Has it Pierced or Yet To Pierce? A Critical Analysis of E-Retailing’s Penetration into Rural India using Extended Technology Acceptance [TAM2]

N. Jaysheelan, R. Hariharan, G. P. Dinesh

Abstract

Genesis: Gone are those days when markets were associated with transactions involving physical cash; due to demonetization of high value currency notes India is now witnessing a giant leap of transformation towards digital economy. Cash transactions get replaced by mobile wallets, e-payments, bank transfers, online payments etc. this brings in greater degree of transparency into the system through high degree accountability of transactions.

Cashless economy needs adoption of technology [mobile internet] to proceed smoothly; urban India is positively skewed towards digital economy, but rural India is not well equipped and educated to adopt, use and substitute the physical transaction mechanisms with digital transaction mechanisms.

Major stake holders of rural weekly markets are farmers whose literacy rates and financial status are often scaled below par. Access to smart phone is certainly increasing among rural consumers, but to what extent they are willing to adopt the mobile internet technology as a means for executing financial transactions is a debatable question.

In order to steer the rural consumer’s trajectory towards digital payment mode in rural India, it is important to understand the factors/forces influencing the acceptance of technology among rural consumers, thereby strategies can be devised to sail over the tide of resistance easily.

Approach: A survey was conducted using The Extended Technology Acceptance Model [TAM2] to ascertain the various factors/forces that are responsible for resistance towards acceptance of mobile internet technology as a means for executing their financial transactions, particularly in the rural weekly markets of Ballari district.

Methods: Measurement of the facets of TAM2 such as (intention to use, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, subjective norms, voluntariness, image) was done and subjected to rigorous data processing and analysis using the relevant statistical tools such as, KMO Test, Bartlett’s Test, cronbach’s alpha, Factor Analysis, mean, standard deviation and percentage analysis.

Results: The assessment unearthed the various factors/forces affecting the rural consumer’s intentions towards acceptance of mobile internet technology as a means for executing their financial transactions, among which, safety, security, intangibility aspect, credibility and accessibility of money in electronic form were prominent.

Conclusion/Recommendations: Rural consumers lack necessary equipments [smart phones] and knowledge of usage which act as a major bottleneck blocking the inroads of digital economy in rural markets; along with many factors/forces result in resistance towards adoption of mobile internet technology for executing their financial transactions. Recommendations include all those initiatives that results in acceptance of technology among rural consumers such as, ensuring security, safety, credibility of transactions, accessibility of digital money etc. 

The rest of the paper is maneuvered with following sequence, Part 1: Introduction to the concept of digital economy; Part 2: Review of literature; Part 3: Gap Analysis; Part 4: Objectives of the study; Part 5: Research methodology; Part 6: Data analysis; Part 7: Findings; Part 8:  Conclusion & Recommendations.

Keywords

E-Retailing, Retail Management, Rural Marketing

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