. J. (2002). Impact of website information design factors on consumer ratings of web-based auction sites. Behaviour and Information Technology, 21(6), 387–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Laczniak, R. N., & Muehling, D. D. (1990). Delay effects of advertising moderated by involvement. Journal of Business Research, 20, 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Laroche, M., Bergeron, J., & Goutaland, C. (2001). A three-dimensional scale of intangibility. Journal of Service Research, 4(1), 26–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Laroche, M., Habibi, M. R., Richard, M. O., & Sankaranarayanan, R. (2012). The effects of social media based brand communities on brand community markers, value creation practices, brand trust and brand loyalty. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(5), 1755–1767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Leong, E. K. F., Ewing, M. T., & Pitt, L. F. (2002). E-comprehension: Evaluating B2B websites using readability formulae. Industrial Marketing Management, 31(2), 125–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Liu, Y., & Shrum, L. J. (2002). What is interactivity and is it always such a good thing? Implications of definition, person, and situation for the influence of interactivity on advertising effectiveness. Journal of Advertising, 31(4), 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lohse, G. L., Bellman, S., & Johnson, E. J. (2000). Consumer buying behavior on the Internet: findings from panel data. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 14(1), 15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Luna, D., Peracchio, L. A., & de Juan, M. D. (2002). Cross-cultural and cognitive aspects of website navigation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(4), 397–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lynch, P. D., Kent, R. J., & Srinivasan, S. S. (2001). The global internet shopper: Evidence from shopping tasks in twelve countries. Journal of Advertising Research, 41(3), 15–23.Google Scholar
  51. Mantel, S. P., & Kardes, F. R. (1999). The role of direction of comparison, attribute-based processing, and attitude-based processing in consumer preference. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(4), 335–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Martínez-López, F. J., Sousa, C. M. P., & Gázquez-Abad, J. C. (2011). A cultural constructivist analysis of the internet’s role in the international approximation of markets. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 19(1), 57–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mazaheri, E., Richard, M. O., & Laroche, M. (2011). Online consumer behavior: A comparison between Canadian and Asian website visitors. Journal of Business Research, 64, 958–965.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McAlexander, J. H., Schouten, W. J., & Koening, F. H. (2002). Building brand community. Journal of Marketing, 66(1), 38–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. McMillan, S. J., Hwang, J.-S., & Lee, G. (2003). Effects of structural and perceptual factors on attitude toward the website. Journal of Advertising Research, 43(4), 400–409.Google Scholar
  56. McQuail, D. (1983). Mass communication theory: An introduction. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  57. McReynolds, P. (1971). The nature and assessment of intrinsic motivation. In P. McReynolds (Ed.), Advances in psychological assessment (Vol. 2, pp. 157–177). Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior.Google Scholar
  58. Mehrabian, A., & Russell, J. A. (1974). The basic emotional impact of environments. Perception Motor Skills, 38, 283–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Montoya-Weiss, M. M., 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Muniz, M. A., & O’Guinn, C. T. (2001). Brand community. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(4), 412–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Murray, K. B. (1991). A test of services marketing theory: Consumer information acquisition activities. Journal of Marketing, 55(1), 10–25.Google Scholar
  62. Novak, T. P., Hoffman, D. L., & Yung, Y.-F. (2000). Modeling the flow construct in online environments: A structural modeling approach. Marketing Science, 19(1), 22–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Passini, R. E. (1984). Spatial representations: A way-finding perspective. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 4(2), 153–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Perse, E., & Greenberg-Dunn, D. (1998). The utility of home computers and media use: implications of multimedia and connectivity. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 42(4), 435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Poels, K., & Dewitte, S. (2008). Getting a line on print ads. Journal of Advertising, 37(4), 63–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Poruban, S. (2002). Effective use of the web. Oil Gas Journal, 100(12), 19.Google Scholar
  67. Putrevu, S., & Lord, K. R. (2003). Processing Internet communications: A motivation, opportunity and ability framework. Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, 25, 45–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Richard, M. O. (2005). Modeling the impact of internet atmospherics on surfer behavior. Journal of Business Research, 58(12), 1632–1642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Richard, M. O., & Chandra, R. (2005). A model of consumer web navigational behavior: Conceptual development and application. Journal of Business Research, 58(8), 1019–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Richard, M. O., Chebat, J. C., Yang, Z., & Putrevu, S. (2010). A proposed model of online consumer behavior: Assessing the role of gender. Journal of Business Research, 63(9/10), 926–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rodríguez-Ardura, I., Martínez-López, F. J., & Luna, P. (2010). Going with the consumer towards the social web environment: a review of extant knowledge. International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 3(4), 415–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rowley, J. (2000). Product search in e-shopping: A review and research propositions. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 17(1), 20–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Russell, J. A. (1979). Affective space is bipolar. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 345–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Schimack, U., Radharkishnan, P., Oishi, S., Dzokoto, V., & Ahadi, S. (2002). Culture, personality, and subjective well-being: Integrating process models of life satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(4), 582–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Schmidt, J. B., & Spreng, R. A. (1996). A proposed model of external consumer information search. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 24(3), 246–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Beyond individualism/collectivism: New dimensions of values. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S. C. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: Theory application and methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  77. Shim, S., Eastlick, M. A., Lotz, S. L., & Warrington, P. (2001). An online pre-purchase intentions model: The role of intention to search. Journal of Retailing, 77(3), 397–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Shimp, T. A. (1981). Attitude toward the ad as a mediator of consumer brand choice. Journal of Advertising, 10(2), 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sicilia, M., Ruiz, S., & Munuera, J. L. (2005). Effects of interactivity in a web site. Journal of Advertising, 34(3), 31–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Smith, D. N., & Sivakumar, K. (2004). Flow and internet shopping behavior: A conceptual model and research propositions. Journal of Business Research, 57(10), 1199–1208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M., & Baumgartner, H. (1992). The role of optimum stimulation level in exploratory consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 19(December), 434–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Steenkamp, J. E. M., & Geyskens, I. (2006). How country characteristics affect the perceived value of web sites. Journal of Marketing, 70(July), 136–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Stevenson, J. S., Bruner, G. C, I. I., & Kumar, A. (2000). Web page background and viewer attitudes. Journal of Advertising Research, 40(1/2), 29–34.Google Scholar
  84. Sundar, S. S., Kalyanaraman, S., & Brown, J. (2003). Explicating web site interactivity: Impression formation effects in political campaign sites. Communication Research, 30(1), 30–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Supphellen, J. S., & Nysveen, H. (2001). Drivers of intention to revisit the websites of well-known companies. International Journal of Market Research, 43(3), 341–352.Google Scholar
  86. Taylor, D. G., & Strutton, D. (2010). Has e-marketing come of age? Modeling historical influences on post-adoption era Internet consumer behaviors. Journal of Business Research, 63(9–10), 950–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  88. Tsikriktsis, N. (2002). Does culture influence web site quality expectations? An empirical study. Journal of Service Research, 5(2), 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Tuten, T. L., & Bisnjak, M. (2001). Understanding differences in web usage: The role of need for cognition and the five factor model of personality. Social Behavior and Personality, 29(4), 391–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Vijayasarathy, L. R., & Jones, L. M. (2000). Print and Internet catalog shopping: Assessing attitudes and intentions. Internet Research, 10(3), 191–202.Google Scholar
  91. Vrechopoulos, A. P., O’Keefe, R. M., Doukidis, G. I., & Siomkos, G. J. (2004). Virtual store layout: An experimental comparison in the context of grocery retail. Journal of Retailing, 80, 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wolin, L. D., & Korgaonkar, P. (2003). Web advertising: Gender, differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior. Internet Research, 13(5), 375–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Yoo, C. Y., & Stout, P. A. (2001). Factors affecting users’ interactivity with the website and the consequences of users’ interactivity. In Proceedings, American Academy of Advertising (pp. 53–61). Villanova, PA: Villanova University.Google Scholar
  94. Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1985). Measuring the involvement construct. Journal of Consumer Research, 12, 341–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Molson School of BusinessConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.MontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations