Typologies of e-commerce retail failures and recovery strategies

Lukas P. Forbes, Scott W. Kelley, K. Douglas Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Purpose - The authors propose focusing on e-commerce service failure and recovery through the presentation of failure and recovery strategies employed by e-commerce service firms. Design/methodology/approach - The authors employ the critical incident technique using 377 customer responses to present ten e-tail failures and 11 e-tail recovery strategies used by e-commerce service firms. The authors also present data on post-recovery satisfaction levels and propensity to switch behavior. Findings - Findings indicate that; e-tail customers experience different types of service failure relative to traditional retail settings; e-tail firms employ a different series of recovery strategies relative to traditional retail settings; and post-recovery switching by e-tail customers can be high even with satisfying experiences. Originality/value - This paper strengthens the existing failure and recovery literature by presenting data on the largest growing sector of the service industry. These findings will have value to traditional firms looking to expand to e-commerce channels in addition to e-commerce firms currently experiencing customer dissatisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-292
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2005


  • Critical incident technique
  • Electronic commerce
  • Service failures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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