Revisiting the SEC Classification Framework in Traditional and Electronic Commerce

  • Ángel F. Agudo-PeregrinaEmail author
  • Julián Chaparro-Peláez
  • Félix J. Pascual-Miguel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Management and Industrial Engineering book series (LNMIE)


The recent growth of e-commerce sales has its cause not only on the increase of products sold, but also on the incorporation of new products which were previously not selling well on the online channel. An outstanding example of these products in Spain is clothing, which has rocketed from a marginal position in online sales to the fifth place of the top selling products over the Internet. This is an interesting case because clothing has conventionally been classified as an Experience product within the SEC (Search, Experience, Credence) classification framework, which proposes product segmentation based on the ability of consumers to identify the characteristics and attributes of the products before and after their purchase and use. This situation raises the question whether the SEC classification is still valid today and if there are changes in consumer perceptions about which segment the different products are categorized into. In order to answer these questions, a selection of 26 products was made by e-commerce experts; then, 204 undergraduate and graduate students were asked to classify those products within the SEC framework, and to declare their purchase intentions and actual shopping behavior for each product, both in the online and traditional channel. The findings from this study suggest that the SEC classification is still valid in electronic commerce but not in traditional retail stores. Moreover, the study detected actual changes in the customer perceptions of the nature of some products within the SEC classification.


E-commerce Product Segmentation Search Experience Credence Intention Shopping behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ángel F. Agudo-Peregrina
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julián Chaparro-Peláez
    • 1
  • Félix J. Pascual-Miguel
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería de Organización, Administración de Empresas y EstadísticaUniversidad Politécnica de Madrid AvMadridSpain

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