Perceived authenticity of online-only brands (OOBs): a quali-quantitative study with online consumers

Jason Sit*, Giovanni Pino, Marco Pichierri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose – The present study examines the dimensions that are meaningful to define the perceived authenticity of OOBs (i.e. retail brands that trade exclusively online) from a consumer’s perspective. Past frameworks of perceived authenticity exist in the branding literature but consistently focus on contexts beyond e-commerce settings like OOBs.

Design/methodology/approach – We employed a mixed-method research design, consisting of quasi-qualitative and quantitative studies with online customers, to establish the dimensions meaningful for the perceived authenticity of OOBs. Our work has theory testing and building components.

Findings – We identify five dimensions that are meaningful to define consumers’ perceived authenticity of OOBs. They are ‘honesty’, ‘connection’, ‘continuity’, ‘craftsmanship’ and ‘accessibility’. Representing by multiple factors, ‘craftsmanship’ serves as the most meaningful dimension followed by ‘accessibility’. Often being considered incompatible with perceived authenticity, we find accessibility particularly relevant to the context of OOBs. It describes the ‘convenient’ and ‘affordable’ aspects of OOBs, which typically serve as unique selling propositions.

Originality/value - Our work confirms the utility of established dimensions to define consumers’ perceived authenticity of OOBs. This highlights that consumers hold some consistent authenticity image between non-online and online brands. Our work also reveals the accessibility dimension being neglected by the branding literature, suggesting a more up-to-date perspective is needed when studying consumers’ perceived authenticity of OOBs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Early online date29 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 29 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Authenticity
  • Online branding
  • E-Commerce
  • Accessibility
  • Online shopping

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