n The Retail and Marketing Review - Consumer perceptions of shopping channel attributes and risk factors of apparel purchases

Volume 14 Number 2
  • ISSN :


Retailers operating in a globally-competitive industry need to pay careful attention to customer perceptions of a particular shopping channel, either online or offline. Given this shift, retail marketers globally should develop apt strategies for enhancing customer satisfaction and gaining a competitive advantage. The purpose of this study was to discover the perceptions of consumers towards shopping channel attributes and to determine how these affect purchase intentions towards apparel through two retail channels, offline and online. This research is of importance due to many South African and international apparel retailers moving to the online retail channel, aiming to target a wider market and make their products available to various geographical areas. International apparel retailers can expand their target market by attracting South African consumers, but as South African consumers are known to behave differently to their European or American counterparts, international apparel retailers need to expand the findings of this research. This research considers why consumers would look for information on apparel online, and then not buy, as well as which factors would cause them to consider purchasing online. 397 questionnaires were collected and deemed to be usable for statistical analysis. Shopping channel attributes and risk factors were assessed through means of confirmatory factor analysis and multiple regression analysis. The results indicate that convenience and delivery risk were the most significant influencers towards online purchase intention. Further, online retailers should ensure that a shopping channel offers the highest levels of convenience, and use mobile-friendly websites to enable easier access to information. The results also reveal that customer service and delivery risk were the most significant influencers of offline purchase intention. It is thus vital for offline retailers to offer high levels of customer service through employee training, incentives, the resolution of customer conflicts and customer service sections in stores to enhance customer experience and satisfaction.

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