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Cross-channel free-riding consumer behavior in a multichannel environment: An investigation of shopping motives, sociodemographics and product categories

Sandrine Heitz-Spahn

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2013, vol. 20, issue 6, 570-578

Abstract: Cross-channel free-riding, in which consumers use one retailer′s channel to prepare a purchase and then switch to another retailer′s channel to purchase, can substantially erode profit margins. This research aims to understand such free-riding from a consumer empowerment perspective, investigating shopping motives and sociodemographic covariates, as well as how this behavior might differ across product categories. A survey study of decision-making behavior shows that cross-channel free-riders mainly seek to fulfill price comparison, convenience and flexibility needs. The likelihood of free-riding is higher when consumers adopt cross-channel rather than single-channel behavior, which highlights a negative outcome of multichannel retailing. The likelihood of cross-channel free-riding differs across products but not sociodemographic covariates. The findings can be used to develop recommendations for managing retention strategies.

Keywords: Cross-channel consumer behavior; Multichannel retailing; Free-riding; Shopping motives; Cross-channel free-riding (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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