Peacock Fashion Company is an online UK-based company involved in sale of both men and women clothes over the internet. Given the changing nature of online consumer behaviors, it is perceived that, by carrying out a detailed research on online consumer behavior, the company will be in a position to establish and implement market-winning strategies that will in turn raise company’s revenue base.
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Online shopping is a practice that modern market forces find inevitable to ignore, as more people increase their buying activities of goods and services through internet and sidelining intermediaries (Bigne, Ruiz, & Sanz, 2005). Motivated by the increased use of internet in conducting businesses, this research project will pay attention to fashion and gender, particularly in the UK market. Therefore, the research will investigate and evaluate consumer attributes to online shopping, as well as how the technology has been accepted among UK online consumers. The understanding is that, online retailers need to understand the feelings of their targeted consumers for them to succeed in online businesses.
Businesses in different sectors are embracing technology, and those that successfully integrate technology in their business activities realize immense positive result. The possibility that future businesses will be conducted online cannot be disputed if one analyzes the current trends in the business world. Online shopping is turning out as the preferred way of purchase, as people’s movements shrink and also reducing tendencies to visit mortar and brick retails. Therefore, internet becomes the new avenue many people are finding it easier to make purchase at the click of computer button. Any attempt to understand, analyze, and eventually formulate recommendations about online consumer behaviour is critical to the success of Peacock Fashion Company.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the paper will be to determine the characteristics and feelings of online shoppers as related to online fashion shopping in United Kingdom market. This will be through examination of various relevant bodies of theories to clarify the factors that drive shoppers to online shopping. The concern in this study will be on the consumer behavior and demographics. The marketers and retailers in e- commerce are interested in online shoppers for their productivity. By looking at the consumer feelings and behavior towards this new technology, the research will determine buying decisions and desires of the consumers as they choose their products online and pay for them.
Research questions constitute that part of research paper that provides an overall guidance for the research work (Hall, 2008). This research project aims to establish attitudes and characteristics of online fashion buyers in UK, as well as how relevant that information is to Peacock Fashion Company. In doing so, this research paper will be guided by the following research questions:
- What characteristics do online buyers exhibit?
- How do individuals regard and value online buying?
- How do individuals use computers especially the internet?
Research evidences show the increasing use of internet in buying and selling of products and services. The objective of the research paper is to investigate and draw conclusions on the attitude and characteristics of online fashion buyers in UK and how relevant that information is to Peacock Fashion Company
Review of Related Literature
Fashion has been perceived to be a gendered concept, which in turn has influenced marketing strategies of many fashion companies. Gender is regarded to involve male and female, whereby, aspects such as race, geography, social class, sexuality and time and place constitute definition of gender. People behave differently depending on their gender; hence, fashion can be viewed to be a gendered practice. In fashion, an individual communicates desires, values, ideas, and societal norms. The difference in buying in relation to age comes in depending on the product an individual wants to buy. The young are more varied on products, while the old are more specific to the product they want to buy (Alreck, DiBartolo, Diriker & Settle, N.d).
For a long time, use and acceptance of technology has been associated with men and women largely expressed reservation and doubt about online shopping. However, with time, e-commerce activities have increased and women perception and attitude has gradually changed over online shopping. At the same time, the differences between males and females with regards to use of internet depend on the culture and sexual course (Peterson, Balasubramanian & Bronnenberg, 1997).
Some of the key factors that have been identified to affect and influence online shopping activities include income and education. For instance, with regards to income, it is thought that the more an individual has, he or she is well placed to shop more online (Weitz & Wensley, 2002). Education level also influences online shopping activities, since the more individuals are educated, the more they have access to the internet. However, this perception has been denied by some researchers who say that the economic condition of an individual is what determines online shopping (Weitz & Wensley, 2002).
Different theoretical perspectives will be used evaluated and utilized. The technological acceptance model (TAM) will be utilized, which describes the reason why people adopt a new technology such as e-commerce where online shopping can be seen to constitute daily activity for UK residents (Buss, 1989). Also, online acceptance model states that, consumers’ attributes and technology elements flow together, where there is always consumer motivation through the technology (Delafrooz, Paim & Khatibi, 2010). In the reasons action theory, attitudes are perceived to affect the behaviour of an individual towards online shopping (Delafrooz, Paim & Khatibi, 2010). Beliefs are known to influence attitudes. Further, diffusion innovations theory states that new technology and ideas flow in the society and when one consumer gets the idea, he or she spreads it to more consumers until the idea is all over the place (Delafrooz, Paim & Khatibi, 2010). Through e-commerce, products are marketed to wider group of users, making them aware of the products, and in a shorter time span.
The focal point of the research project will be to derive objectivity and in-depth analysis of the study questions. In so doing, quantitative and qualitative approaches are applied. Through a combination of these research designs, data to be retrieved will be gauged using both strength of qualitative and quantitative designs, which include the strength of validity and reliability found in quantitative approach, while the qualitative design offers in-depth analysis of data. In this manner, it is expected that a more robust and meaningful conclusion can be gauged by the research.
Research Sample and Setting
The research project will make use of 150 online respondents, who will be interviewed online. Among the 150 respondents, 80 will constitute women while 70 will constitute men. The 150 respondents will largely be from the United Kingdom, who in one way or the other been involved in online purchase. Random sampling technique will be utilized to identify and interview respondents. This method is found useful and convenient, since it is exploratory in nature. Through the method, it will be easy to get responses from people about attitudes, behavior, intentions, and beliefs about online shopping. Questions will be designed to directly get feedbacks on the characteristics and attitudes of fashion online shoppers. Single answer questions and rating scale questions will be asked to get the response from people.
To collect the data, survey questionnaires will be disseminated online. This can be done through face book to reach 150 respondents. All the participants will be computer users. People post links to the shopping sites and political sites, making it easy to gather the feelings of online shoppers. The questionnaires will have questions that will assess the attitude of the shoppers as well as their beliefs. The questionnaires will be grouped into two categories. The first category of questionnaires will ask questions related to the age, income, education, and sexual orientations. The second category of questionnaires will ask questions with an aim of obtaining the attitude of online fashion shoppers in relation to the technology and online shopping.
Ethics of Research
Research ethics imply the cautious administration of research procedures, especially when it comes to human subjects. Given that this study shall be composed of human participants, ethical processes must be observed. First, permission will be sought from those people who will be involved in the study. The research will avoid anything that might cause emotional or physical harm to the participants and the public. Fair considerations will be given to personal bias to prevent them getting into the research. During result presentation, only what was said will be reported.
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Questionnaires send to the selected respondents was 100% completed, therefore analysis to be done will involve data and information obtained from the 100% respondents’ rate.
What characteristics do online buyers exhibit?
Initially this constitutes the first research question that the project aims to investigate. Data and information collected from the respondents demonstrate that online consumers manifest different demographic and economic aspects, which may translate to mean the current varying level of internet use and subsequent online purchasing. Respondents were asked to give their gender, age, region in which they live, estimated income, and marital status.
According to data, the rate of male who responded was 47% while the rate of women was 53%. In terms of age approximation, 32% of respondents indicated their age to be between 36-45 years, 29% rated their age to be between 46-55 years, 27% were found to be aged between 26-35 years, 7% are aged 18-25% while those above 56years constituted 5%. 36-45 year-bracket seem to have the people that have access to internet and subsequent online purchase and this can be associated with majority of young and middle aged population who possess electronics and other accessories in large amounts. Interestingly, the aged bracket of 18-25 seem to have least access to internet and this can be explained by the fact that majority of youth have occasion and non-frequent exposure to internet as majority are preoccupied by school work.
With regard to region, it was established that consumer base of online shoppers tend to be evenly distributed in England, but majority of respondents indicated they reside in urban areas or peri-urban proximities. Again, information as explored by earlier research work tend to be accepted and utilized by those in urban areas as compared to those in rural areas. Household income is another aspect that exhibited great variation.
It was established from data obtained that 30% of respondents indicated they have an income that range from $45,000 to 64,999, 23% have income of $65,000 to 84,999, 17% indicated they earn between $25,000 to 44,999, 14% earn between $85,000 to 104,999, 12% earn $24,000 and below, while only 4% indicated they earn above $105,000. What has been established before is that the level of income tend to influence consumer behavior where those with high income tend to increase their consumption of products while those with less tend to be economical. Furthermore, researches on aspects that influence consumer behavior have also made effort to explain and associate consumer behavior with marital status. In most cases, people in stable married families with combined income tend to purchase more as compared to singles who make every effort to cut budget, divorced and separated may experience constraints and affecting their purchasing power. In the study, those married constituted 18%, unmarried 27%, divorced were 25%, separated constituted 21%, while widowed were 9%.
How do individuals regard and value online buying?
On how individuals value and regard online buying, the aspect can be corroborated by the response rate on whether the respondents bought anything via internet. 78% expressed they had made some online purchases while 25% observed that they were yet to buy anything using the internet. Again, the enthusiasm of future online buying can be associated with current trends of training, education, and electronic purchase individuals are making with regard to acquiring information technology skills and knowledge. For example, 43% of respondents indicated to having acquired basic computer knowledge of packages (MS word, excel, access, PowerPoint, typing, etc).
On the other hand, 40% indicated that they possess internet and email reading and sending skills and knowledge, 10% indicated they have training in technical of computer programming, while 7% indicated they had knowledge with regard to networking, computer repair and maintenance, computer researching skills, and other related aspects.
How do individuals use computers especially the internet?
With regard to how individuals use internet, first, it was established that individual use of internet was directly related to the time and period the individual was exposed to internet. For instance, with regard to number of years individuals had used computer, 8% indicated had used it for 1 year and less, 29% noted that they had used computer for 2 to 3 years. Furthermore, 32% indicated to having had exposure to computer for about 4 to 5 years, 25% indicated have exposure of 6 to 7 years, while only 6% noted an exposure of 8 years and above.
On what they used internet for, different individuals gave different reasons that motivate them to use internet or any form of information technology. 20% of respondents indicated that they use internet to check and send emails, 12% expressed that they use internet to read online fashion blogs, 10% noted that they conduct online shopping of clothes and related accessories through internet. Furthermore, it was found out that 25% of respondents use internet for social networking via Facebook while Twitter embrace 19% of respondents, while 14% use internet to view YouTube videos. With regard to how often (frequency) individuals use internet and information technology, high percentage of respondents indicated that at least per every day they have to access internet, while least percentage of those interviewed expressed that they use internet once per month. Among all interviewed respondents, all of them were found to have used internet.
Another aspect that was investigated included looking at what products individuals were likely to purchase through internet. As a result, it was established that, 30% indicated had purchased books and magazines through the internet, 15% noted that had purchased electronics and other hardware through the internet, 10% used it for travel purposes, 17% used it to buy clothes, 15% used it for ticketing, 9% indicated had sought and bought services through internet, while only 2% specified different uses like to apply job, advertise, and buy music.
Shoes were found to be the most products bought through internet (20%), followed by pants and jackets (11%), polo shirts, dress (10%), sweaters, suits. Accessories, and overcoats constituted, 9, 7, 5, and 4% respectively. On which website was popular with regard to online purchasing, it was established website popularity was associated with the genre of products sold. For example, book buyers indicated Amazon.com to be popular, clothes buyers noted revolveclothing.com was popular, while shoe lovers rated tomshoes.com as the best.
Estimated Research Budget
|1||Stage 1: Area of interest identified||05.10.11|
|2||Stage 2: Specific topic selected||15.10.11|
|3||Stage 3: Topic refined to develop dissertation proposal||22.10.11|
|4||Stage 4: Proposal written and submitted||05.11.11|
|5||Stage 5: Collection of data and information||06.1.12|
|6||Stage 6: Analysis and interpretation of collected data/information||20.1.12|
|7||Stage 7: Writing up||10.2.12|
|8||Stage 8: Final draft prepared – submission of dissertation||04.03.12|
|9||Final Deadline – six months from classroom date.||27.03.12|
This research will focus on the characteristics and attitudes of online shoppers in UK. Factors that influence the skilled computer user from or into buying cloths online will be determined through surveys, and results analyzed to reveal any kind of association. Through questionnaires on the randomly sampled participants, necessary information will be obtained. However, there are limitations associated with the survey design. To solve them, researchers will design the questions in a manner that information obtained will be relevant to the research questions. This research will aid in suggesting future research areas in online shopping for UK Company, Peacock Fashion Company.
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Hall, R. (2008). Applied social research: planning, designing and conducting real-world research. Sydney: Palgrave Macmillan Australia. Web.
Peterson, R. A., Balasubramanian, S., & Bronnenberg, B. J. (1997). Exploring the implications of the internet for consumer marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 329-346. Web.
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