Capturing Customer-Centred Functions of Local eCommerce Platforms

Fian, Tabea and Hauger, Georg and Söllner, Martin and Florack, Arnd and Lamotte, Isabel (2021) Capturing Customer-Centred Functions of Local eCommerce Platforms. CITIES 20.50 – Creating Habitats for the 3rd Millennium: Smart – Sustainable – Climate Neutral. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2021, 26th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 163-171. ISSN 2521-3938

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The COVID-19 pandemic fuelled the trend of linking online consumption to local interests (such as buying local or localising production). In Austria, the pandemic fostered local eCommerce platforms offering local goods or goods from local retailers. This concept of local digitalism (Fuentes-Bautista, 2011) focuses on the spatial aspects of consumption and production. However, it is difficult for local eCommerce platforms to achieve sufficient online traffic next to internationally established eCommerce platforms. Therefore, evidence-based knowledge on essential customer-centred functions of eCommerce platforms supporting local retail is required. In this study, we screen a sample of local eCommerce platforms in Austria (n=40) and derive a list of customer-centred functions resulting in more than 100 customer-centred functions. A revision procedure with local retail experts helps to condense and categorise the listed functions. Based on a typology adaptation of Standing, Standing & Love (2010) and Bakos (1998), the functions ultimately comprise six categories: (1) performance parameters (i.e., all functions indicating platform performance such as website traffic, mobile optimised implementation, app availability, platform reach and types of products and services offered on the platform, (2) information and connection (i.e., all functions supporting information retrieval on the platform, its vendors and products as well as product search and product filtering), (3) matching (i.e., all functions enabling the matching process between buyer and seller after product selection), (4) customizability (i.e., all settings on the platform to be individually changed by the customer), (5) transaction and fulfilment (i.e., all functions enabling the transaction process and fulfilment services for product purchase and delivery), and (6) sustainability (e.g., information on product materials, product origin, product delivery, or quality seals). Subsequently, independent platform visitors analyse the platform sample (n=40) using the consolidated list of customer-centred functions and a binary coding scheme (0 = function not available on the platform, 1 = function available on the platform). This evaluation results in customer-centred perception matrices for each local eCommerce platform. Based on the matrices, we derive the overall implementation degree for every customer-centred function. Also, we conduct Fisher's exact test to determine whether there is a significant association between website traffic and function range. Out of the long list of customer-centred functions, we finally extract and discuss the most relevant customer-centred functions for local eCommerce platforms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, local retail, local eCommerce platforms, customer-centred functions, online consumption
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 11:15
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2021 17:14

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