A Framework for the Quality Evaluation of B2C M-Commerce Services

A Framework for the Quality Evaluation of B2C M-Commerce Services

John Garofalakis (University of Patras, Greece), Antonia Stefani (University of Patras, Greece) and Vassilios Stefanis (University of Patras, Greece)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/jhcr.2011070105
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Business to consumer m-commerce services are here to stay. Their specifics, as software artifacts, indicate that they are primarily and most importantly user-driven; as such user perceived quality assessment should be an integral part of their design process. Mobile design processes still lack a formal and systematic quality control method. This paper explores m-commerce quality attributes using the external quality characteristics of the ISO9126 software quality standard. The goal is to provide a quality map of a B2C m-commerce system in order to facilitate more accurate and detailed quality evaluation. The result is a new evaluation framework based on decomposition of m-commerce services to three distinct user-software interaction patterns and mapping to ISO9126 quality characteristics.
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Mobile services are now a reality that are seamlessly and cost-effectively experienced by a large corpus of users. The migration of services from the WWW to the mobile arena was spearheaded by e-commerce vendors which took the opportunity of using a new medium to promote their goods. There is an enthusiasm in business, academia and users for mobile services, and this enthusiasm is the impetus for not only the research of the novel but for the adaptation of the old (Jahns, 2009; Bouwman et al., 2008; Büyüközkan, 2009).

E-commerce, in the form of Business to Consumer transactions is one of the primary business successes of the WWW. It is only natural that enterprises sought to increase their market share by moving to the mobile Web as well. Mobile-commerce (m-commerce) systems are developed at an increasing rate in recent years. As a business process, m-commerce is viewed as particular type of e-commerce (Coursaris, 2002) and refers to transaction with monetary value that is conducted via a mobile network. When users conduct m-commerce such as e-banking or purchase products, they do not need to use a personal computer system. Indeed, they can simply use some mobile handheld devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) and mobile phones to conduct various e-commerce activities. In the past, these mobile devices or technologies were regarded as a kind of luxury for individuals. However, this situation has changed. Technology has driven the growth of the mobile services industry thus creating a new opportunity for the growth of m-commerce (Ngai, 2007; Huang et al., 2007; Gunasekaran & McGaughey, 2009). Location-based services are also attracting the attention of the business world (Junglas, 2007).

Focusing on B2C services (Business to Consumer services), this uniqueness is both a blessing and a curse. Being user-intensive, it is absolutely imperative that the software satisfies mobile user needs; mobile commerce user needs are, in many perspectives different than Internet-based e-commerce user needs mainly because the access medium is different. Thus, the quality of the software itself, which is the satisfaction of implied and non-implied user needs, is of primary importance. To date, most research efforts focus on Quality of Service that deals mostly with low-level network attributes (Ghinea & Angelides, 2004; Lu et al., 2009). The literature also includes an ever-increasing number of research efforts that analyze specific technical (Chen & Nath, 2008), socio-economic (Li & McQueen, 2008) and cultural (Dai & Palvi, 2009; Constantiou et al., 2009) issues involved in m-commerce adoption and use.

The research on the quality of B2C m-commerce systems is a new and challenging task; especially the quality of mobile commerce systems as it is perceived by the end-user is only now becoming a research issue. However, providers of mobile services and mobile hardware have always paid attention to ergonomics and usability. Google’s Android platform (http://www.android.com) is an approach that aims to attract the novice user and actually increase the total target group of advanced mobile services by creating new users. Usability is not the only dimension of software quality. According to ISO standards, many dimensions to software quality need to be satisfied. A user perspective, rather than a developer perspective, of quality is important (Hong et al., 2008).

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