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Given the rapid increase in the consumer use of online services and the increase in competition between firms that compete online, firms are faced with a crucial challenge. Having invested significant resources in transitioning consumers from using offline services to using online services, they now need to understand what drives consumers to choose between competing online services. Our study seeks an exploratory answer to the above challenge. Specifically, we consider, “what role do factors that drive consumers into using online services play in assisting firms better compete in the online space?” This paper explores the above question by quantifying the value that consumers of an online financial service place on having access to in-depth product information, an affordable online service, an easy to use online service, access to offline capabilities, and available marketing promotions. The results reported in this paper are based on a web-based discrete choice experiment in which 2,209 consumers were asked to compare various online financial service offerings, differing from each other in terms of the relative availability of our critical factors. The results demonstrate that consumer preferences (relative utilities) for various factors of an online financial service are different. Our results enable practicing managers to understand the factors that drive consumer choice when faced with competing online services. We believe that these results have both managerial and research implications for design, management and operations strategy formulation for online services.


Required Publisher Statement
© Taylor & Francis. Final version published as: Iqbal, Z., & Verma, R. (2006). Competing online: Studying consumer choice drivers for online financial services. Journal of Internet Commerce, 5(1), 45-67. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.