IPA Member Research Showcase: Influence and Predictors of Online Sales Prior to and During COVID

The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is proud to showcase thought leadership contributions by its members.

IPA member Joseph Bates completed his Master’s degree in 2020 from National University. His thesis is entitled: Principles of Influence and Internal/External Factors as Predictors of Online Sales Prior to and During COVID-19: A Mixed-Methods Study (link).

Joseph served for 17 years in the United States Marine Corps and is scheduled to retire in 2022. Joseph has been involved in military information operations for more than 10 years. He is currently stationed in Quantico, VA and serves with the Marine Corps Information Operations Center (MCIOC). He is also the 2020 recipient of the Marine Corps Association and Foundation “Operations in the Information Environment Enlisted Marine of the Year Award.”

Here’s the abstract:

Throughout the world, non-seasonal online retail sales have subsided into a downward spiral. However, in the last decade, retail companies have been developing new marketing strategies intended on giving them the edge and appeal to reinvigorate sales as well as regain momentum. This study explored the post-positivism worldview of the effect in which using Principles of Influence coupled with Internal/External human factors can shape marketing strategies, narratives, images, and lines of persuasion to influence the overall increase within retail sales. Additionally, this study employed a mixed-methods design using a One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), a thematic analysis and chi square. The (381) participants completed (22) questions utilizing a Likert format and two open ended qualitative questions. The hypothesis posited that Principles of Influence and Internal/External human factors significantly affect online sales both prior to and during COVID-19. The study explored the relationship between Principles of Influence and Internal/External factors and their influence on a consumer’s online purchases. The results of this study indicate that the association of Principles of Influence and online sales before COVID-19 was moderately significant. However, the association of Principles of Influence and online sales during COVID-19 was found to be not significant. Internal/external factors were found to be not significant before COVID-19 but was significant during COVID-19 (Table 4). Additionally, the interaction between Principles of Influence and Internal/External factors was significant which implies that  internal/External factors had moderated Principles of Influence during COVID. Thematic analysis showed that price 41%, convenience 34%, need 23%, quality 16%, ease of purchase 12%, availability 12%, and time 12% had more of an effect on a consumer’s willingness to conduct a purchase than that of Principles of Influence and Internal/External factors. The themes that populated in thematic analysis were tested statistically to determine a relationship among the themes.

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