Chronotypes

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Advances in technology have led to a spurt in tech-savvy consumers displaying increasingly complex behavior. In the past, consumers concluded their search and purchases at a single physical store. Nowadays, however, they possess a number of digital
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  Research Article Chronotypes’ Task-Technology Fit for Search and Purchase inOmnichannel Context Syed Waqar Haider , Guijun Zhuang, Hammad bin Azam Hashmi, and Shahid Ali School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China Correspondence should be addressed to Syed Waqar Haider; snow_berg2001@yahoo.com Received 16 August 2018; Revised 17 December 2018; Accepted 7 February 2019; Published 25 March 2019 Academic Editor: Amon RappCopyright © 2019 Syed Waqar Haider et al. is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons AttributionLicense, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the srcinal work isproperly cited.Advances in technology have led to a spurt in tech-savvy consumers displaying increasingly complex behavior. In the past,consumers concluded their search and purchases at a single physical store. Nowadays, however, they possess a number of digitaldevices (desktops and/or mobiles) through which they can switch channels seamlessly to search for information and make apurchase. ere are very few studies that investigate desktop and mobile channels separately; this is perhaps the first study thatexamines the effect of chronotypes (evening- and morning-type individuals) on a sample of Chinese university students usingonline and mobile channels in the omnichannel process. e results from a sample of 311 digital shoppers (desktops and/ormobiles) confirm that the mobile channel offers greater task-technology fit to evening-type respondents and desktop channelspresent better task-technology fit to morning-type respondents to engage in the omnichannel process. Furthermore, this study discussed contributions and insights for managers to develop an effective omnichannel strategy. 1. Introduction In recent times, consumers’ shopping behavior has beenchanging because they have gone through an evolutionary process, moving from brick and mortar models and mul-tichannel to omnichannel [1]. In this regards, the authorshave examined the shoppers’ behavior across multilevelchannels in terms of channel choice, adoption, and usage[2, 3]. Furthermore, studies have analyzed the important drivers behind channel choice and usage which includechannel attributes, marketing, psychological, and socialfactors [2–4]. However, it has been observed that retailing is shifting from the multichannel approach to omnichannelapproach because of the introduction of advanced onlinechannels and new digital channels like mobile channels.Consequently, there is a growing number of research studieswhich investigate mobile commerce, mobile marketing, andsocial commerce [5–8]. erefore, researchers are now  trying to examine the link of customers’ shopping behaviorwith omnichannel [9]. e omnichannel behavior refers tothe use of both digital and physical channels, offeringconsumers a seamless shopping experience and enablingthem to switch channels almost effortlessly [10]. It providescustomers the freedom to shop anytime and anywhere,thereby eliminating barriers between channels [11]. Now, itis normal for customers to shop by using digital devices. Forexample, in the United States alone, 49% of retail sales takeplace via digital devices (mobile and online) before or duringthe shopping journey [12]. Moreover, the literature focusesprimarily on the choice between offline and online channelsfor different decision-making stages of shopping [1, 13]. But a new form can be seen in omnichannel with the ad- vancement in technology; customers are now using agrowing range of devices for shopping such as tablets, iPads,and smartphones along with computers. Consequently, justas offline and online channels have been segregated, simi-larly, computers and portable devices (primarily tablets andsmartphones) can be separated as they possess evidence-richdifferences in terms of portability, screen size, capacity, easeof use, and personality [14, 15]. ese two categories of  devices also differ in the search and purchase tasks per-formance, as mobiles offer instant, time-saving, location- HindawiMobile Information SystemsVolume 2019, Article ID 8968264, 9 pageshttps://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8968264  based contents and image and voice search capability,whereas desktops offer more detail-oriented information,better evaluation, and richer contents. Taking this change,the research distinguishing shopping behavior on desktop/online (hereinafter both terms used interchangeably) andmobile channels remains sparse. Exceptions include thestudy which is conducted by Holmes et al. [16] in which they explore consumers’ use of mobile channels in the decision-making process and state the differences in the use of online,offline, and mobile channels, proving that preferences inchannel attributes vary between online and mobilecustomers.In this regard, there is task-technology fit theory “TTF”introduced by Goodhue and ompson [17]. e TTF ex-plains optimal choice of technology to perform a task.Moreover, TTF mostly has been investigated from task andtechnology characteristics point of view [18, 19], but how  characteristics of the individual who performs the task effectthis fit has been under explored [20, 21]. So question arises that how customer’s individual differences can influence thechoice between mobile and online omnichannel to performsearch and purchase task? Because it is evident from theliterature that channel attributes (digital or otherwise) shapecustomer’s choice of the channel at different stages of thedecision-making process [22, 23]. Hence, current research attempts to gain insight into omnichannel behavior using adifferent angle, i.e., incorporatingindividuals’ characteristicsand chronotypes (circadian rhythms). e circadian rhythmor chronotype refers to differences in individuals’ sleeppatterns and time management, which have an impact ontheir behavior. e literature has confirmed that differentchronotypes (evening or morning) exhibit different be-haviors and personalities [24]. Morning types prefer to wakeup early and complete the tasks in the morning hours. Buteveningtypesareusedtowakeuplateandprefertocompletetheir activities in the evening hours [25]. Initially, thechronotype construct has been studied in biological [26] andpsychological fields [27]. However, the concept of chro-notype has gained less focus in the field of marketing andbusiness. Exceptions include Hornik and Miniero [28] whoinvestigated chronotypes in relation to waiting time, serviceevaluation, and ad recall performance and Gullo et al. [29]who studied time of the day in relation to variety seekingbehavior. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is thefirst study to investigate chronotypes in the omnichannelcontext. erefore, this study aims at addressing the im-portant question that how chronotype (morning vs eveningtypes) can influence the choice among the mobile and onlinechannels to perform search and purchase tasks in omni-channel shopping process.e main gaps filled by this study are as follows. First,prior studies have focused primarily on multichannelmarketing while there are very few which investigateomnichannel marketing. While most studies deal with theomnichannel process in terms of offline and online channels(PC), this study incorporates mobile channels as well. Incomparison with prior studies, this study examines the twomost significant stages of the decision-making proc-ess—search and purchase [30]. In particular, this work investigates the collective use of digital and offline channels.Second, this study analyzes how personal constructs thatcontribute to consumer behavior shape the way consumersare involvedin theomnichannel process.ird,by analyzingchronotype variable in the omnichannel process, this study provides a deeper understanding of omnichannel consumerbehavior, which will be likely to grab the attention of aca-demicians and businesses alike in future research. Finally,this study explores, how chronotype affect task (search andpurchase)-technology (mobile/desktop) fit in omnichannelprocess.Furthermore, while prior studies regard omnichannelengagement from the perspective of consumers in the West,this study investigates the omnichannel process in theChinese context. According to a reportby Borak [31], 80% of online shoppers are between 18 and 35years old. Accordingto Team [32], in the second quarter of 2017, in China, onlineB2C sales were about US$132.6 billion. As most businessesarestrugglingtodevelopanomnichannelstrategyformobileconsumers, this study will help both academicians andmarketers understand the ever-growing base of omni-channel consumers. 2. Literature Review  2.1. Chronotypes.  Time is the only finite asset that onecannot get more of, regardless of money and status. Hence,there are several disciplines, notablybiology and psychology,which have given much focus on investigating individualdifferences in terms of time and sleep management and theirimpact on behaviors. Circadian typology (chronotype ordiurnal preferences) consists of three styles of chronotypes,morning types or “larks;” evening types or “owls;” andneither type. Owls have a propensity to sleep late and wakeup late; they are more energetic during the evenings andhave uneven sleep-wake schedules. In contrast, the larkshave a tendency to wake up early and like to complete tasksin the morning. Furthermore, many authors have shownthat chronotype has a significant influence on several var-iables like depression, well-being, personality, and academicachievements [33, 34]. ey also exhibit differences in terms of work engagement, educational performance, and so on.Studies have shown that evening types are more addicted tothe Internet, computer game, and mobile phone [35, 36]. According to Bartel et al. [37], engaging in information andcommunications technologies such as the Internet, videogames, laptops, and phones is linked to later bedtimes.Further, owls keep their devices on for a longer time [38]. Allthese attributes are connected to individual differences suchas chronotypes, which could have an influence on consumerbehavior in device choice for search and purchase purpose.In their research, Hornik and Miniero [28] discovered thatsubjects showed a greater ability for ad recall during theirpeakhoursratherthantheiroff-peakhours.Intheirstudyonusers’ behavior on Facebook, Horzum and Demirhan [25]confirmed that chronotypes affect attitude. In sum, chro-notypes have been studied in relation to many technology and personality behavior-related variables, but it has re-ceived less attention in the marketing field. Furthermore, it2 Mobile Information Systems  can be interesting and worthy to investigate the link of chronotypes with task-technology fit in the omnichannelprocess. 2.2. Omnichannel.  In the recent past, shoppers used to visitphysical stores to search for information and make a pur-chase simultaneously. Today, consumers are well equippedwith an ample range of digital devices. ese devices aremultipurpose in nature and enable information searchingand sharing, comparisons betweenproducts, findingthe bestoffers, and making purchases through the preferred channel[39]. Now, offline and online shopping is a common practiceamong consumers. Moreover, as the number of channelsand touch points (mobile devices, mobile and laptop apps,and websites) is growing, marketers are presented withconsiderable challenges to understand consumer behavior insuch a dynamic environment. is new phase of digitalshopping in which consumers use and switch betweendifferent channels seamlessly is called the “omnichannel”process [10, 11]. Omnichannel has been gaining popularity  among researchers, for example Kazancoglu and Aydin [40]have explored consumer behavior and purchase intention inomnichannel, Blom et al. [9] unfolded that how purchasebehavior is shaped by omnichannel based promotion andstudied omnichannel and willingness to pay, Juaneda-Ayensa et al.[11] discovered relationship among technol-ogy acceptance and purchase intention in omnichannelcontext, and Rodr´ıguez-Torrico et al. [41] investigated how personality and individual differences affect the channelchoice of omnichannel shoppers. e omnichannel differsfrom multichannel on the bases of integration of channels,service consistency, and switching ease [1]. e shoppersmay search fora product viatheir mobile phones, compare iton their laptops, evaluate it in the physical store, and finally,makeapurchaseviatheirmobilephone.isbehaviorvariesamong consumers as every individual is unique and has adifferent personality and preference. erefore, this researchtends to disentangle the chronotype and omnichannel re-lation for search and purchase by digital consumers. 2.3.eoreticalUnderpinning.  Goodhueandompson[17]introduced task-technology fit (TTF) theory, which explainsthe optimal choice of technology to perform a task. It hasbeen widely used by a large number of research studiesincluding to explain the location-based services and usermobility [18], online purchase intention [42], and wireless technology adoption [19]. Moreover, it has been mostly investigated from task and technology characteristics pointof view, which implies that task characteristics and tech-nology characteristics determine fitness level between task-technology,buthowthecharacteristicsoftheindividualwhoperforms the task affect this fit has been underexplored [21].e present research shed the light on TTF through thisunderexplored angle in omnichannel context that how in-dividuals’chronotypeaffectthedevicepreferencetoperformsearch and purchase tasks in e-commerce. 3. Research Hypotheses e patterns of mobile usage among evening and morningtypes are different from each other. Demirhan et al. [43]reported that evening types are more technology orientedand they are more prone to mobile phone usage. In contrast,morning types have more focus on traditional media and areless inclined towards the latest technology [44]. Moreover,Bartel et al. [37] showed that individuals who are moreinclined towards mobile usage have late night sleepinghabits. And these habits can be prolonged because emissionsfrom mobile phone can delay the circadian rhythm [45].ese individual differences in terms of mobile usage canalso influence and shape the consumer omnichannel be-havior. It has been examined that benefits offered by mobiledevices in terms of size, mobility, and continuous Internetconnectivity make it an ideal choice for evening-type con-sumers as they can search for information, receive instantproduct recommendations, and make quick purchasesanytime and anywhere [15, 46]. Furthermore, mobile search and purchase tasks performance differ from that of online/desktop, as mobiles offer instant, time-saving, location-based contents and image and voice search capability.Hence, it can be assumed that evening types have moretendency towards the use of mobile channel duringsearching the information of the product and even purchasethe product. Or there is a possibility that evening types havemore tendency towards the use of the mobile channel to getpromotional benefits from the company and perform pur-chase in physical store.e prior studies have determined that evening chro-notypes are more impulsive personalities [47, 48]. And it has been confirmed that impulsivity is associated with thegreater use of smartphones wherein consumers can searchfor information and make purchases immediately [49].Today, the digital shopper carries his/her mobile deviceeverywhere and at all times owing to its portability, andmobile marketing signals are designed to boost impulsepurchases [50]. e tendency for impulse shopping isstimulus-driven and impulse buyers are expected to respondfavorably to these stimuli [51]. Consequently, these stimulienhance the feeling of urgency among consumers, resultingin this channel attracting more evening-type chronotypes.Keeping in view the above theoretical support, it is positivethat H1 . Evening-type chronotypes tend to use more mobilechannels than morning-type chronotypes to engage inthe omnichannel process. H1 o .Evening-typechronotypesdonotusemoremobilechannels than morning-type chronotypes to engage inthe omnichannel process. H2 . Evening-type chronotypes tend to use more mobilechannels than online channels to engage in theomnichannel process. H2 o .Evening-typechronotypesdonotusemoremobilechannels than online channels to engage in theomnichannel process.Mobile Information Systems 3  Furthermore, online omnichannel consumers may leantowards contemplative behaviors. Morning types (larks) aremore thought-guided than evening types (owls) [27] and areexpected to consider the consequences of their behavior[52]. Larks are associated with consciousness [53, 54], which refers to being goal-directed, careful, and less impulsive.Larks tend to be well organized and detailed informationseekers. Moreover, larks rely more on the need for touch toreduce uncertainty and become confident about their judgments. In addition to device attributes (a larger display,high resolution, easy interface, more capacity, and betterconnection), online channels offer greater access to in-formation [55]. Consumers are confident that computersoffer better information and evaluation facilities [56] thansmartphones. Individuals use computers mostly in theiroffices and homes for prolonged periods and display morecontemplative behaviors in making a purchase. Smartphonescreens are too small for consumers to navigate, search, andevaluate information easily and arrive at a decision [15].Realizing that haptic information for morning-type con-sumers can enhance confidence in their judgment [57],online channels offer more detailed information and easiernavigationthanthemobile onetomakethedecision-makingprocess easier. Consequently, morning-type shoppers preferonline channels over mobile channels. erefore, H3 .Morning-type chronotypes tend to usemore onlinechannels than evening-type chronotypes to engage inthe omnichannel process. H3 o . Morning-type chronotypes do not use moreonline channels than evening-type chronotypes toengage in the omnichannel process. H4 .Morning-type chronotypes tend to usemore onlinechannels than mobile channels to engage in theomnichannel process. H4 o . Morning-type chronotypes do not use moreonline channels than mobile channels to engage in theomnichannel process. 4. Methodology  4.1. Sample and Data Collection.  e sample consists of university students from Beijing (Tsinghua University) andthe ancient capital of Xi’an (Xi’an Jiaotong University). esample is based on the argument of Borak [31] that theChinese B2C e-commerce retail industry comprises con-sumers aged 16 to 35 who conduct 85.5% of online shoppingand majority university students are tech-savvy and fallunder this age category. Furthermore, students in the capitalterritory (current and ancient) universities come from al-most all parts of the country. Taobao, JingDong (JD), and vip.com have over 1 billion monthly active users [31]. Taobao and jd.com are the biggest e-commerce platforms inChina. It is remarkable that in the second quarter of 2017,the online B2C retail market surpassed 860 billion yuan(US$132.4 billion), an increase of 32% compared to thesame time period in 2016 [31]. erefore, university studentswere selected as respondents.e data were collected through a survey from 30 th Oct2017 to 1 st Feb 2018 using the convenience sampling methodas sample was easily accessible in university premises. In thebeginning, the questionnaire was translated into Chinese withthe help of a Chinese-English linguistic expert and sub-sequently distributed to 17 students and three professors fortheir feedback and recommendations. Necessary changeswere made before distributing it to the actual sample. A totalof 505 online questionnaires were distributed via WeChat(WeChat is a Chinese multipurpose social app with an activeuser base of over 1 billion in 2018 and is considered the appfor all types of communication because of its wide range of functions and platforms; besides social connections, it can beused for payments, shopping, educational purposes, and soon.)QRcode,ofwhich410 werereturnedand311 werefoundappropriate for further analysis. After scanning the QR code,respondents were directed to the questionnaire which waslinked with “wjx.cn” database, a data collection service widely used in China for research purposes. e questionnaires’ QR code were distributed till 15 th of January 2018 and to makesure that respondents have ample time to scan and respond toQR code, the link to online questionnaire remained active till1 st February 2018.A5-yuanredpacket (moneygiftedthroughaWeChattransfer)wasgiventotherespondentstoencouragethem to complete the survey. It is noteworthy that re-spondents could submit the questionnaire and receive acoupon from any given IP address only once. is helped usto reduce respondents’ bias. 4.2. Operationalization of Variables.  In the first part of thesurvey, respondents were asked about their e-commerceplatform and experience in using these platforms in years,age, gender, and education level. e second part of thesurvey comprises the chronotype and omnichannel process.ese variables were adopted from the literature and all of them are reliable according to prior studies. To measure thechronotype, the composite scale of morningness (CSM) wasadopted with typologies (morning, evening, neither) basedon the 10 th and 90 th percentiles [58, 59]. e scale has 13 Likertscaleitems(with3itemson5-pointand10itemson4-point scale) with minimum score of 13 to 55 maximum. ecutoff points for CSM scores in our study were 28 and 38,respectively. While scores lower than 28 denote more eve-ningness, scores higher than 38 denote more morningness.e dependent variable of our study is the omnichannelprocess adopted from [41]. e omnichannel process hasfour items, namely, mobile omnichannel process (a: searchoffline and purchase mobile; b: search mobile and purchaseoffline) and online omnichannel process (c: search offlineand purchase online; d: search online and purchase offline)ranked on 5 point Likert scale (1 strongly disagree to 5:strongly agree), that show how consumers engage inomnichannel behavior. 5. Data Analysis and Results Table 1 presents respondents’ profile information. esample is almost equally divided into male and female, and4 Mobile Information Systems  the majority are bachelors’ and masters’ students using bothe-commerce platforms (Taobao and Jingdong).e separate confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is doneto determine the factor structure of chronotype scale andomnichannel scale. e results related to CFA of chronotypescale show that model has good fit with  χ  2 / df  � 2.03 (  χ  2 / df  < 3), RMSEA � 0.058 (RMSEA < 0.08), CFI � 0.936(CFI > 0.90), and NNFI � 0.919 (NNFI > 0.90). e factorloadings range between 0.428 and 0.642. e value of Cronbach alpha is 0.799. ese findings show that reliability and validity of chronotype scale are ensured. Moreover,results related to CFA of omnichannel scale show that modelhas good fit with  χ  2 / df  � 2.11 (  χ  2 / df  < 3), RMSEA � 0.060(RMSEA < 0.08), CFI � 0.95 (CFI > 0.90), and NNFI � 0.91(NNFI > 0.90). e factor loadings range between 0.538 and0.704. e value of Cronbach alpha is 0.718. Hence, re-liability and validity of omnichannel scale are also satisfied.In order to test study hypotheses, univariate analysis isconducted with the help of SPSS 20. For that purpose, the variable of chronotype is characterized into two groups(evening type and morning type) based on cutoff scores [58].According to 10th and 90th percentiles, evening type ac-counts for 40.24% ( n � 165), neither accounts for 24.14%( n � 99), and morning type accounts for 35.62% ( n � 146).Furthermore, independent sample  t  -test is employed toanalyze the mean differences among the groups. Resultsshow that the mean value of evening type is 2.84 which issignificantly different from the mean value of morning type(3.77) with ( t  > 2,  p < 0 . 05). After determination of meandifferences among the morning and evening groups, thesefactors are tested with dependent variables of the study.Tables 2 and 3 show that evening types are more frequent in using mobile channels (mean � 3.95, SD � 0.56) as comparedto morning types (mean � 2.71, SD � 0.78) ( F  > 5,  p < 0 . 05),hence confirming  H1  and rejecting  H1 o .Furthermore,Tables4and5showthatmorningtypesare more frequent in using online channels (mean � 3.85,SD � 0.61) as compared to evening types (mean � 2.97,SD � 0.87) ( F  > 5,  p < 0 . 05), hence confirming  H3  andrejecting  H3 o .Pairwise comparison (Table 6) shows that the mean value of evening types is greater in the mobile omnichannelprocess as compared to morning types (mean differ-ence � 1.23,  p < 0 . 05) and lesser in the online omnichannelprocess as compared to morning types (meandifference � − 0.874,  p < 0 . 05), hence confirming  H2  andrejecting  H2 o . Moreover, pairwise comparison table revealsthat mean value of morning types is greater in onlineomnichannel process as compared to evening types (meandifference � 0.874,  p < 0 . 05) and lesser in mobile omni-channel process as compared to evening types (meandifferences � − 1.23,  p < 0 . 05), hence confirming  H4  andrejecting  H4 o .Finally, a summary of hypotheses is given in Table 7. 6. Discussion Currently, tech-savvy consumers possess a number of digitaldevices, notably mobiles and computers to make purchasedecisions, which allows them more control and access to theever-growing electronic commerce world. ey use digitaldevices to collect and disseminate information at every stageof the purchase cycle. is study has incorporated in-teresting variable chronotype, which denotes individualdifferences based on their sleep-wake cycle. e results show that evening-type chronotypes tend to use mobile channelmore as compared to morning-type chronotypes duringomnichannel process. Similar findings are given in [41],which reported that buyers who are high in impulsivity prefer mobile omnichannel as compared to those who arelow in impulsivity. And it has been shown that evening typesare impulsive in nature. Moreover, research studies show that evening types are more technology oriented andaddicted to mobile phone, Internet, and computer games.Furthermore, search and purchase tasks differ from eachother on mobiles and desktops, as mobile offers instant,time-saving, location-based, customized contents and imageand voice search capability which offer greater task-technology fit for evening-type consumers. e secondfindings determine that morning types tend to use online ordesktop omnichannel more as compared to evening types.Previous research studies suggest that morning types havemore focus on detail information and are less risk takers[25, 27, 43]. erefore, they may choose desktop channels as best source to make buying decisions. is research con-tributes to the literature in several ways. First, chronotypesare relevant to consumer behavior and have been analyzedfor the first time in the omnichannel context. Second, these variables affect channel usage in the omnichannel process atthe search and purchase stages and determine channelpreference. e findings provide the foundation to concludethat evening types prefer mobile devices and morning typesprefer online channels in the omnichannel process. esefindings confirm that individual characteristics influence thetask-technology fit. e benefits offered by mobile devices interms of size, mobility, and continuous Internet connectivity make it an ideal choice for evening-type consumers, as they  Table  1: Respondents’ profile.Demographics Characteristics Frequency percentage (%)Gender Male 48.23Female 51.77Age in years18–23 45.9824–29 28.9430–35 11.5836 and above 13.5Educational levelUndergraduate 48.55Masters’degree 37.94PhD 13.5E-commerce platformTaobao 28.62Jingdong 5.79Both 65.59Experience in using e-commerce platforms1 year 92 years 12.86Above 2years 78.14 Mobile Information Systems 5
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