Examining the Structural Relationships of Service Recovery, Customer Satisfaction and Image in Online Retailing


Author

Suresh Kandulapati
School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, India

Raja Shekhar Bellamkonda
School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, India


Content

This study proposes and tests a structural model to examine the interrelationships among service recovery, customer satisfaction and image in the context of online retailing in India. The study adopts and validates E-RecS-QUAL scale to measure online service recovery. Factor analysis and structural equation modelling (using SPSS and Amos) are applied to test application of the proposed model. Analysis of an online survey data from 140 online retail customers reveals that the service recovery has a significant direct and indirect effect on both customer satisfaction and image. The study highlights mediating role of customer satisfaction in the relationship between online service recovery and image. The study helps eretailers/e-commerce industry to understand customer perception of e-service recovery in India.

Keywords: e-tailing, e-service recovery, e-RecS-QUAL, online shopping, India

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The technological evolutions in the recent years have made the retailing as a competitive business environment in the global era. The widespread penetration of internet has been changing the styles and patterns of the retailing sector. The technological innovation of shopping has resulted in customer preference of online purchases rather than from physical retail stores (Wang et al. 2011). The customers have been entered into virtual agreement for online purchases where technology plays a major role than human interaction. People who are more inclined to applications of technology wanted to enjoy online shopping because of flexibility. As a result, the growth of online shopping has been increasing tremendously particularly in India and it is expected to reach $15 billion by 2017. Even though, online retailing industry development has been taking place since the year 2000, still it is the early stage of its development, and India’s e-commerce sales are relatively small as compared to U.S. and Europe (Brohan, 2013). Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for the growth of Indian online retailing in the near future.

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An online survey was conducted by administering a structured questionnaire to study interrelationships among online service recovery, satisfaction, and image of online retailers in the context of Indian online shopping. The dimensions of E-RecS-QUAL (Parasuraman et al. 2005) are adopted without revision to measure online service recovery of e-retailers. The original 11 items of the E-RecS-QUAL scale along with satisfaction and image items (see appendix) were included in the questionnaire. The data were collected from 140 target respondents (see profiles of the respondents in Table 1) by using purposive sampling method. The respondents were indicated their level of agreement with each of the items on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) and image items from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high). The respondents rated a large variety of online retailers such as eBay who offer a wide range of product categories. The size of the sample met the minimum criteria for conducting factor analysis i.e., the scale item to observation ratio (1:5) (Hair et al. 1998; Stevens 1996).

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This study examines a model incorporating online service recovery, customer satisfaction, and image of the online retailers. The results of the study reveal that E-RecSQUAL developed by Parasuraman et al., (2005) is a reliable and valid scale for measuring online service recovery in the context of India. The study further reveals that online service recovery has a direct effect on both customer satisfaction and image. Finally, customer satisfaction has a full mediating effect on the relationship between the service recovery and image; and image has a partial mediating effect on the relationship between the service recovery and customer satisfaction.

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About Author

Suresh Kandulapati obtained an MBA (Marketing) from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Campus, Hyderabad in the year 2005, and M.Phil from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati in the year 2009. Nudging a total 7 years of experience in academics and research, he is presently pursuing a full-time Ph.D. (Management Studies) from School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad. Service quality, mobile services, online retailing, customer engagement, and employee engagement are his major areas of research.

Raja Shekhar did his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Acharya Nagarjuna University and Master’s in Business Administration from Osmania University. Subsequently, Prof. Shekhar was awarded a Doctorate degree in Business Management by Kakatiya University. Nudging a total of 20 years of experience in academics, research and administration, presently he is the Registrar, University of Hyderabad. His primary areas of interests include Service Quality, Quantitative Techniques, Research Methodology and Project Management.