Empirical Generalisations and Multi-Brand E-Loyalty: The Case of Iran

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Naami, Tara (2021) Empirical Generalisations and Multi-Brand E-Loyalty: The Case of Iran. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis has three specific research objectives: i) to apply behavioural loyalty to the study of e-loyalty; ii) to incorporate a multi-brand loyalty concept to the study of e-loyalty; and iii) to apply three key marketing empirical generalisations (Duplication of Purchase, Double Jeopardy and Pareto Law) to the study of multi-brand e-loyalty in a Middle-Eastern country (Iran). To attain these objectives, the theoretical element of this thesis incorporates foundational literature on loyalty (critically comparing attitudinal and behavioural loyalty), literature on multi-brand loyalty and repeat buying behaviour and current literature on e-loyalty (including research on websites stickiness). In doing so, it highlights important issues and gaps to the understanding of e-loyalty, which can be remedied by bringing into research of the online buying behaviour the body of marketing knowledge on empirical generalisations. The empirical element of this thesis consists of applying the three aforementioned key marketing empirical generalisations across three complementary studies that examine Iran, a buoyant Middle-Eastern online market. As such, this thesis is a ‘double’ differentiated replication study, which extends known patterns in offline multi-brand loyalty to the analysis of online purchasing in a geographical context underinvestigated in empirical research on leading ‘marketing laws’. More details of the three studies follow below. Study 1 (Duplication of Purchase) identifies a positive relationship between the market size (purchase penetration) of Iranian websites and the percentage of customers shared with other websites, suggesting that the Duplication of Purchase pattern holds in the Middle-Eastern digital domain. Specifically, this study is a ‘case in point’ for the theoretical and managerial value of the concept of multi-brand e-loyalty since: i) it advances consumer behaviour knowledge by demonstrating that, as in offline domains and other geographical areas, e-loyalty in this buoyant Middle-Eastern market is divided across a small number of e-brands; and ii) duplication of online purchases can assist e-brands to understand competition within the same digital market, including the existence of market partitions or e-brands groupings. Study 2 (Double Jeopardy) reveals that an e-brand market share determines its purchase frequency (multi-brand e-loyalty). Specifically, this study empirically investigates whether larger e-brands (greater market share) have more customers (higher online purchase penetration) and greater levels of e-loyalty than smaller e-brands (lower market share). The results confirm that this is the case for Iranian websites, suggesting that the Double Jeopardy pattern holds in this Middle-Eastern digital domain. The approach also reveals the existence of online niche brands and change-of-pace e-brands. Accordingly, this second study adds to Study 1 by clarifying how to grow the market performance for e-brands or websites. Study 3 (Pareto Law) determines that the Pareto Law ‘holds’ for Iranian websites and, in terms of the share of contribution to sales, like the offline domains, heavy online buyers (those making frequent online purchases for a given e-brand) contribute between 40% and 70% of the sales. Therefore, light buyers contribute to the 30% to 60% of the sales and should not be ignored. This proportion is consistent across different product categories and time periods, highlighting the importance of light online buyers. Hence, this study further demonstrates the theoretical and practical value of the notion of multi-brand e-loyalty, showcasing the type of insights that can be gathered from customer segment-level analysis. The third study provides guidelines that help managers better understand online buyers' contribution to sales, which enables them to choose more potentially successful marketing strategies.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42971
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3506 Marketing
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords behavioural loyalty; e-loyalty; Iran; loyalty; buying behaviour; marketing; websites; online buyers
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