Dianne Cyr

E-loyalty across many cultures

June 28, 2007

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With more than one billion Internet users around the world, online shopping now represents a significant business market.       

That’s why SFU Business professor Dianne Cyr (above) focuses her research on website design across cultures. In past work she has determined how various website design characteristics, such as colors or images, differ by culture.

Now, in a new study titled Website Design Across Cultures: Relationships to Trust, Satisfaction and E-loyalty, she has turned her attention to how more specific design characteristics such as navigation, visual design or information can contribute to trust, satisfaction and ultimately, online shopping loyalty in different cultures. Research, she says, shows that if online businesses can retain five percent of their customers, profits will increase by 25 to 95 percent. It pays to design a website that will appeal to a broader cultural audience.

Cyr’s study involved 571 people from Canada, Germany and China. Her findings indicate that in China, visual design and navigation result in trust and e-loyalty, while design is not as important. Trust, she says, can be established by enhancing website security and ensuring that the site is sensitively adapted to the Chinese culture.

In Canada, information design and navigation are more important for instilling user trust and confidence than the visual design, such as colours and images.

For Germans, who appear to be the most risk-averse, Cyr found that none of information design, visual design or navigation related positively to trust, although navigation was a strong predictor of how satisfied German users were even if they didn’t necessarily trust the website.

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