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Session Overview
02-03: Christopher Kaatz
Friday, 19/Jul/2019:
11:00am - 11:25am

Seminar Room 2-3

Chair: Christian Brock

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Customer Experience in Omni-Channel Retailing

Authors: Christian Brock (University of Rostock, Germany), Christopher Kaatz (University of Rostock, Germany), Markus Blut (Aston Business School, United Kingdom), Nhat-Hanh Le (University of Economics, Vietnam)

Customers increasingly use multiple channels for shopping, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, besides traditional brick-and-mortar stores (Kannan et al. 2016). They expect retailers nowadays to provide them an excellent shopping experience when combining different channels during the shopping process. The provision of this experience has become more difficult for retailers. Grewal et al. (2017) stress that digital technologies like smartphones foster the transformation of retailing. Hence, the present study contributes to a better understanding of the antecedents of an excellent customer experience across the different stages of the shopping process. Specifically, the study intends to shed light on the customer’s experience during the entire customer journey, encompassing pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase stages (Lemon and Verhoef, 2016). To address this issue, it uses two approaches including (1) in-depth interviews and (2) customer survey.

First, we employed a qualitative research approach using interviews with 20 retail customers and managers. These interviews show that different channels play a different role during the customer journey. For example, the interviewees stress the importance of the mobile phone in omni-channel retailing. They indicate that they often use smartphones simultaneously while visiting retail stores to collect additional information, making the lines between physical and digital retailing environments blur. This study provides first insights into customers’ use of different channels across the different shopping stages which informed the next study.

Second, we then conducted a quantitative study to assess the role of the mobile device during the customer journey in depth. Using survey data from 302 shoppers, the study finds that customers assess mobile retailers regarding the (1) ubiquity of service, (2) mobile store design, (3) mobile order fulfillment, (4) mobile customer service, and (5) security/privacy of the mobile store. Shoppers were discussed to show different needs depending on the phase of the customer journey. The pre-purchase stage represents the first stage and is characterized by need recognition, search, and consideration. While we assumed that the pre-purchase stage may increase the importance of ubiquity and mobile store design, results of our study do not support these effects. Contrary, our study suggests that customer needs differ for other stages. Further, the results show a positive interaction effect of purchase stage with mobile store design on customer experience, and a negative interaction effect with ubiquity. The last stage includes the product usage, post-purchase engagement, and service requests. The results indicate a positive interaction effect of post-purchase stage with security/privacy on customer experience.

The findings provide retailers insights how to provide customers an excellent shopping experience across multiple channels, and how to particularly integrate the mobile channels into the customer journey.

References available on request.

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