Electronic Marketplaces & the Consumer Experience

Check out my research papers for download  (available via SSRN)

Here are abstracts from my research in the area of electronic marketplaces & the consumer experience (available until 2010; 2010-current papers are available above)

The Determinants of Consumers’ Electronic Shopping Cart Abandonment

Kukar-Kinney, Monika and Angeline G. Close (equal authorship), “The Determinants of Consumers’ Shopping Cart Abandonment,” Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, forthcoming.

Despite placing items in virtual shopping carts, online shoppers frequently abandon them—an issue that perplexes online retailers and has yet to be explained by scholars. Here, we identify key drivers to online cart abandonment and suggest cognitive and behavioral reasons for this non-buyer behavior. We show that the factors influencing consumer online search, consideration, and evaluation play a larger role in cart abandonment than factors at the purchase decision stage. In particular, many customers use online carts for entertainment or as a shopping research and organizational tool, which may induce them to buy at a later session or via another channel. Our framework extends theories of online buyer and non-buyer behavior while revealing new inhibitors to buying in the Internet era. The findings offer scholars a broad explanation of consumer motivations for cart abandonment. For retailers, the authors provide suggestions to improve purchase conversion rates and multi-channel management.

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Beyond Buying: Motivations Behind Consumers’ Online Shopping Cart Use

Close, Angeline G. and Monika Kukar-Kinney (2010). “Beyond Buying: Motivations behind Consumers’ Online Shopping Cart Use,” Journal of Business Research, 63 (10), 986-992.

The authors investigate consumers’ motivations for placing items in an online shopping cart with or without buying, termed virtual cart use. Beyond current purchase intent, consumers use the virtual cart as a shopping organizational tool as well as to take advantage of online price promotions. The research advances knowledge by identifying a new motivation for online cart use, such as organizational intent, and by providing a typology of consumer online cart use. Managerial implications include suggestions for enhancing online shopping-to-buying conversion rates and providing online shoppers with opportunities for virtual shopping cart use that is more than simply utilitarian.

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Cyber Identity Theft: A Conceptual Model and Issues for Public Policy

Close, Angeline G., George M. Zinkhan, and Robert Z. Finney (2004), “Cyber Identify Theft: Issues for Public Policy,” Enhancing Knowledge Development in Marketing, 15 (K. L. Bernhardt, J.S. Boles, and P.S. Ellen ed.). Chicago: American Marketing Association, 48-55. &

Close, Angeline G., George M. Zinkhan, and R. Zachary Finney (2006), “Cyber Identity Theft,” E-Commerce, E-Government and Mobile Commerce, Idea Group Reference, Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, ed. (ISBN# 1-59140-799-0)

Here, a conceptual model is introduced for empirical work on cyber identity theft. To do this, three classification schemes (i.e., methods used by the thieves; time frame of the theft; behavioral responses by victims) synthesize conceptualizations of identity theft associated with the Internet.

Together, these schemes illustrate major problems and trends associated with cyber-identity theft. In light of the growing concern associated with identity theft, these schemes are highlighted in order to highlight and discuss key issues related to public policy and consumer welfare for future research.

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The Agency in Cyberspace: A Content Analysis of Ad Agency Homepages

Finney, R. Z., Richard D. Parker, Angeline G.Close, and Robert A. Orwig (2004),”The Agency in Cyberspace: A Content Analysis of Ad Agency Homepages, Journal of Contemporary Business Issues, 12 (2) (Fall), 74-80.

“If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks.” — Leo Burnett

No longer a “trick to get noticed,” web sites are a necessity for businesses today. Establishing a successful web presence means bringing the consumer a memorable, informative, and satisfying experience. The Internet is changing the nature of marketing communications. Through the Internet, buyers have “real-time” access to businesses across the world. Interestingly, in spite of a number of studies that investigate the Internet’s impact on advertising messages, to date, no one has examined the Internet’s impact on the advertising agency. In this study, we begin to fill this “gap” in the literature. We conducted a content analysis of advertising agency homepages to determine how agencies use the web to communicate with current and potential customers. Specifically, we examine two broad questions: 1) what percentage of leading U.S. advertising agencies have a web presence?, and 2) for what purposes do ad agencies use their homepages? To answer the second question, we investigate three specific aspects of the homepages: a) communication strategy, b) interactivity, and c) the degree to which the homepage lists firm credentials.

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Rules of Romance at Work: Who’s the Boss?

Close, Angeline G. (2002), “Rules of Romance at Work: Who’s the Boss,” Atlantic Marketing Association, 187-193.

Before the Internet’s e-dating scene emerged, the workplace remained a common (yet often controversial) place to meet a romantic partner. Eight million relationships a year begin at the workplace (Society for Human Resources 2001), dating at the workplace versus the marketplace presents challenges and opportunities at the individual, couple, and organizational level. Daters who work together often find themselves in situations that present a choice between business or a romantic relationship. This choice may be attempted to be controlled by corporate policy, yet in many contexts, a policy banning workplace romance is not realistic, appropriate, nor effective. Dating incorporates intimacy, passion, and commitment, as suggested by Sternberg’s (1989) triangle theory of love. I overlap this theory with “three Ws” of a workplace dating policy: 1. When should there be a policy banning workplace dating?; 2. Why or why not have such a policy?; 3. Would such a policy be taken seriously?

In respect to the triangle theory (Sternberg 1989), I interviewed 22 workplace daters and managers about their company policy and the outcomes of such policy. I present advantages and disadvantages on policy surrounding workplace dating. I discuss managerial implications, noting that love is a higher-order boss. Policies for e-dating at the workplace are suggested.

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The eMergence of eDating

Close, Angeline G. and George M. Zinkhan (2004), “The E-Mergence of E-Dating, Advances in Consumer Research, 31 (B. Kahn and M.F. Luce, ed.), Valdosta, GA: Association for Consumer Research, 153-157.

Now fate has met its match!” —Yahoo! Personals.

Dating, or the process of ritualistically courting a partner with a perceived aspect of romantic potential, is a component of consumer behavior that is currently in a transition stage. Dating behavior is “E-merging” along with increased online and wireless capability. E-dating sites account for the highest portion of all online paid advertising content. There is an e-dating site for almost every religion (e.g., catholicsingles.com), region (e.g., chicagosingles.com), or cultural background (e.g., globalrishta.com). The most popular online dating services (e.g., match.com; myspace.com) draw patrons and curious counterparts from all financial, economic, and social backgrounds. E-dating sites provide a virtual opportunity for consumers to interact and stage marketed events. The electronic and event environments have the potential to transition traditional dating patterns, rituals, scripts, and motivations on both the individual and the societal level.

Two central questions guide this research. Primarily, “To what extent do daters use the Internet to initiate and/or facilitate dating relationships in the U.S.? Furthermore, “What concerns and outcomes do consumers experience before, during, and after searching, posting, and/or joining an Internet dating/singles site?” In pursuing these questions, we seek to: a) understand the emergence of electronic (Internet) dating via informants’ experiences, and b) present data that describes and typifies consumer motivations, experiences, and outcomes of e-dating in the online and onground marketplaces.

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Technology and Dating Rituals: A Historical Analysis of Online and Electronic Rituals

Angeline G. Close and George M. Zinkhan, “Technology and Dating Rituals: A Historical Analysis”, Working Paper.

This research analyzes dating patterns in recent American history as they relate to consumer behavior. Before undertaking a phenomenology of today’s increasingly electronic dating culture, we provide an extensive, historically based review of past dating patterns and trends in American history. This phenomenology of modern dating is generated through a series of in-depth interviews. Dating attitudes and behavior are analyzed in light of the three theories regarding the functions of dating: dating as status-seeking, dating as socialization, and dating as fulfilling ego needs. We view dating patterns as a non-static phenomena. Furthermore, dating is questioned to be changing along with societal and cultural adaptations. Culture has reinforced male and female evolutionary preferences through the media and the institutions of dating and marriage. The evolutionary framework presents consumer behavior as an extension of behavior patterns established before the era of consumerism. Awareness of a future outlook of these changes on American dating norms provides insight to marketers as dating is a form of consumption and ultra-conscious marketing in the e-services and e-commerce arena.

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How Information Quality and Market Turbulence Impact Convention and Visitors Bureaus Use of Marketing Information: Insights for Destination and Event Marketing

Ally Lee, Angeline G. Close, and Curtis Love “How Information Quality and Market Turbulence Impact Convention and Visitors Bureaus Use of Marketing Information: Insights for Destination and Event Marketing” Journal of Convention & Event Tourism, forthcoming.

Information is an essential component of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) for their marketing purposes in order to make their destinations and events more attractive to visitors. During the information gathering process, tourism and event marketing directors must select relevant and credible data for successful decision-making. Based on the lack of academic research in the area of online marketing information use by CVBs, this study investigates what factors influence CVBs’ online information use for their market research. In particular, this study examines the relationships among technology change, customer change, information quality, and marketing information use with CVBs in the United States. Utilizing an online survey to CVB managers, findings from this study identify the use of Internet-based information as positively associated with the quality of Internet-based information followed by customer change and technology change. Implications for destination marketers and event marketers are included.

Online Consumer Behavior: Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising, and E-Tail

Close, Angeline G. (Ed.), Online Consumer Behavior: Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising, and E-Tail, Edited Book in Progress

The overall theme of the book entails online consumer behavior in the realm of social media, advertising, and e-tail. There is an immense need of more knowledge in the area, as they represent emerging research topics in areas in which consumers share and generate value. As the field of marketing changes with advances in technology, scholarly research approaches progress as well. This book should provide value to scholars and practitioners who are interested in social marketing/online consumer behavior topics and beyond. Social media and online consumer behavior continues to lend opportunities and questions to marketing scholarship and practice. As scholarly thought is focused on shaping the future of research in marketing, social media and online consumer research allow for new ideas, theories, methods, and discoveries to the field of marketing. Hence, this book recognizes that online marketing, online consumption and computer mediated communication/social networking is a growing facet of consumer behavior and well-being. Thus, in light of this recognition, a group of thirty committed authors and myself contribute a scholarly/practitioner book in the context of online consumer behavior and social media. Social networks and online consumer behavior are cutting-edge topics in the professional application of consumer behavior theory and scholarship. Social marketing and online consumer behavior are continuing to exponentially grow as relevant and timely topics of interest to consumer scholars and practitioners interested in connecting with their consumers. These timely topics should contribute a platform for scholarly discourse for scholars interested in consumer behavior, virtual worlds, consumer technology, new products, strategy, and e-services/e-tail.

Online Consumer Behavior:


Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising, and E-Tail
(Routledge, 978-1848729698, Hardcover, 350 pages, Expected Publication Date, April 25 2012)


You’ve Been Poked

Friend me. Social media. Facebook. Tweet that. LinkedIn. Groupon. Re-tweet that. Buzz marketing.  Face-time tonight? Un-friend him. These online terms and brands have changed the way of online consumer behavior, advertising, and branding. It is crucial to understand how consumers think, feel, and act regarding social media, online advertising, and online shopping. Business practitioners are looking for answers and solutions as to how to understand online consumer behavior so that they can maximize their online customer experiences to help instill brand loyalty. Non-profit managers or politicians, in a similar fashion, seek an understanding of online consumer behavior so that they can raise awareness and make online giving easy. Scholars have produced only the beginning stages of theory that can systematically explain and predict online consumer behavior, and this book will continue that objective.

Online advertisers know the importance of not just incorporating but also embracing consumer blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, Digg, HowSocial, Groupon, and other social media to enhance their online presence.  Yet, questions remain as how to synergistically leverage these online branding tools to increase the online consumer experience and hence value of their websites. Some of the world’s leading brand visionaries such as Apple, as well as emerging brands like Trader Joe’s align their corporate site and social media objectives to enhance online return on investment.

This theory-driven, research-based book will help address important questions for

scholarship and practice, such as:

  • What are some industry best practices for measuring social media impact and brand visibility?
  • How can social media channels help funnel more qualified leads, and lessen online cart abandonment rates?
  • What is the role of user-generated content in today’s online marketplace?
  • How do consumers envision their online identity (e.g., via avatars), and how does their online identity relate with their offline identity?
  • What is the role of trust and authenticity in an online presence?
  • How do different groups, such as adolescents, men, or even politicians use and embrace social media differently?

By the end of this book, readers will understand more about online consumer behavior to help unify a website’s business or non-profit goals with social media or e-commerce knowledge to maximize the return on investment of both channels.

Foreword by Kent Monroe

Preface by Angeline Close