Original Research

E-service quality: An investigation of its key dimensions and the discriminatory power in the residential property sector

Justin Beneke, Alexander Acton, Dominic Richardson, Fiona White
Acta Commercii | Vol 11, No 1 | a154 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v11i1.154 | © 2011 Justin Beneke, Alexander Acton, Dominic Richardson, Fiona White | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2011 | Published: 06 December 2011

About the author(s)

Justin Beneke, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Alexander Acton, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Dominic Richardson, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Fiona White, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Research Statement: With an increase in competition within the South African property sector, real estate agencies need to ensure that their channels are as effective as possible. Using the Internet and mobile technologies represents a new means to reach customers and achieve lower operating costs. This study seeks to ascertain which factors potential buyers consider important when perusing residential property in an online environment. Hence, the dimensions of e-service quality, which constitute their online experience, will be explored. In addition, this research explores buyer typologies and probes whether other forms of technology, such as a mobile interface, may be of commercial value to the realtor.

Methodology: The empirical analysis was conducted by means of a quantitative survey. A questionnaire was designed to test the application of the e-service quality construct in the South African real-estate sector. Data was obtained from 300 respondents, across the age spectrum, who filled the criteria of being prospective buyers. Convenience sampling was primarily used to collect responses as the researchers were unable to obtain access to a specific database of listed property buyers.

Results & Conclusion: As mirrored in other studies of this nature, it was found that trust is paramount when initiating property sales online. All other variables in the construct (site features, information, accessibility, communication, reliability, responsiveness and personalisation) also proved significant. A cluster analysis revealed that older respondents preferred a higher level of support - across all attributes of e-service quality - when interacting with online property services. Lastly, the mobile interface appears to appeal to 'students' as well as 'mature workers'. It is surmised that these individuals have access to smart phones capable of being used for accessing property portals. However, the 'young workers' appear less enthusiastic about the mobile interface, seemingly preferring to either access such portals via the Internet or visiting agents personally.


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