The central problem of this research involves the question of whether e-commerce websites must be standardized or modified in order to attract international customers and in what aspects, if any adaptation is desirable.
To answer this question, we wish to carry out a comprehensive experimental study to measure the impact of cultural adaptation on the effectiveness of transaction-oriented Web sites. We will use a sophisticated and systematic experimental approach, in which Internet users within the EU will be exposed to fictitious websites that will be adapted on several areas and to different levels of different cultural dimensions. The effectiveness of these sites will be measured through an extensive online survey filled in by the subjects. In this way, we can determine what level of cultural adaptation is desirable and on what effectiveness measures the different degrees of localization have an impact. We will also take into account institutional differences between countries within the EU.
Through this study, we hope, (1) to make an important contribution to the standardization / adaptation debate in the wake of recommendations by Taylor (2005) and (2) to meet the need for systematic cross-cultural studies on the effectiveness of website design aspects, which was called for by Cyr (2008).