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This chapter presents the theories behind consumer behaviour. It will also discuss online consumer behaviour in order to continue with the identification of the influencing factors. The theories of consumer behaviour will be used in order to be able to find consumer segments that will show whom the identified factors affect.

3.1 Introduction

This dissertation aims at finding factors that affect the online consumer’s buying behaviour. By reading literature concerning consumer characteristics and online consumer characteristics we believe to find implications for certain factors that are of importance for the online consumer.
The Internet is a worldwide accessible series of computer networks that transmit data by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol. It is a "network of networks" that consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks, which together carry various information and services, such as electronic mail, file transfer, the interlinked Web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web. Originally the Internet was mainly used by academics, research scientists and students; however that scenario has changed as commercial organizations have moved to incorporate the World Wide Web into their promotional campaigns, and by offering the facility of online purchasing (Jobber & Fahy, 2003). The Internet has evolved into a worldwide accessible marketplace for information exchange and e-commerce. The strategic importance to be available forconsumers on the World Wide Web, with information and services has become particularly relevant to firms.

According to Vesterby and Chabert (2001) the Internet can make it easier for companies to have information about their products or services available to their customers or potential customers. A company can satisfy the consumers’ individual need of…...

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