Purpose: This study aims to examine how an organization’s Web-based marketing communication strategies drive feelings of customer gratitude and desired behavioral responses. The study specifically examines how a key cultural characteristic, ethnic identity, works in conjunction with Web quality to influence customers’ gratitude perceptions, thereby driving increases in positive word of mouth, repeat purchase intentions and price tolerance. Design/methodology/approach: A major soccer e-retailer based in the USA collected survey data for the study. The authors examined the direct and indirect effects of Web quality through conditional process analysis. Findings: Study findings indicate that customers’ Web quality and ethnic identity perceptions significantly influence customer gratitude and performance outcomes. Study findings also demonstrate the central mediating role of gratitude on the main and interactive effects of Web quality and ethnic identity. Practical implications: Study findings suggest that online strategies of cultural-adaptation should go beyond integration of native language to include all key dimensions of website quality, to drive consumer gratitude and ultimately favorable outcomes such as word of mouth, price tolerance and repurchase intentions. Originality/value: This research demonstrates empirical support for the successful deployment of relationship marketing efforts that impact all three dimensions (affect, cognition and behavioral intention) of customer gratitude.