Implication Statistics and Business Research Methods

Discuss about the Implication Statistics and Business Research Methods.

Introduction

In the recent past, Australian online retail business has experienced rapid growth. Current statistics suggest that the online retail businesses are growing at 12 percent on year to year basis. The last decade has experience unprecedented growth in the online business ventures and more start-ups as well as traditional brick and mortar businesses are also incorporating elements of e-commerce business models in order to attract more customers. Further, the promotional and advertising models adopted by these businesses are unique as customers’ engagement with the business is more. One of the most influential modes of communication that customers rely on for making purchase decision from online sites are the online customer reviews provided by other customers (Sparks et al., 2013). The research proposal, therefore, discusses about impact of online reviews on the online business of online retail company – The Iconic.

Research Aim

The aim of this study is to examine and analyse the importance of customers’ reviews and how these reviews by the previous buyers affects the purchase decision making of the prospective buyers while shopping online from the website of The Iconic. Hence, the study intends to improve the company’s preference among the buyers by understanding the importance of feedback given by the customers and formulating strategies to improve customer experience

Research objectives

  • To investigate the impact of customer reviews on prospective customers
  • To investigate the psychological aspects of customer satisfaction as compared to the online reviews
  • To understand the process of the affecting the function of customer satisfaction and loyalty

Research questions

The research questions can be as follows:

  • How customer purchase decision is influenced by online customer reviews?
  • How online customer reviews can be used to enhance customers’ buying experience?
  • What strategies should be employed to enhance customer engagement with the brand and to enhance brand loyalty?

Literature review

This section contains the academic evidences in relation to research proposal topic in order to evaluate the factors putting an impact on customer purchase decision particularly the online customer reviews available at e-commerce website of online retail businesses. For this study, the impact of online customer reviews on success of retail company – The Iconic has been analysed. An attempt to link the available literature on the research topic with the real time evidences and data is made. The major components driving customer purchase decision for online transaction and the importance of online customer reviews have been underlined (Wei & Lu, 2013).

With the exponential growth of internet infrastructure combined with the advent of smart phones, have opened unprecedented opportunities for both the companies as well as for the customers. The rapid growth of online business has changed the dynamics of every industry and different companies through online business models make almost all the consumer goods available. In this regard, consumer buying decision patters have also undergone paradigm shift. As the online business provides great amount of product assortments from different brands, it has become difficult for the buyers to make the purchase decisions. In this context, customers seek information and other details in virtual medium, instead of relying on the personal recommendations (Melián et al., 2013).

The fact is 90% of the customers read online reviews and make their purchase decisions on the basis of these reviews. Moreover, customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. Customers judge the reliability, expertise and professionalism of an online business after reading the online reviews. Apart from reading the reviews on the business websites, customers are more influenced by the online reviews posted by customers on the websites of neutral third parties such as Yelp (Liu & Park, 2015). In addition, for a local business, the importance of online reviews is even greater and customers based their opinions based on the reviews. Online reviews are the major source of information and have significant impact on the customer behaviour, customer loyalty and customer purchasing process. Online reviews are also important for the companies to strengthen brand image and reach new clients (Hsu et al., 2013).

Research methodology

Research methodology helps in depicting the overview of the elements of the entire research. It includes identifying research approach, research design, as well as data collection methods to be used in the study. Therefore, research methodology helps in undertaking appropriate research procedure in order to reach firm conclusion and fulfil the research objective. Research methodology acts as a blueprint for undertaking the research study and provides necessary direction for successfully completing the research study (Taylor et al., 2015). 

For this study, the aim of research is to identify and analyse the importance of online reviews on customer buying behaviour. In this study, online retail brand – The Iconic has been considered to understand the ramifications of such variables on customer buying decisions in practical situations. Therefore, matching with the research topic, positivism theory, deductive methodology and descriptive design of research has been identified.

Research philosophy

It is the first step of research methodology and all the subsequent steps are dependent on it. Selecting appropriate is very crucial for the success of the research as it determines success of the research in achieving its objectives. For this research, it is important to depict the analysis of the current topic. In order to, understand the impact of online customer reviews on customer buying behaviour Positivism theory has been applied. Positivism theory states that only factual knowledge gained through observation and measurement should be used in forming conclusions for a practical process. In this way, the genuine facts affecting the customer buying behaviour vis-a-vis online reviews can be distinguished and better understood (Taylor et al., 2015). 

Research approach

For this study, the relevant theories and perspectives of previous researches have been already discussed in the literature review section. Primary data would be collected and critically analysed in order to validate the theoretical evidences and secondary data. Therefore, deductive research has been adopted for this study that evaluates the relevant theories and indicates major factors that influence customer buying behaviour for the brand The Iconic (Flick, 2015). 

Research design

Research design helps in interpreting the results of data analysis on the basis of research objectives. For this research study, the objective is to identify and analyse the importance of online customer reviews on the business success of The Iconic. Therefore, it is crucial to relate the findings of data analysis with the research objectives. Hence, descriptive research design is appropriate for the study (Blumberg et al., 2014). 

Data collection methods

In this research, both primary and secondary data has been collected. With the help of both primary and secondary data, the validity of research can be enhanced and research objectives can also be easily achieved. Therefore, important and relevant data for the study has been collected from both the methods of data collection. Further, primary data are collected directly from the customers of The Iconic through online surveys and telephonic interviews (snowballing method of data collection). Non-probabilistic sampling methods of data collection are employed in order to reduce the deviation of responses collected in the collection of primary data. Secondary data for the study has been collected from journals, trusted websites, and academic papers (Panneerselvam, 2014). 

Data analysis and expected outcomes

The data collected would be critically analysed with the use of data analysis tols such as MS Excel and other more advanced computing softwares. Further, it is expected that findings of the report would be able to highlight how much influence online customer reviews have on the customer purchase decision.

Gantt chart

Gant chart represents the time frame for conducting the entire research study. For this study it is represented as –

Activities

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Selection of research topic and scope analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying secondary data sources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Methodology description

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survey questions preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collection of primary data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Findings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion and recommendation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final submission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table: Time horizon for research

Source: As created by author

References

Blumberg, B. F., Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2014). Business research methods. McGraw-hill education.

Flick, U. (2015). Introducing research methodology: A beginner’s guide to doing a research project. Sage.

Hsu, C. L., Chuan-Chuan Lin, J., & Chiang, H. S. (2013). The effects of blogger recommendations on customers’ online shopping intentions. Internet Research, 23(1), 69-88.

Liu, Z., & Park, S. (2015). What makes a useful online review? Implication for travel product websites. Tourism Management, 47, 140-151.

Melián-González, S., Bulchand-Gidumal, J., & López-Valcárcel, B. G. (2013). Online customer reviews of hotels as participation increases, better evaluation is obtained. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 54(3), 274-283.

Panneerselvam, R. (2014). Research methodology. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd..

Sparks, B. A., Perkins, H. E., & Buckley, R. (2013). Online travel reviews as persuasive communication: The effects of content type, source, and certification logos on consumer behavior. Tourism Management, 39, 1-9.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.

Wei, P. S., & Lu, H. P. (2013). An examination of the celebrity endorsements and online customer reviews influence female consumers’ shopping behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(1), 193-201.

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