International Journal of Entrepreneurship (Print ISSN: 1099-9264; Online ISSN: 1939-4675)

Research Article: 2019 Vol: 23 Issue: 3

Web-Marketing Triggering Entrepreneurial Behaviour

Jorge Figueiredo, North Lusíada University

António Cardoso, University Fernando Pessoa

Margarida Pocinho, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra

Pedro Rodrigues, North Lusíada University

Isabel Oliveira, North Lusíada University

Abstract

This study has as main objective, to evaluate the role of Web-marketing as a fundamental element in the relation with the client that contributes to the entrepreneurial affirmation of a company. This study considers the consumer perception regarding the strategies used in Digital Marketing, the evaluation, the satisfaction, the trust, the fidelity and loyalty of online consumers. As a methodology, 405 respondents took part in the survey using an online questionnaire. The customer's sense of satisfaction is closely related to their trust in the brand, in a process that materializes in the creation and maintenance of long-term relationships. As online consumers become savvier, their confidence increases, and they tend to buy more and become less concerned about uncertainty, customer trust becomes crucial and presents itself as customer fidelity. This is how trust minimizes insecurities about consumer risk and safety and encourages them to participate in online actions. On the other hand, fidelity based on emotion, obeys to a longer process and guarantees purchase repetition, because the consumer values the creation of personalized experiences. The companies aim at integrating these two forms of fidelity, in order to strengthen the bond and stimulate an emotional relationship. A certain brand consolidates its relationship with the customer, regardless of competitors' requests, when it has a strong Brand Equity. There is a significant commitment to repeat purchase of a product without concern for situational influences and marketing efforts that are capable of causing behavioural change. Loyalty does not present itself as a single phenomenon, but as a continuous action or a continuous action process. There is confidence building that will stimulate commitment and result in a prescriber of the product, service and brand. Customer satisfaction, trust, fidelity and loyalty are vital elements for an enterprising company looking for market differentiation, connecting with consumer communities and partners for co-creation and with competitors for a collaborative competition. On the other hand, companies have to take into consideration that each customer is a potential entrepreneur, as they have access to the knowledge of crowds so that they can make the most informed decisions.

Keywords

Web-Marketing, Entrepreneur, Satisfaction, Fidelity, Loyalty.

Introduction

In an extremely competitive business context, organizations to assert themselves in the market have to assume as entrepreneurs, betting on difference, creativity and imagination. In this sense, it becomes imperative that companies, in addition to traditional Marketing, also integrate Web-marketing, cementing a more creative and interactive relationship with their clients, aiming at their fidelity and loyalty.

This new communication medium presents its contents in a different way from the conventional means, being able to personalize and direct them to each individual of an audience, providing a capacity of response and thus allowing a more effective company- client interactivity.

Nowadays, there is a technological evolution that allows an expansion and globalization of the digital networks, being built and disseminated by the interconnection of the messages, in the context of the constantly changing virtual communities, in a cyberspace that breaks with the time and space frontiers. There is thus a diversification and simplification of the interfaces articulated with the digital phenomenon that flow towards a large-scale membership in cyberspace with the global interconnection of computers.

This advancement of technology also has repercussions in the business world. Contrary to the Transactional Marketing that practiced only one unidirectional information delivery, targeting large audiences, in an undifferentiated and general way, Web-marketing, with the use of new technologies, besides being able to identify each client of its audience, has the possibility of establishing an interactive communication, providing an individualized response by consumers.

The Internet provides personalized and increasingly multimedia interactivity due to its ability to incorporate new combinations of text, images, moving images and sound. It also has an almost unlimited space to offer levels of depth, texture and context, impossible in any other medium. To personalize its information when interacting with each audience, the company will have to acquire detailed and up-to-date information about the customer, to present their content according to the habits of each user, enabling each of their consumers, a potential customer co-creator and interventionist in the dynamics of the brand and the product. This process is materialized through a limited communication of restricted content, in which the company and the client adopt independent positions, in which the relationship with the consumer is sustained in an undifferentiated and anonymous behaviour (Dadzie et al., 2017; Dionísio et al., 2011).

Web-marketing, as an interactive medium, enables the immediate diffusion of information, following the reactions of the consumer simultaneously, adapting its procedure, according to its attitudes and behaviours. Audiences can interact with companies, either asynchronously or in real time. The relationship with the clients gains a new meaning, allowing a quick and precise response to the content of certain information or comment. Customers can challenge the company or add complementary facts immediately and interactively, which was impossible in traditional marketing. On the other hand, these new digital platforms promote the formation of sharing groups, strengthening the relational process between the brand and consumers (Sweeney & Chew, 2002).

This system of exchange of experiences between the participants, in an interactive way, enables the user to decide, reacting actively and intervening, returning to its critical function. The transfer of competences, in which the audience in particular conveys information about the products, according to their pretensions, allows the creation and segmentation of products according to their personality.

The understanding of the problematic in question implies an approach to the emergence of a new communicational space, with the emergence of the Internet, where new communities of relationship arise, imposing on marketing the reconfiguration of its practices with the introduction of this new communicational support. It is from this scenario that the mutations processed in the context of Marketing are analysed, in relation to their migration to digital, especially with the phenomenon of the contents personalization and all the potentialities developed by their audiences, so as to understand more easily the type of relationships that the companies establish with their customers and how they may interfere in their behaviour in the sales process. The emergence of the Internet, its potentialities, the creation of a new relationship space and the formation of virtual communities establish a tribal cyber culture. To respond to the demands of these audiences Marketing necessarily has to adopt a more entrepreneurial and relationship policy, supported by creativity, giving voice to the co- creative consumer and fostering fidelity and loyalty.

Web-marketing is primarily responsible for these transformations by bringing connectivity and transparency to companies' relationships with customers (Kotler et al., 2017). Most personal purchasing decisions will essentially be social decisions and consumers will move from passive to active media. On the other hand, the supposed control that companies have over a specific customer is transferred to a community that will act proactively, becoming entrepreneurs in product management through their research, experience, sharing and acquisition (Alqahtani & Uslay, 2018).

Literature Review

The thinking and design of Marketing based on the traditional model of the 4Ps, focused on the consumer, has its philosophy in the management of the exchanges, orienting its objectives to the desires and satisfaction of the consumer’s needs. This perspective reflects a transactional tendency more directed to the product and the transaction than to the client and its relational context. It is the so-called discrete transaction, where the main purpose is to exploit the sale without any concern for a continued relationship between the players in the trading system. This process is materialized through a limited content-restricted communication in which the company and the client adopt independent positions, in which the relationship with the consumer is sustained by an undifferentiated and anonymous behaviour (Dadzie et al., 2017; Dionísio et al., 2013).

Gronroos (2000) considers that the transition from a discrete transaction structure to a relational exchange is a continuum phenomenon, allowing companies a strategic positioning over time, promoting the sharing of objectives, the search for mutual benefits and recognition of the interdependence of the partners. Negotiation. Sheth & Parvatiyar (2002) propose that Relationship Marketing should be recognized as one of the main paradigm shifts in Marketing.

This traditional Marketing Mix model has been gradually replaced by a long-term vision, based on customer retention, maintaining a high level of contacts and services that enable a solid and lasting commitment, called Relational Marketing. Marketing in a relational perspective assumes an interactive Marketing function, in a continuous process, dialogical and individualized with the client, in a long-term union and of reciprocal collaboration, giving the company an entrepreneurial vision (Eiriz & Wilson, 2006; Negoiță et al., 2018).

In addition, the segmentation of the online consumer market and the personalization and customization phenomenon has a strong influence on consumer satisfaction, trust, fidelity and loyalty. Web-marketing is primarily responsible for these transformations by bringing connectivity and transparency to companies' relationships with customers (Kotler & Kartajaya, Hermawan, 2017).

Online Consumer Satisfaction

The proximity between the company and the client appears as one of the most important elements to create consumer satisfaction. As Kotler points out (2003), if the organization does not care about the customer, someone else will do it for them.

Munari et al. (2013) point out that customer satisfaction is the best way to evaluate the relationship with the market and a means of constant monitoring of the operational policies, which will be decisive for their reputation.

The first approaches to customer satisfaction were based on social psychology, based on the fact that satisfaction comes from the difference between the perceived result and the initial reference, namely the client's evaluation of the service or product he or she is enjoying (Oliver, 2014).

The level of customer satisfaction is also confined to fairness or judgment, based on the fairness and honesty that customers make, depending on their perception of the product or service.

There are other factors that determine the Internet browsing experience, such as speed and ease of use. In this sense, based on experience, the higher the satisfaction, the greater the desire to repeat purchases on the same site (Mittal & Kamakura, 2001; Wang et al., 2018).

Online Consumer Confidence

In the relationship between client and company, trust implies the creation and maintenance of long-term relationships (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Trust is a psychological state that understands the intention to accept vulnerability based on positive expectations of the intentions or behaviours of others. In the first part, trust is related to positive expectations about the intentions and/or behaviours in the negotiation, based on one party's belief that the other will act responsibly - it is the conceptualization of trust based on expectation. In the second part, trust is related to the exchange partner, accepting contextual vulnerability - it is behavioural trust and it refers to the tendency of action of one part in relation to the other (Oliver, 2014; Wang et al., 2018).

In the digital environment, customer trust becomes critical and presents itself in relation to customer loyalty and behavioural intentions. This is how trust minimizes insecurities about consumer risk and safety and encourages them to participate in online actions. Fear of fraud has been seen as the major obstacle to Business to Consumer (B2C) purchases, as well as issues related to privacy and security in operations (Bauman & Bachmann, 2017; Hoffmam, 2016; Clemons et al., 2016).

Online Consumer Fidelity

The practice of customer fidelity underlies a set or sequence of steps in consumer experience, which functions as a commitment to repeated purchases of the same product, which leads the consumer to be positively linked regardless of situational factors or Marketing efforts that are capable of causing behavioural change (Oliver, 2014; Roger- Monzó et al., 2015; Roger-Monzó et al., 2015). A good experience in the relationship of organizations with their customers is the most decisive factor for customer loyalty, not only when the product is acquired, but also during the consumption process, and especially in the after-sales period (Fang et al., 2016; García Gómez et al., 2006; McMullan & Gilmore, 2008).

Online fidelity has the particularity of triggering users’ fidelity to the site/brand, especially for those who are not yet customers, because they consume interesting information/entertainment on the brand's website, giving them the possibility of becoming customers. Companies enjoy competitive advantages by gathering and dealing with information immediately and offering personalized offers or the composition of communities and interactive relationships (Hur et al., 2010). For the implementation of a fidelity process, a properly segmented customer analysis, a definition of a fidelity strategy and an evaluation and reintroduction of the actual data will be necessary in the analysis of the clients' behaviours (Tseng & Lee, 2018).

There is an imposition of well-defined rules in the forms of contact (online and offline), for the logic of customer relationship management, as any lack of congruence in a particular channel will compromise the relationship in the other channels (Nicuta et al., 2018; Payne & Frow, 2006; Rowley, 2007; Jaakkola, 2007).

Online Consumer Loyalty

When a consumer continues to buy a certain product, even if there is competition with superior characteristics, price and convenience, it can be said that the brand of this product has value, it has a Brand Equity. It is through this consumer link to the brand that the likelihood of the customer switching to the competition, especially if it makes a change in price and/or product characteristic, is greatly reduced. And the greater the increase in brand loyalty, the lower the vulnerability of consumers to competition intervention (Frio & Brasil, 2016; Oliveira, 2009).

Loyalty is a multidimensional notion that must be analysed through two dimensions: behavioural, materialized in the repetition of the purchase and attitudinal, based on its intention to remain client in the long term and to maintain a positive attitude, being able to be recommended or spoken about favourably (Gouvêa et al., 2013; Hur et al., 2010; Ladhari et al., 2011; Lewis & Soureli, 2006; Zeithaml et al., 1996).

Vilares & Coelho (2005) classify loyalty in three dimensions: affective loyalty directly related to emotional connections and involves human interactions, such as the testimony of some clients; rational or cognitive loyalty, directly related to the evaluation of the commercial relationship; behavioural loyalty resulting from the two previous aspects and implies the intention to buy and recommend the company.

Methodology

In this investigation, the research of quantitative nature and with descriptive design (Hill & Hill, 2008; Lambin, 2000; Malhotra, 2006; Engel et al., 2000; Grönroos, 2000) came from the convention of rational and intuitive procedures, capable of improving the understanding of the phenomenon (Neves, 1996). Considering that we want to assess the existence of associations between variables, this study is cross-sectional and analytical, level III (correlational) (Fortin, 2000).

The main objective of this study is based on the knowledge of consumer perception regarding the strategies used in Digital Marketing, evaluation, satisfaction, trust, fidelity and loyalty of online consumers. The study population is made up of Internet users, in general, without exclusion criteria. 405 respondents participated in the study of the 400 initially foreseen, with an average age of 31 ± 13.9 years. The distribution by sex, by profession and by hours of Internet use can be observed in the table. It should be noted that the majority (199) of the respondents are students (49.1%) and 61 are teachers (15.1%), all of them acquainted with the internet and generally collaborate in research works.

It should be highlighted that the majority of respondents use the Internet more than 4 hours a day (46.2%). From the development of variables and their respective indicators, a questionnaire was conducted, made available and completed on the Google Docs platform between 2017 and 2018.

As a basic methodology, the survey was used through an online questionnaire, consisting mostly by questions of multiple-choice responses. The questionnaire was developed based on the literature, considering the dimensions related to the online consumer profile and dimensions related to consumer satisfaction.

Based on the development of the variables and their respective indicators, a questionnaire was prepared and made available on the Google Documents® electronic platform, which was validated by these researchers for the composition of the database, to be used by statistical software and applied in data analysis and validation of the model. The questionnaires were made available online, and data was collected between February and May 2018.

Respondents indicated the degree of importance, with respect to the prepositions presented, using a five-point Likert scale (1 to 5), where 1 mean totally disagree and 5 strongly agree, of each component indicator of the pre-established model. The construction of the consumer profile questionnaire (QPC) had as a principle to include indirect indicators that measured both the online consumer profile (PCO) and its satisfaction (SCO). From the conceptual basis of what we want to measure, we came to the different domains or dimensions that intended to explain the phenomenon. QPC items come from multiple sources: professional judgment, literature, and questionnaires.

The information gathered was studied using descriptive statistics such as simple percentage, charts and tables in the summary and interpretation of the data collected.

In order to analyse the Consumer Profile and Online Satisfaction we used the correlation models and regression, using SPSS statistical software support.

Results

Table 1 shows the attitudes, trust and satisfaction of the consumer, regarding the strategies used in Digital Marketing, Internet users who shop online and Internet users who never did.

Table 1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping
  Yes (n=371) No (n=34) SD t df p (sig)
M DP M
personalization 3.35 1.081 3.09 1.334 1.339 403 0.181
to contact 3.53 0.976 3.35 1.300 0.972 403 0.331
contacted 3.34 1.067 3.15 1.158 0.986 403 0.325
to compare 4.00 0.964 3.56 1.186 2.502 403 0.013
updated 3.90 0.971 3.76 1.156 0.782 403 0.435
offer 3.80 0.955 3.53 1.187 1.551 403 0.122
contents 2.89 1.157 3.12 1.365 -1.058 403 0.291
practical 3.97 0.966 3.03 1.000 5.402 403 0.000
pleasantness 3.49 1.116 2.09 1.055 7.044 403 0.000
interest 3.44 1.162 2.21 1.149 5.943 403 0.000
needs 3.20 1.113 2.18 1.141 5.104 403 0.000
stimulant 3.00 1.189 2.21 1.298 3.711 403 0.000
funny 2.32 1.149 2.03 1.267 1.390 403 0.165
annoying 2.34 1.044 2.97 1.167 -3.324 403 0.001
irritating Behaviour 2.50 1.076 2.94 0.983 -2.282 403 0.023
irritating 2.27 1.072 2.94 1.301 -3.431 403 0.001
satisfied_purchases 3.74 0.932 2.71 1.292 5.980 403 0.000
satisfied_ services 3.60 0.976 2.71 1.169 5.044 403 0.000
satisfied_utility 3.75 0.955 2.79 1.149 5.500 403 0.000

Another point of differentiation between online buyers and offline buyers has to do with the degree of satisfaction, the possibility of comparing prices, the ease and practicality of online shopping, the pleasure, the interest, the needs’ satisfaction and the spur that shopping causes. Offline buyers find Web-marketing strategies significantly more irritating and annoying, which accounts for the fact that online buyers have significantly higher levels of satisfaction than offline buyers in all respects.

In order to answer the question that started treatment in this section, it also seemed important to be aware of consumer fidelity and loyalty behaviour. Table 2 shows the results.

Table 2 Loyalty and Fidelity
  Yes (n=371) M DP No (n=34) M SD t df p (sig)
Preference 2.46 1.125 2.03 1.141 2.138 403 0.033
habit 2.24 1.134 1.88 1.038 1.784 403 0.075
keep 3.26 1.217 2.21 1.175 4.866 403 0.000
Continue 3.29 1.246 2.44 1.260 3.792 403 0.000
points 3.05 1.277 2.35 1.276 3.065 403 0.002
Good deal 2.89 1.211 2.59 1.209 1.389 403 0.166
promotion 3.38 1.191 2.38 1.349 4.608 403 0.000
advantage 3.30 1.169 2.35 1.203 4.506 403 0.000
motivation 2.58 1.259 2.18 1.290 1.795 403 0.073
benefit 2.71 1.206 2.24 1.281 2.206 403 0.028
save 2.95 1.125 2.65 1.252 1.509 403 0.132

Fidelity and loyalty actions are factors that can positively or negatively influence the satisfaction of online shoppers. The results of the analysis at these points showed that buyers are more loyal to online stores than offline shoppers. Likewise, it is this group that most appreciates services that provide loyalty cards, promotions and are more susceptible to consumerism, than offline shoppers. Concerning the components of online buyer satisfaction, such as commitment, trust, satisfaction, change, recommendation, understanding, interactive Marketing, personalization and Marketing actions, only the online buyer group was evaluated.

The possibility of differences between the components under analysis and sex was also evaluated. There were differences in swapping stores, which is something that men admit more than women and, in the importance attributed to the space restricted to frequent customers, with men giving significantly more importance to this fact. In the remaining dimensions, there are no gender differences.

With regard to the affective commitment dimension with the online store, the shoppers appreciate the possibility to continue shopping for a long time and the maintenance with their usual online store. The satisfaction of the online shoppers is so relevant that, from their own experience, they recommend to friends and family this purchase process, considering that there is a research and service system quite adequate to what they want. The company’s relationship with the online buyers is the most important aspect of Interactive Marketing, highlighting the aspects of personalization, how to be recognized by its name and its needs. Finally, the most valued Marketing actions are the visualization of your own account and the creation and modification of your profile. In all these aspects, the satisfaction is greater in online shoppers, there is in them a greater sense of security with the payment system of online stores and a greater confidence in making purchases through this means.

Findings

The behaviour of online consumers, when they are being persuaded to view a particular good or service, does not prove to be different, depending on the practice of online shopping, however, there are differences in consumer perception about the benefits that Web- marketing has brought to these, since online shoppers feel that web- marketing has brought significantly more benefits in terms of access to promotions, fun, convenience, speed and downloads than offline buyers.

Previous studies by Howie et al. (2018) report that e-commerce interactivity promotes utility actions, ease of information search, and lower search costs, emphasizing that there is a tendency for young consumers to value entertainment more during online search and purchase, effectively adhering to hedonic consumption.

Utilitarian consumers are concerned with the purchase of an efficient and time- consuming way, privileging the performance of the website in solving problems (Howie et al., 2018; Jeong & Lambert, 2001), as obtained in the present investigation.

Another point of distinction between online buyers and offline buyers has to do with the degree of satisfaction, with the possibility of comparing product features and prices, the ease and accessibility/availability of online purchases, the pleasure, the interest, the satisfaction of needs and the spur that shopping causes. Offline buyers find web- marketing strategies significantly more irritating and annoying, which accounts for the fact that online buyers have significantly higher levels of satisfaction than offline buyers.

The literature depicts this division, since online shopping channel enthusiasts are Internet enthusiasts who have a higher degree of satisfaction and praise the utilitarian, hedonic, playful and social advantages provided in this rewarding experience (Howie et al., 2018; Shapiro et al., 2017; Solomon et al., 2008; Wolfinbarger & Gilly, 2001).

Fidelity and loyalty actions are also aspects that can positively or negatively influence the satisfaction of online shoppers. The results of the analysis at these points have shown that buyers are more loyal to online stores than offline buyers. Likewise, it is this group that most appreciates services that provide loyalty cards, promotions and are more susceptible to consumerism than offline shoppers.

These results are in line with some works identified in the literature, since consumers who buy online are committed to the brands and there is a physical, emotional and social proximity that is created, which allows to foster loyalty. When a customer is loyal to the brand, there is a significant commitment to repeat the purchase of a product without concern for situational influences and marketing efforts that are capable of causing behavioural change.

Loyalty creates a connection to the brand, causing the customer to decline other approaches to the competition, even when they feel dissatisfied with their brand; they do not trade it because they believe that other brands are inferior.

There are several studies that confirm a relationship between satisfaction and loyalty, and there is a convergence between different authors who consider that the backgrounds of loyalty are e-Quality, e-Satisfaction and e-Confidence. For optimistic customers, enthusiasts and fans of online shopping (relational customers), companies develop relationship marketing programs to build and maintain trust and commitment, while for traditional consumers, companies develop transactional marketing programs satisfaction management for clients with poor relationship.

Conclusion

The customer's sense of satisfaction is closely related to their trust in the brand, in a process that materializes in the creation and maintenance of long-term relationships. As online consumers become savvier, their confidence increases, and they tend to buy more and become less concerned about uncertainty. This concept is related to beliefs about future attitudes that are more active and complex, thus reducing indecision. In the digital context, customer trust becomes fundamental and presents itself in relation to customer fidelity. This is how trust minimizes insecurities about consumer risk and safety and encourages them to participate in online actions. Customer loyalty activity is confined to a group or sequence of steps in the consumer relationship, which imposes a commitment to repeated purchases of a particular product, which leads the consumer to be positively linked, regardless of context or Marketing, in order to a cause a behavioural change. Effective loyalty, of course, is an excellent connection between the company and its customers, both at the beginning of the sales process and throughout the relationship and in particular in the after-sales period. The current context of Marketing 4.0, coupled with the new technologies that are omnipresent and accessible; provide the consumer with memorable experiences. Fidelity may be associated with a mechanical phenomenon, confined to consumption patterns, which is usually associated with immediate benefits with the purchase. On the other hand, fidelity based on emotion, obeys to a longer process and guarantees repeating purchase, because the consumer values the creation of personalized experiences. The companies aim at integrating these two forms of fidelity, in order to strengthen the bond and stimulate an emotional relationship.

A certain brand consolidates its relationship with the customer, regardless of competitors' requests, when it has a strong Brand Equity. There is a significant commitment to repeat purchase of a product without concern for situational influences and marketing efforts that are capable of causing behavioural change.

Loyalty does not present itself as a single phenomenon, but as a continuous action or a continuous action process. There is confidence building that will stimulate commitment and result in a prescriber of the product, service and brand.

As evidenced in the literature, effectively, these elements are provided by Web-marketing that corroborates the affirmation of an entrepreneurial and differentiating policy of the companies in the relationship as their clients. Because these new generations are more proactive and communicative, they are more likely to actively participate in the process of advising companies on their products and services with a view to improving business offerings. It is up to brands to build a relationship with consumers. Marketeers have to be tribal leaders who foster the sharing of these bonds by addressing the emotional side, assessing the personality, feelings and motivations of this tribe to increasingly personalize their brand. There is a concern to cement strong ties with consumers to create the idea that the brand strives to meet the preferences of its audiences and the tribes to which they belong. This activity of producing branded content, coupled with the demand-seeking behaviour of that content when deciding to purchase, often causes consumers to decide the destination of the brand. This process gives the consumer greater bargaining power, becoming largely a consumer/entrepreneur, due to the possibility of consulting and comparing similar and substitute products and information that is online, but also of their ability to aggregate their demand from others and obtain discounts from suppliers.

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