AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Consumer motivations in online group buying: a means-end chain approach

by Lin Xiao

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Information Systems, Technology & Management
Year: 2015
Keywords: E-commerce; Online group buying; Means-end Chain
Record ID: 1069059
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54453


Online group buying, as a new form of e-commerce, is one of the most innovative e-commerce business models. This model offers great opportunities for e-marketers, but also brings new challenges. In the last four years, more than 5000 online group buying vendors in China have gone out of business. Existing literature suggests that online group buying is distinctive from online shopping, and consumers are motivated to use online group buying to enjoy different benefits. As little research has been conducted on understanding consumers in this context, group buying websites have few guidelines to follow to improve competitiveness. This thesis addresses this challenge by exploring the hierarchical motivations underlying consumers’ online group buying behaviour and the development of consumer typologies from a new perspective. Specifically, utilising a Uses and Gratifications (U&G) approach and Means-End Chain (MEC) theory perspective, this study aims not only to explore the content of online group buyers’ motivations, but also uncover the inter-relationships among these motivations. Moreover, it aims to introduce a new method to segment consumer, based on benefit-level motivations, which can provide more accurate consumer typologies. To reach these objectives the laddering interview technique was used to collect data from 58 online group buyers in China. A context-specific hierarchical motive model was developed, based on the 35 motivations identified, which not only indicated consumer value/goal fulfilment paths, but also illustrated the relative importance of different paths. Moreover, three typologies of group buyers with distinct value/goal fulfilment paths were identified, fundamentally different from existing shopper typologies in the e-commerce context. As a timely topic using a novel approach to explore consumer online group buying motivations, this study adds to the online group buying literature, introduces a new segmentation approach that overcomes the limitations of the traditional rating-scale based segmentation, and demonstrates theories and techniques derived from other disciplines that can be effectively applied to information systems and e-commerce research. This study will also help practitioners involved in online group buying businesses to better plan and design strategies to attract and retain current and potential consumers.