Title page for ETD etd-07122006-072639

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Bernard, Elena Kiryanova
Author's Email Address kiryane@hotmail.com
URN etd-07122006-072639
Title "To Integrate or to Differentiate?" - Towards Resolving a Multi-Channel Dilemma Investigation of the Effects of Channel Integration Strategies on Consumers' Evaluations of Multi-Channel Utility and Their Adoption of Multi-Channel Shopping
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Marketing (Business Administration)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William C. Black Committee Chair
Alvin C. Burns Committee Member
Daryl McKee Committee Member
Kevin W. Mossholder Committee Member
Rick L. Andrews Committee Member
Judith L. Sylvester Dean's Representative
  • channel integration
  • multi-channel retailing
  • conjoint analysis
  • complementarity
  • shopping
Date of Defense 2006-06-29
Availability unrestricted
Multi-channel retailers have been adopting different multi-channel formats that range from complete channel separation (e.g., Victoria's Secret) to close integration (e.g., Bed, Bath and Beyond). The purpose of this dissertation is to determine which multi-channel strategy offers the most value to multi-channel shoppers.

The success of a multi-channel retailing strategy is believed to depend on the degree of channel complementarity as perceived by the retailer's customers. Channel complementarity is defined as the degree to which multiple retail channels work synergistically to create value. Complementary channels give customers integrated solutions that create more value than the sum of the parts. It is proposed that channel complementarity arises from two distinct value creating factors - fulfillment integration and merchandising similarity. Integrated fulfillment refers to consumer perceptions about the existence of logistical links between the channels, which create purchasing process benefits that enable a customer to use the two channels interchangeably. Merchandising similarity is defined as consumer perceptions about the degree of correspondence between the channels in terms of product variety and assortment, pricing, and promotion.

Using choice-based conjoint analysis, this dissertation shows that consumers prefer greater fulfillment integration and moderate levels of merchandising similarity between the store and the website of a multi-channel retailer. Website is perceived more favorably than the store in facilitating merchandising diversity in the multi-channel distribution system. The results also suggest that shoppers' evaluations of channel complementarity vary across their shopping motivations, technology factors and perceived risks.

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