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Rethinking Catalogue and Online B2B Buyer Channel Preferences in the Education Supplies Market

James E. Richard and Fruen Purnell

Journal of Interactive Marketing, 2017, vol. 37, issue C, 1-15

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to better understand B2B paper-based catalogue and online buying channel determinants in the education supplies sector by identifying factors that are critical in determining buyer channel preferences. A conceptual model was developed and empirically tested using self-report survey data from 316 B2B New Zealand educational institutions and analyzed with Hayes PROCESS macro (SPSS). The findings indicate that catalogue is the preferred channel for B2B educational buyers. The most important determinant of channel preference is channel experience. The catalogue and online channels appear to be less substitutable in B2B markets then proposed by B2C market studies. Structural assurance (trust, security, safeguards, and robustness) is a significant predictor of general channel satisfaction, and online channel preference, but not catalogue channel preference. The study results benefit practitioners in the development and implementation of channel strategies by providing a better understanding of the factors that determine online and catalogue channel preference in B2B markets. This study is the first to empirically demonstrate the influence and importance of structural assurance in catalogue channels, while channel experience supported by structural assurance significantly influences online channel choice. These findings indicate that determinants of channel preference found in B2C studies cannot be uncritically transferred to the B2B domain. The research also suggests that existing B2B channel adoption and preference drivers are different from B2C, and B2C research is not necessarily applicable in the B2B context.

Keywords: B2B; Channel preference; Structural assurance; Catalogue; Online channel; Channel strategy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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