The Impact of a Homogenous Versus a Prototypical Web Design on Online Retail Patronage for Multichannel Providers
International Journal of Research in Marketing
For their online shops, multichannel retailers must decide whether to adopt a prototypical design (with channel-specific attributes) or a homogenous design (with cues corresponding to their physical stores). While most retailers use a prototypical design, we propose that the effectiveness of a web design depends on customers' cognitive shopping orientations (i.e., specific schemas of store-based or web-based experiences) and their situational processing intensity (i.e., the level of cognitive processing). Three experiments reveal that a homogenous design increases online shop patronage among store-oriented customers if processing intensity is high; a prototypical design does not affect patronage among web-oriented customers. To capitalize on a homogenous design, multichannel retailers should activate customers' cognitive processing, such as with non-competitive pricing or task involvement. If store-based orientation or cognitive processing is low across the customer base, a prototypical design works as well as a homogenous design. Because retailers can induce a store-based orientation through highly visible physical cues in stores, multichannel retailing may evolve to a competition for customers' mindsets.
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SoM - Business Innovation