The challenge for multichannel services: Cross-channel free-riding behavior

Hung Chang Chiu, Yi Ching Hsieh, Jinshyang Roan, Kuan Jen Tseng, Jung Kuei Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


In multichannel environments, consumers can move easily among different channels. They engage in cross-channel free-riding when they use one retailer's channel to obtain information or evaluate products and then switch to another retailer's channel to complete the purchase. Cross-channel free-riding erodes profits and is one of the most important issues that firms face in the multichannel era. The current study focuses on the most popular type of cross-channel free-riding: searching for product information in an online store and then purchasing in another brick-and-mortar store. It explores antecedents that may contribute to consumer switching behaviors through a questionnaire focused on cross-channel free-riding behavior. The empirical results reveal that when consumers perceive more multichannel self-efficacy, they engage in more cross-channel free-riding behavior. Perceived service quality of competitors' offline store and the reduced risk in the brick-and-mortar channel influence the attractiveness of this behavior and increase cross-channel free-riding intentions. By increasing within-firm lock-in levels, firms can reduce consumers' cross-channel free-riding intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-277
Number of pages10
JournalElectronic Commerce Research and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Electronic commerce
  • Free-riding
  • Marketing channels
  • Multichannel
  • Switching behavior


Dive into the research topics of 'The challenge for multichannel services: Cross-channel free-riding behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this