Research

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

Introduction

In this chapter, research can be defined as an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem, undertaken with the purpose of finding answers or solutions to it. Research provides information that will help to deal with problems that arise in the industry or companies. Research is then carefully analyzed with the existence of primary and secondary data. Both qualitative and quantitative data can also be used in a research to meet the outcome of a study.

Quantitative data which means as generally gathered through structured questions or qualitative which as generated from the broad answers to specific questions in interviews, or from responses to open-ended questions in a questionnaire, or through observation, or from already available information gathered from various sources.

This chapter is the backbone of this research that comprises the research framework to determine the relationship between independent and dependent variables, operational definitions of research variables, research hypotheses, sources of research data, sampling design, research instrument and measurement, and data analysis.

Operational Definitions of Research Variables

Operational definitions of research variables are to define and describe the research variables as to what they mean to the researcher in this study. In this study, there are five independent variables and one dependent variable. Those six independent variables are:

  1. Price attractiveness
  2. When there is the presence of promotional offers, consumers will have higher intention to purchase in web-shopping; purchasing decisions and choice making from alternative evaluations can be made easily when there is the presence of promotional offers (So, et.al., 2005).

    In this study, price attractiveness is defined as the amount which is slightly cheaper compared to its original price that a person or customer needs to pay in order to obtain a particular product from the seller. Price attractiveness includes discounts, VIP prices, and promotions. Consumers will save in monetary when there are price promotions on specific products (Xia, et. al., 2009). Discounts refer to price cut that each shopper will get from the retailer.VIP prices refers to a price cut that a special shopper, mostly a shopper that frequently purchase from that particular store. Promotions refer to either a cheaper price for the apparel or some apparels that offers "buy one free one". For shopping in online and offline stores, there will be some differences as online stores as it doesn't have to go through the supply chain.

  3. Time saving
  4. Accomplishing the shopping trip as soon as possible refers to the time-saving oriented consumers and they prefer store choices favoring quick shopping (Hansen, et. al., 2009). In online shopping, it requires less effort and better decision making for consumers who opt to purchase at the e-store (Jiang, et. al., 2005). Online shopping will also increase the search efficiency when travelling and psychological costs are eliminated to bring convenience in e-shopping (Jayawardhena et. al., 2009).

    In this study, time saving is defined as the duration taken by person to conduct shopping. Time saving is an important factor for consumers who shop for apparels in either online or offline stores because both medium would consume and affect a consumer's time. Time saving can be divided into two factors which is convenient and saving efforts in other psychological factors. Convenient means to complete a particular task shortly and conveniently without hassle. For this study, psychological factors refer to traffic jam, no parking space, and accident and so on. In my opinion, online shopping will be less time consuming compared to offline shopping. This is because online shopping requires just a single click and the product will be delivered in the span of 24 hours.

  5. Perceived Risk
  6. Perceived risk is defined as the increases in psychological costs when feelings of discomfort occur in an individual (Stone, et. al., 1993). Shopping on the internet will be a challenge for consumers because it is a new medium for consumers and consumers have less experience with it (Monsuwe, et. al., 2004). Perceived risk can be reduced when the consumers are more familiar with the online technologies (Kleijnen, et. al, 2007).

    In my opinion, perceived risk is defined as the risk or possibility of failure that a consumer might face when they perform a certain task. It has the possibility of success and failure upon completing a duty or assignment. In this study, perceived risk has four factors which includes product delivery, expected product attribute, personal and private information, and financial security. Perceived risk on product delivery means that the consumers are unsure when the product will be delivered to their door step. Expected product attribute in perceived risk means that consumers might get the product that they are not expecting. For example, the color and size of the apparel that they purchase is not as they expected. Personal and private information in perceived risk happens when consumers are afraid that their personal information are not secured in the internet. Lastly, financial security in perceived risk will happen when consumers are unsure and uncertain on the online transaction system. When a person is new to the product and services or even the service provider, they will feel unsecure and uncertain when they go through the process of purchasing or at the product usage stage.

  7. Enjoyment and excitement
  8. Excitement is defined as high level of enjoyment and stimulation that has the positive emotional state (Russell, et. al., 1980). Monsuwe, et. al., 2004 stated that as the web site's shopping is more enjoyable, consumers are more likely to purchase a product. Conversely from the research of Dennis, (2002), offline shopping will be more enjoyable than online shopping as regarded by the consumers.

    In my opinion, enjoyment and excitement refers to the feeling of enthusiasm and satisfaction that a consumer experience upon completing a particular task. Enjoyment and excitement has two factors which is the experience on the shopping process and also the environment that consumers shop in. Consumers are likely to be satisfied when a customer previously encountered a good experience on a purchasing process, product usage process or after-usage process. Environment refers to the ambience of shopping such as people around the consumer which might be their friends or family, shopping mall environment and so on. Consumers will encounter the feeling of excitement as they are new towards those processes. In online shopping for apparels, the process of getting the product or services creates the feeling of excitement to the consumers especially when it comes to the process of the product delivery period. While in an offline shopping environment, consumers enjoy in terms of the physical shopping atmosphere and entertainment with their surroundings.

  9. Tangibility
  10. Tangibility products including shoes and clothes; although it is considered as standardized products, consumers need to feel it and touch it to make their purchasing decisions (Rajamma, et. al., 2007). An online context, lower tangibility of a product is caused by the lack of physical contact and assistance in the shopping process; consumer's intention to shop on the internet will be low when there is a need to seek advice from a salesperson regarding the considered product. (Monsuwe, et. al., 2004).

    In my opinion, tangibility refers to the feeling of touch, smell, see, hear and taste of a product or service provided by a service provider. This gives consumers a feeling of guarantee and security when purchasing a product with high tangibility. Tangibility is divided into two factors which is "touch and feel" and experiencing the product. Touch and feel is when consumers can personally feel and touch the apparel before they purchase it. Consumers are more comfortable and have the willingness to purchase a product when the product is tangible to them. Experiencing the product is when consumers can experience the apparel or maybe to try and wear it to see it whether it fits them or not before purchasing. When the level of tangibility is high, consumers are likely to reduce their perceived risk towards the product.

  11. High Interactivity
  12. Interactivity is defined as the degree to which two or more communication parties can act on each other, on the communication medium, and on the messages and the degree to which such influences are synchronized (Liu et. al., 2002). The terms of interactivity in an online context is based on the detailed information given, easy-to-read or descriptive information is available (Park, et. al., 2005). In online shopping, company representatives must be able to answer customer inquiries and solve problems as soon as they occur because customer lack of direct, face-to-face interaction with the service provider (Liu, et. al., 2008).

    In my opinion, high interactivity means high level of communication which involves in the shopping process. Interactivity is very important as it will determine the customer to purchase a certain product or service. This is because in purchasing apparels, customers are very particular about sizes, opinions on the outlook and fashion advices. High interactivity is divided into two factors which is face-to-face communication and immediate feedback from the retailer. Face-to-face communication refers to the direct communication and interaction between the buyer and seller. Feedback from the retailer is when the shopper will get immediate response from the buyer if they faced any problems regarding the product. For apparels, it is important to get feedback and responses from the retailer because sometimes the shopper are unsure whether the clothing looks good or not good on them.

  13. Store type (moderating variable)
  14. In this study, store type is divided into two types. The first type is offline shopping and the second type is online shopping. Offline shopping is referred to as the brick and mortar store which is known as more tangible to the consumers because it has a physical location that everyone can visit (Rajamma, et al., 2007). Online shopping refers to consumers use the online stores until the transactional stage of purchasing and logistic (Monsuwe, et al., 2004).

    In my opinion, offline shopping holds factors such as low perceived risk, high tangibility and high interactivity. This is because consumers can directly touch and feel the apparels and try it on in the stores to make sure they make the correct purchasing decision. Offline shopping also has high interactivity between the buyer and seller. All of these factors will lead consumers to have lower perceived risk in offline shopping. On the other hand, online shopping has higher perceived risk. This is because consumers have lower interactivity with the e-tailers via online. In this study, it is mainly focusing on B2C, which is business to consumers. There are possibilities that consumers will receive their product later than the promised delivery date. Besides that, there is a possibility that consumers will receive product that they did not expected. However, online shopping is also expected to have advantages such as attractive prices and time saving.

    In this study, there is only one dependent variable, which is consumer's intention to purchase apparels either in an online or offline stores. When consumers favor a product or services offered, they will have the intention to purchase the product. The factors that will affect the intention of consumers purchasing in online and offline stores for apparels will be the price attractiveness, time saving, perceived risks, enjoyment and excitement, tangibility and high interactivity. Throughout this study, the term consumers will be used more than customers because this study is targeting to the overall consumers that used or purchased apparels through different store. Consumers are defined in this study as a person who is not necessarily the customer of the store, but they are the user of the product, while in this study customer is defined as a person who buys products or services regularly from a store.

Research Framework

Research framework shows the relationship between the independent variables and the dependent variables in this study. In this research, graphical research framework is presented. The figure below shows the model of this research:

In this research, price attractiveness is expected to show a positive relationship towards consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores. This is because as the price attractiveness of the apparels increase, the consumer's purchasing intention for apparels will increase either in online or offline stores. Price attractiveness is expected to be distinctive in both online and offline stores.

Time saving in the shopping process is expected to show a positive relationship towards consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores. This is because as the time saving in the shopping process increase, consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores increase and vice versa. Time saving is expected to be distinctive in online shopping than to offline shopping.

Consumer's perceived risk is expected to show a negative relationship towards consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores. This is because when consumer's perceived risk increase, consumer's purchasing intention either in online or offline stores will decrease and vice versa. Perceived risk is expected to be more distinctive in online shopping than to offline shopping.

The enjoyment and excitement in the shopping process is expected to show a positive relationship towards consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores. When the enjoyment or excitement in the shopping process increase, consumer's purchasing intention either in an online or offline store will increase too. Enjoyment and excitement is expected to be distinctive in both online and offline shopping.

Tangibility of the apparels is expected to show a positive relationship towards consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores. When the tangibility of the apparels increases, consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores will also increases. Tangibility is expected to be more distinctive in offline shopping than to online shopping.

High interactivity between the customer and the retailer is expected to a positive relationship towards consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores. When high interactivity increases, consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores will also increase. High interactivity is expected to be more distinctive in offline shopping compared to online shopping.

Research Hypotheses

Research hypothesis is the untested statement where it may be a true statement or a false statement. Hypothesis testing is actually statements that are proposed by the researcher and it is the relationship that a researcher expected. In this research, there are 5 hypotheses to be tested which are:

H1a = There is an association between price attractiveness and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

Price attractiveness is expected to attract consumers because retailer offers lower prices than the original price to the consumers. In some shopping environment, there will be free gifts or rebates to increase consumer's purchasing intention. Thus, price attractiveness is expected to increase the consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H1b = Price attractiveness is distinctive in both online and offline shopping.

When there is a promotion or discount available, consumers are expected to have the eagerness to purchase the product. Thus, it is expected that price attractiveness is distinctive in both online and offline shopping.

H2a = There is an association between time saving and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

Consumers are more delighted to conduct shopping when less effort is needed. This is useful for consumers who lives on a very hectic life or busy with their job. Thus, it is expected that time saving is expected to increase consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H2b = Time saving is distinctive in online shopping than to offline shopping.

When conducting online shopping, time effect is expected to be considered by the consumers because they might not want to waste time on other psychological costs such as dressing up for the outing or finding a car park in a shopping mall. Thus, time saving is expected to be distinctive in online shopping compared to offline shopping.

H3a = There is an association between perceived risk is and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

In offline shopping, consumers might have the risk to bump into an accident while on the way to the shopping mall or they tend to have the risk of not having a parking space in the parking lot. Snatch or robbery might happen in offline shopping. While in online shopping, consumers are more concern about the privacy and security factors. They will also consider the risk of purchasing the wrong product, wrong color or wrong size of apparel. Thus, perceived risk is expected to have association with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels but it is negatively correlated.

H3b = Perceived risk is distinctive in online shopping than to offline shopping.

People tend to have higher perceived risk when in online shopping because there is lack of face-to-face communication with the retailer. This will lead consumers to have less confident and have less trust on the product. Thus, perceived risk is expected to be more distinctive in online shopping compared to offline shopping.

H4a = There is an association between enjoyment and excitement and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

Consumer's emotion plays an important role to determine their purchasing intention. When a consumer is full of anger or have negative emotion, their intention to purchase apparels will be low. Inversely, when a consumer has positive emotion and they are happy or feel fun, they tend to shop more and intention to purchase will also increase. Thus, enjoyment and excitement is expected to increase consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H4b = Enjoyment and excitement is distinctive in both online and offline shopping

It is believed that when consumers enjoy or have an excitement feeling in the shopping environment, they will have no issue in shopping either in an online or offline context. When a consumer enjoyed the experience of shopping online, he or she will not hesitate to purchase apparels from the internet. Similarly, when a consumer enjoyed the experience of offline shopping, he or she will continue to purchase apparels from physical store of the shopping mall. Thus, it is expected that enjoyment and excitement are distinctive in both online and offline shopping.

H5a = There is an association between tangibility is and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

In a shopping context, apparel is a product which is highly associated with tangibility. Consumers are more likely to purchase apparel when they have the ability to touch, feel and try on the clothes. They are also concerned about the color and size of the apparel so that they will not have the chance to purchase a wrong apparel that are not preferred by them. Thus, tangibility is expected to increase consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H5b = Tangibility is distinctive in offline shopping than to online shopping.

In an offline shopping environment, it is obvious that the level of tangibility is higher compared to online shopping. In online shopping, consumers are only able to view the product in a screen and they are not able to touch or feel it. While in offline shopping, consumers have the ability to touch and feel the product and they can even try the product on the spot. Thus, tangibility is expected to be more distinctive in offline shopping than to online shopping.

H6a = There is an association between high interactivity and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

Product such as apparels will have the need to seek advice from sales personnel in order to purchase the right one. It is believed when there is less interactivity between the consumer and retailer, he or she is less likely to purchase the product because he or she is not confident with the choice made. Thus, high interactivity is expected to increase the consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H6b = High interactivity is distinctive in offline shopping than to online shopping

In an offline shopping context, it is obvious that the degree of interactivity between the shopper and retailer is higher compared to online shopping. Shoppers can ask questions or advice on the spot and getting immediate feedback on the product that they intend to purchase. Thus, high interactivity is expected to be more distinctive in offline shopping compared to online shopping.

H7a = There is an association between the store type and consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

Store is divided into two types. First is the online store and second is the offline store. When it is online store, consumers will have the intention to purchase apparels because of certain factors such as time saving and price attractiveness. While in offline store, consumer will have the intention to purchase apparels because of its low perceived risk, high interactivity and high level of tangibility. Thus, it is expected that store type is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H7b = Consumer's purchasing intention for apparels is distinctive in offline shopping than to online shopping.

For apparels, normally consumers will try to purchase it in offline stores because the level of tangibility is higher compared to online stores. In offline shopping, consumers can try on the clothing and check whether it fits or suits them or not; where else in online shopping consumers can only rely on the color and description of the apparel by the e-tailer.

These hypotheses can be further explained in null and alternative hypothesis:

Hypothesis 1 (a)

H0 = Price attractiveness is not associated with the consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

H1 = Price attractiveness is associated with the consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

Hypothesis 1 (b)

H0 = There is no difference between price attractiveness in online and offline store.

H1 = There is a difference between price attractiveness in online and offline store.

Hypothesis 2 (a)

H0 = Time saving is not associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

H1 = Time saving is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

Hypothesis 2 (b)

H0 = There is a no difference between time saving in online shopping.

H1 = There is a difference between time saving in online shopping.

Hypothesis 3 (a)

H0 = Perceived risk is not associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

H1 = Perceived risk is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

Hypothesis 3 (b)

H0 = There is no difference between perceived risk in online shopping.

H1 = There is a difference between perceived risk in online shopping.

Hypothesis 4 (a)

H0 = Enjoyment and excitement is not associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

H1= Enjoyment and excitement is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

Hypothesis 4 (b)

H0 = There is no difference between enjoyment and excitement in online and offline shopping.

H1= There is a difference between enjoyment and excitement in online and offline shopping.

Hypothesis 5 (a)

H0 = Tangibility is not associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

H1 = Tangibility is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

Hypothesis 5 (b)

H0 = There is no difference between tangibility in offline shopping.

H1 = There is difference between tangibility in offline shopping.

Hypothesis 6 (a)

H0 = High interactivity is not associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

H1 = High interactivity is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels either in online or offline stores.

Hypothesis 6 (b)

H0 = There is no difference between high interactivity in offline shopping.

H1 = There is difference between high interactivity in offline shopping.

Hypothesis 7 (a)

H0 = Store type is not associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

H0 = Store type is associated with consumer's purchasing intention for apparels.

Hypothesis 7 (b)

H0 = There is no difference between consumer's purchasing intention in offline shopping.

H0 = There is difference between consumer's purchasing intention in offline shopping.

Sources of Research Data

Based on this research, primary and secondary data will be gathered to have an accurate output. Primary data will be the structured questionnaire that will be distributed to shoppers that have experience in conducting online shopping and offline shopping. Secondary data is found in online journals, articles, and others reading materials. In this research, online journals and articles are all obtained from Emerald.

Sampling Design

For this research, snowball sampling of non-probability sampling will be applied. In snowball sampling, an initial group of respondent is selected, usually at random. After being interviewed, these respondents are asked to identify others who belong to the target population of interest. In this study, a random population that experienced online and offline shopping will be chosen. After that, this group of random population will propose another population which has the experience of online and offline shopping.

The reason why convenience sampling are not chosen because not everyone or passerby has the experience on online shopping; judgmental sampling is not chosen because I might not know and judge who have the experience of online shopping; and the reason why quota sampling is not chosen is because age, income or genders are not developed to categorized the respondents.

The reason why simple random sampling is not chosen is because not all respondents that are equally selected has the experience in online shopping; systematic sampling is not chosen because of limited time frame, I am unable to divide my targeted populations in different area of location and it is quite difficult to conduct this method because the number of sample is large; stratified sampling is not chosen because there is unnecessary to develop the two-step process which is needed to partition it into subpopulations; while cluster sampling is not chosen because of time frame limitations, two stages in cluster sampling cannot be applied.

Research Instrument and Measurement

In this study, a survey form or a questionnaire will be used to gather the research data. The questionnaire will be distributed in online and also face-to-face respondents. There will be demographic questions such as age, income, culture, gender and occupation. While on the main questionnaire, there will be six sections which refer to each independent variable.

In the demographic section, age and occupation of the respondents will be in the form of ratio scale. Income will be measured by using ordinal scale, gender and culture will be measured using the nominal scale. While in the main content, there will be six sections that will use the interval scale to measure respondent's intention to purchase in online and offline stores for apparels.

Below is the proposed questionnaire format for demographic section and main section:

Data Analysis

Data analysis part is where all data are combined after the data collection and transferring it into a significant result or outcome. This research will use the SPSS software and also few methods to transform raw data to processed data.

The other few methods to transfer the data to processed data is by using the frequency distribution to analyze the demographic section which comprises of age, gender, cultural background, monthly income, highest level of education and occupation. Cross tabulation will be used to analyze the relationship between dependent variable and the demographic which will act as the independent variables while dependent variable will be the intention to purchase. Chi-square will be used in cross tabulation to observe the strength of association between variables. Besides that, multiple regression will be used in this study to develop a mathematical relationship between the seven independent variables and an interval-scaled dependent variable. Independent t-test will also be used in this study.

Summary of Research Methodology

Throughout this chapter, it discussed the research framework, hypotheses to be tested, sampling design and the instruments and measurement used. Data analysis is also discussed in this chapter so that it will ease job process in the following chapters. The independent variables and dependent variable relationship is also shown in this chapter.

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