Title: Examining relational benefits and costs in an online non-transactional context

Authors: Georgios Tsimonis; Sergios Dimitriadis; Christos Koritos

Addresses: Department of Strategic Management and Marketing, Faculty of Business and Law, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK ' Department of Marketing and Communication, School of Business, Athens University of Economics and Business, Patission 76, 10434, Athens, Greece ' ALBA - Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece, Xenias 6-8, 11528, Athens, Greece

Abstract: The paper explores which relational benefits and costs are appropriate for capturing relationship-building efforts within the context of informational, non-transactional, websites and assesses their effect on behavioural outcomes. Firstly, a preliminary study consisting of two focus groups was organised in order to identify what relational benefits and costs users perceive. At the second stage, quantitative data were collected with the use of an e-questionnaire from 444 users/members of a well-known FMCG company's informational website. Results, based on Structured Equation Modelling, indicate that users perceive functional, social and special treatment benefits. Functional benefits have the strongest effect on relational outcomes followed by relational costs and social benefits. Special treatment benefits have no significant effect on behavioural outcomes. From a managerial perspective, findings provide initial evidence on how the development of informational websites can be used as a relationship-building tool.

Keywords: relational benefits; relational costs; consumer-brand relationships; relationship marketing; relationship building; online brand communities; informational websites.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2018.090951

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2018 Vol.12 No.2, pp.122 - 137

Received: 13 Dec 2016
Accepted: 21 Jun 2017

Published online: 13 Mar 2018 *

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