The role of the Internet on free-riding: An exploratory study of the wallpaper industry

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Department or Administrative Unit


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This study discusses the role of the Internet on possible free-riding activities for product categories where retail services are a critical part of the completed consumer purchase transaction. The study investigates free-riding in terms of consumer pre-purchase activities during the information search stage (how they process shopping information) and actual purchase decisions with a literature review. The study's empirical findings indicate that full-service retailers’ beliefs about online consumers’ choice of purchase outlet are predominantly influenced by online retailer prices rather than availability of a variety of products (place) on the Internet. This, in turn, indicates the possibility of strong free-riding opportunities in the sample wallpaper market. The study, in this context, proposes strategies and policies to eliminate many of the destructive effects of the opportunities for free-riding provided by the Internet for long-lasting channel and market effectiveness and efficiency.


This article was originally published in Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services


Published by Elsevier Ltd.