November 11, 2008

An Experimental Study of Consumers’ Attitude and Behavior towards Online Fashion Shopping: Cross-Cultural Study of Malaysia and United Kingdom



1.0  Title

The working title of the research is initially drafted as An Experimental Study of Consumers' Attitude and Behavior towards Online Fashion Shopping: Cross-Cultural Study of Malaysia and United Kingdom.  

2.0  Introduction

The paper discusses in detail the research proposal on the experimental study of consumer attitudes and behaviour regarding online fashion shopping. In particular, the research will focus on Malaysia and UK consumers. Fashion is regarded to be one of the most essential arts of civilization as it reflects the great culture of the past and illustrates how the characteristics of individual societies change over the years. In this research proposal, the background, context and theme of the study are presented; the objectives of the study and the research statements are formulated. Here, vital concepts, questions and assumptions are stated. Finally, the scope and limitation of the study, methodology to be used and the significance of the research are discussed.  

3.0  Statement of the Problem

The problem that will be addressed in this study is Malaysian and Briton's attitude and behaviour regarding online fashion shopping. Several factors are to be considered regarding the purchasing behaviour and decision-making of the people when it comes to online fashion shopping. Examples of these are price, trust in brand name, company reputation and advertisements among others. As such online fashion shopping has been an avenue for the fashion industry to combat the dilemmas technology and easy-access Internet while also adapting to the changing customer requirements.

Notably, there are intrinsic and extrinsic motivations toward purchasing fashion garments and accessories virtual retail stores. Aside from this, how culture, beliefs and traditions in particular nations affect the consumerism of the people might be also significant body of knowledge to explore. The impact that consumer attitudes and behaviour may bring to online fashion shopping or how online fashion shopping alter or modify the consumer requirements are still unexplored. The study will specifically explore these issues within Malaysia and United Kingdom context.      

4.0  Background to the Problem

Understanding customer behaviour shall move along with customer expectations, customer requirements and their purchasing trend. Since there are several internal and external factors which impact the consumer buying decision, the consumer buying process is multifaceted. These factors that influence the purchasing decision of an individual is manifested in the stages of consumer purchase behaviour as well as the type of buying behaviour the individual conforms to. Because of the fact that a customer evaluates a product or service, it would be plausible to acknowledge the motivations that influence customers to the evaluation process.

As Wong (2000) argued, customer's actions are based on the customer's reaction in using the product or service, which means that the product or service should leave a good perception to the customer to consider him or her satisfied. When it comes to understanding the consumer behaviour, according to Stanford (2002), expected vs. certain values of choices; comparison of actual outcomes to expected values; the behavior of the utility function; qualifications to the principle of diminishing marginal utility; and managerial implications of utility relationships are the basic concepts to consider. When it comes to fashion shopping, the customers' behaviours and attitudes are commonly influenced by economic, cultural and aesthetic dimensions.    

According to Yarwood (1992), fashion is claimed to be a more accurate barometer because of its inherent universality attribute; fashion affects everybody. Fashion, as well, represents a personal expression of life at a given time and place. Today, the world of fashion has witness a dramatic shift since it is now considered more of a retail material rather than a medium of artistic expression of ideas. Even so, the decline of the fashion sales over the years necessitates the fashion industry to resort to new possibilities to satisfy the demands of the customer, making way for the emergence of a new industry – online fashion retailing.   

5.0  Project Aims and Objectives

The general purpose of the study is to conduct an experimental research on the customer attitudes and behaviours for online fashion shopping in Malaysian and British setting. In lieu with this, the researcher will seek to conduct primary and secondary research and to review related literatures on consumer behaviour, Malaysia and UK cultures and online fashion retailing and shopping.   

6.0  Research Objectives

The main objective of the research is to evaluate how Malaysians and Britons differ in customer attitudes and behaviours relating to online fashion shopping on a socio-cultural basis. Further, the study also purports to determine the extent of importance and preference to which Malaysians or Britons give for online shopping and the rationale behind this. To know the intrinsic and extrinsic and culture-embedded motivations of these people and to determine the extent to which culture play with respect to online shopping are other objectives of the research.

7.0  Research Questions

The study will explore the following research questions:

1)     How do Malaysian and Briton consumers perceive online fashion shopping?

2)     Do Malaysian or Briton customers prefer online fashion shopping? Why?

3)     What are their motivations for online fashion shopping?

4)     Does culture play an important role towards the attitude and behaviour of Malaysian and Briton regarding online shopping? How?

8.0  Research Design

The experimental method is the method that can be used to establish cause-and-effect relationships. In this method, the subjects are split into two or more groups. One group, called the experimental group gets the treatment that the researcher believes will cause something to happen (this treatment is formally called the independent variable). The experimental and control groups are compared on some variable that is presumed to reflect the effects of the treatment, or outcome. This is formally referred to as the dependent variable.

In this study, primary and secondary research will be both incorporated. The reason for this is to be able to provide adequate discussion for the readers that will help them understand more about the issue and the different variables that involve with it. The primary data for the study will be represented by the survey results that will be acquired from the respondents. On the other hand, the literature reviews to be presented in the second chapter of the study will represent the secondary data of the study.

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