What are the factors influencing the use of discount websites by businesses in a shopping mall? A case study of four shopping malls in Durban, South Africa.
Ramballie, Vijay Rubinduth.
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The inception of the Internet has introduced new forms of marketing, which increase awareness of sales promotions to consumers. Consumers are offered great opportunities through discount websites. Discount websites allow consumers to search for promotions through convenient internet access. The websites, referred to as online discount intermediaries (ODIs) in this study, act as a ‘link’ between the consumer and the business through online systems. The questions that arise then are whether current business practice encourages the use of discount websites. This is followed by understanding the factors that will influence businesses to use discount websites. Furthermore, it looks at the possibilities and challenges that arise from businesses using discount websites to extend savings to the consumer, while deriving various business benefits. The study examines the factors in the context of businesses in shopping malls. It set out to explore the factors influencing the use of discount websites where such websites could increase the foot traffic into a shopping mall. In achieving the objectives of this dissertation, a quantitative study was conducted with four shopping malls in the KwaZulu-Natal region. Businesses within these shopping malls were engaged to participate using a questionnaire to obtain responses. The respondents are the business owners or store managers. There were 140 stores (businesses) in total that were approached with a 75% response rate. Data was analysed using various methods of analysis such as descriptive, factor, chi-square and correlation analysis. The study was underpinned by the Diffusions of Innovations Theory which showed applicability for ODI adoption in a South African business context. Overall findings show that discount websites could be perceived as drivers in improving the customer base and competitive position of the business. It can extend convenience to the customer and help them make more informed purchasing decisions. Discount websites can offer businesses the potential to increase revenue and extend their customer base. This can have positive implications on increasing brand exposure. Compatibility of the websites can influence the decision on whether or not to adopt new technology. Financial and technical resources can be limiting factors in businesses successfully integrating discount website usage in their current business practice. However, management could still favour the adoption of discount websites as the benefits are potentially significant.