Date of Award

5-2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Frederick Dembowski

Second Advisor

Mary Ann Toroyan

Third Advisor

Ericka Grodzki

Abstract

With an enormous multitude of potential consumers globally, the Internet offers an opportunity that merchants have never before seen. Corporate giants to small businesses considered investments of large amounts of time, money, resources, man-hours, and venture capital a wise decision when considering the potential return-on-investment (ROI) of the Internet boom of the early to mid 1990's. However, electronic commerce has experienced the meteoric rise and subsequent crash of any behemoth entity cast aloft without moorings or foundation. When millions of dollars were lost, experts emerged &om the ashes and attempted to develop new paradigms designed to explain the failure, redirect the quickly amassed skills and resources previously applied, and stem the exit of great numbers of commercial entities from the Internet and a "virtual economy".

An important issue related to Internet commerce is what factors would facilitate customer loyalty to a Web site. An effective Web site design could be one of the ways to a company success. Using the previously unapplied concepts of logos, pathos, and ethos to electronic commerce as found in the research taxonomy of Winn and Beck's studies (2002), this research composes a theoretical framework for further investigate the interaction between the customer and the Web site design in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Internet commerce.

The research design employed a quantitative method approach using 36 closed-ended questions, plus one open-ended question on the survey instrument. A survey questionnaire with a closed-ended 1 to 9 Likert scale was used to ask respondents the extent to which they disagree or agree (1 = very strongly disagree, 5 = neither agree nor disagree, 9 = very strongly agree). Data was collected in a period of four months from September to December of 2003. A sample using a Web survey in U.S. was obtained with an " N count of 307 (154 males and 153 females). Collected data were analyzed by SPSS Windows Version 11.0. A total of five different statistical analyses were employed in this study. They are descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, independent-samples t Test analysis, one-way ANOVA analysis, and multiple regression analysis. Rhetorical design is concerned with modification of the consumer's attitude toward the site. The regression results support the inference of rhetorical elements (logos, pathos, and ethos) and consumer loyalty relationship.

This research provides a crucial finding facilitate the development of Internet commerce in persuasive discourse. Results of this study indicated that the more rhetorical elements that online sellers can offer through the visual display of Web sites, the more interested the consumers will be to frequently visit, make repeated purchases or service, and do "word-of-mouth" referrals to the same Web site. The outcomes of the study will help marketers and Web designers to create the most persuasive site environment for online shoppers. Web sites that operate on the basis of rational, emotional, and credible ways will have best chances to win consumers' hearts.

Included in

Marketing Commons

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