The expectations and satisfaction of customers are also of great importance to companies using the Internet for business development. For instance, the quality and effectiveness of Web sites have been associated with customers’ perceptions of the brand as well as their satisfaction and repeat purchase behavior (Chen and Wells 1999). Majority of companies provide extra effort in satisfying customers through the use of Web sites as their perceived quality and satisfaction towards a firm’s Web site have been linked to its productivity and performance within the service industry. In addition, the media has continually reported the role of electronic commerce for both consumers and organizations. In North America, for instance, Internet users were shown to look for online information before purchasing a product (eMarketer 2009) while 51% of them completed the purchase and business transaction online (eMarketer 2010). Although this innovative strategy is viewed to be fundamental, the quality of services offered through the Internet remains greatly unpredictable. According to Agarwal and Venkatesh (2002), there is a need for organizations to be aware of and completely understand the barriers and determinants on online purchasing; moreover, they should also be capable of establishing Web sites that can increase the likelihood of visitors to become purchasing customers. This is especially important as customers have been reported to increasingly seek online product information through Web sites although final purchases may not always be completed through the Internet. Nonetheless, Web sites should demonstrate quality in both the offered services and provided information (Parasuraman and Grewal 2000). The current paper will look into the similarities and differences between the Web sites of two fashion brands, H&M and Ralph Lauren. While H&M aims to offer fashion at a good quality along with the most reasonable prices, Ralph Lauren offers luxury through its clothing items. Owing to this difference with regards to the products and prices they offer, this paper will further examine whether they also exemplify variations with regards to their construction and use of Web sites, particularly their quality and effectiveness. Framework (NetQual scale) The use of the NetQual scale will allow the researcher to create a comprehensive view on the Web site quality and effectiveness of the two brands by looking into a number of variables- ease of use, information quality and quantity, visual design, and interaction personalization. Ease of Use The level of usability that is exhibited in a firm’s Web site plays a fundamental role for end-users. If an application is not easy to use and customers experience difficulties in interacting with it, it is most likely that the services and information provided through the Web site will be perceived to be important only by a small number of users. The purpose of usability is to reduce the complexities of Web sites and simplify their interface to ensure that all users are able to have a favorable experience when navigating the site (Welch and Panday 2007). Upon entering the H&M Web site, it was easy to understand the intentions of such application, which is to provide information and offer services, due to the fact that a wide range of specific links were available. For instance, ‘
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