Online customer experience (OCE) is an evolving research area due to rapid growth of online retail in India. However, this field lacks empirical research in the Indian context. This study develops a conceptual model of OCE with antecedents, components and outcome variables, and empirically tests it through structural equation modelling using a sample of online shoppers in India. The mediating effect of satisfaction
on OCE and moderating effect of gender on OCE are also reported. Results show a good fit between the data and the model. Academic contributions,
managerial implications, limitations and further research directions are further discussed.
Keywords: Customer experience, online customer experience, online retail, online satisfaction, online repurchase intention, gender
Online retail has been growing at a very rapid pace in India. According to the ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) –
Resurgent India study (2017),
100 million shoppers will use the online route by 2017 and this channel is estimated to generate $17.52 billion in sales by end of 2018. Growth drivers of this sector include: deep penetration of economically priced web-enabled smartphones, faster and cheaper broadband service in both big metros and smaller cities, and a large internet savvy Indian youth segment (Khare and Rakesh, 2011). According to a Flipkart (Indian origin online marketplace) study (2015), online shopping is dominated by customers in the 25-34 years age group; 69% of the online shoppers are men and 31% are women. Due to the huge growth potential of online retail in a cluttered marketplace, where competition is fierce and customers are fickle, retailers are forced to differentiate their services to survive and thrive. In this backdrop, online customer experience (OCE) has emerged as a strategic differentiator to improve the customer’s “stickiness” to the online retailer leading to desirable marketing outcomes like satisfaction and repurchase intention. According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index Report (2017), all major India online retailers consider customer experience as a critical business priority and allocate significant marketing budget to address this issue. Few researchers have contributed to OCE research (Novak et al., 2000; Rose et al., 2012; Martin et al. 2015).
However, literature review shows knowledge generation in OCE is still emerging and yet to take a concrete shape, which qualifies this construct and the domain fit for further research (Klaus, 2013; Rose et al. 2012; Trevinal and Stenger, 2014; Martin et al. 2015).
Also, customer experience, being a multi-dimensional construct, poses a challenge of specification of antecedents in a particular context. In this backdrop, the goal of this study is to find an answer to the research question which has evolved from the previous discussion: What are the antecedents for a positive online customer experience in the Indian context which, in turn, will be translated into desired marketing outcomes?