Moss, Gloria Ann
The ability to target consumer segments and achieve a match between the product or promotional instrument and the consumer self-concept is stressed in the marketing literature. The online quality of a website has been said to have a positive impact on intention to use a website and perform a search, with preference for a website linked to perceptions of its credibility. Website preferences cam also encourage or discourage consumers’ purchasing intentions and the perceived visual attractiveness of a website is said to have a greater impact on e-loyalty and consumer retention than traditional attributes such as product selection and price. The important impact of preferences necessitates an understanding of the factors in a website that can appeal or not to people. Unfortunately, until as recently as 2004, studies investigating website aesthetics were anchored in the universalist paradigm which assumed that reactions would be universally held rather than differentiated according to demographic variables. A Canadian study in 2005 documented differences in reaction by gender but this study was inadequate in using a single commercial stimulus which had not been selected on any particular basis. Prior to this, research on web aesthetics was rooted in the universalist aesthetic in assuming that a single set of factors would suit all tastes. The overview describes the work by the author to ascertain the extent to which website productions differ by segmentation variables and the extent to which preferences can also be segmented. The author’s work has isolated the impact of segmentation variables (gender, personality and nationality) on website productions and of gender on website preferences and the overview focuses on gender since the impact of this variable has been explored in relation to productions and preferences.
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