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Developing a framework for measuring physical distribution service quality of multi-channel and "pure player" internet retailers

Xing, Yuan; Grant, David B.


Yuan Xing

David B. Grant


Neil F. Doherty


Purpose: Many traditional retailers use the internet as a complementary business channel and thus sell products through multiple channels. In contrast, "pure player" internet retailers only sell products via the internet. A proliferation of pure players over the past few years has intensified competition in the online shopping market and the question of who is better at offering physical distribution service quality (PDSQ), multi-channel retailers or pure players, is open to debate. Despite PDSQ's importance in an electronic commerce environment there are few studies to date and most have focused on general service quality of internet shopping. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this phenomenon and posit a conceptual framework for further investigation. Design/methodology/approach: This paper reviews the literature to develop variables and constructs for investigation following the first stage of Churchill's paradigm for scale development, which are presented in a framework based on the concept of order fulfilment as a key driver in electronic PDSQ, or e-PDSQ. Research limitations/implications: The framework is presented for future investigation, thus there is no empirical study in this paper. Practical implications: PDSQ has strategic importance for retailers to achieve competitive advantage and offer superior customer service, particularly for pure players as they are considered intangible services compared to their multi-channel competitors. This importance also extends to the e-commerce environment. Originality/value: Earlier work has provided insight into how e-PDSQ, represented by availability, timeliness and reliability, is affected by pricing, transactions and firms. This paper extends this work and presents an e-PDSQ framework to investigate differences between multi-channel and pure player retailers. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Xing, Y., & Grant, D. B. (2006). Developing a framework for measuring physical distribution service quality of multi-channel and "pure player" internet retailers. International journal of retail & distribution management, 34(4-5), 278-289.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2006
Publication Date May 11, 2006
Journal International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Print ISSN 0959-0552
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 4-5
Pages 278-289
Keywords Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management; Marketing
Public URL