Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Dr Simone Pettigrew

Abstract

There have been a significant number of reports suggesting that the Internet will radically change accepted business and customer relationships. The literature to date has focused on the phenomenon of the Internet as well as more specific aspects such as its interactivity, how to market a Web site and security issues. There appears to be very little research on how consumer behaviour theories relate to the Internet. This study explored the extent to which the Internet is in the information search phase of the buying decision process, amongst Internet literate consumers. A qualitative investigation using virtual focus groups was conducted. The study identified four ways in which consumers use the Internet to gather information. It also identified some of the characteristics of products for which participants used the Internet to gain information. Participants tended to use the Internet due to a mistrust of traditional retail information sources. The results also indicate that they may use the Internet due to its convenience and its expanded universe. An expanded universe in this sense means having access to a larger range of products and services across different manufacturers. The results indicate that some consumers use the Internet for information about shopping products that have a high level of comparability, for which they rely on making factual not emotional decisions. The Internet itself appeared to be used quite extensively by the participants in the information search phase of the buying decision process. Participants indicated that they use the Internet as a sole information provider, a starting point information provider, a Pack-up information provider and a final information provider.

Included in

Marketing Commons

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