A comparative multi-country, multi-sector study of online loyalty in e-tailing

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    As e-tailers increasingly pursue international expansion strategies in an evolving competitive marketplace, understanding online loyalty formation across countries and sectors becomes ever more significant. In contrast to other studies examining online loyalty this study investigates the psychological drivers of online loyalty as opposed to functional ones and focuses on the role of online e-tailer investments (EPRI). Theoretical underpinnings of relationship quality and reciprocity are utilised to explain mechanisms of online loyalty formation through relationship development. Previous research has drawn attention to the limited theoretical development of relationship quality and reciprocity alongside a lack of focus on moderators associated with online loyalty formation within an international context. To address these concerns this study empirically investigates online loyalty across China, India, the US and UK in the clothing and electrical products sector and utilises an integrated conceptual model involving moderating effects of consumer cosmopolitanism, product category involvement and national culture. It investigates the contention that e-tailer investments will positively affect the strength of the relationship between e-tailers and customers through the enhancement of relationship quality which in turn will impact online loyalty through a reciprocal mechanism. The findings, based on an online survey of 1010 respondents analysed via Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), support this argument across all four countries and both sectors. Additionally this study provides a ranking for EPRI effects across countries and sectors which previous studies have not offered. Moderating effects are established across the range of datasets suggesting context specific influences which are discussed in more detail.
    Date of Award24 Jun 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorMohammed Rafiq (Supervisor) & Haytham Siala (Supervisor)


    • Online loyalty
    • Reciprocity
    • Relationship quality
    • International
    • Culture
    • Cosmopolitanism
    • Relationship investment
    • E-tailing

    Cite this