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EMAC 2021 Regional Conference

Online Patronage: Primer, Systematic Literature Review, and Conceptualization

Published: September 22, 2021


Benjamin Klink, University of St.Gallen; Thomas Rudolph, University of St. Gallen, Institute of Retail Management


Electronic Commerce; Online Patronage; Systematic Literature Review


The ongoing global pandemic has led to a seismic shift of shopping behavior towards online channels. In this light, understanding consumer choice between online shop alternatives – online patronage - grew even more important. Problematically, due to inconsistent naming and conceptualization of online patronage in the literature, the body of evidence is scattered, confusing, and incommensurable. To address this issue, we use methodological triangulation to identify and synthesize online patronage conceptualizations from the literature. Namely, we employ an analysis of emblematic patronage definitions, a narrative literature review, and an interdisciplinary systematic literature review. On that basis, we offer a primer on patronage in the e-commerce context, argue conceptual distinctiveness from loyalty, propose an online patronage conceptualization, and briefly discuss research opportunities.