Researching Online Consumer Behaviour: Current Positions and Future Perspectives

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The advent of the Internet has implications for the development of the future of research into consumer behaviour. The Internet as a commercial medium offers producers as well as consumers a number of distinct advantages over other retail formats that have existed previously. The unique characteristics of the Internet as a retailing medium promise to transform fundamentally the way in which consumers will behave when making choices in new electronic environments and the way in which vendors will react to these changes in consumer behaviour. It is not sufficient to transfer our existing knowledge of consumer behaviour from offline to online environments. Rather, it is important that research on consumer behaviour focus on the impact of the introduction of this new media in order to better understand its implications. The present paper examines the existing state of research on online consumer behaviour. This is conducted from a range of different perspectives from both positivist (economic, cognitive, motivational/trait/attitudinal and situational) and non-positivist methodologies (experiential and postmodern). From a review of the existing research in the field the most salient research streams are identified and a series of future research questions highlighted.
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