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Recently, enhancing the customer experience (CX), defined as the sum of customers’ perceptions of customer-firm interactions (Court et al., 2009), has been claimed to be top priority for corporate decision makers (Accenture, 2015). With a constantly increasing number of touchpoints between service provider and customers across a multitude of channels, exploring (scholars) and managing (practitioners) the service experience has become more and more complex. Consequently, the Marketing Science Institute names CX one of the major research challenges for the next years and identifies two research areas to be particularly promising: the influence of mobile technologies on consumer decision-making and behavior (MSI, 2016) and the design of an integrated omni-channel, multi-device service experience (2018).
With 35% of all online-transactions worldwide being processed via mobile devices (Accenture, 2016), mobile service environments deserve significant academic attention. But despite scholarly demands to investigate the mobile experience (MSI, 2016+2018; Lemon&Verhoef, 2016), the technology-based service delivery channel has not yet attracted significant academic attention. With most experience-oriented research focusing on retail (Grewal et al., 2009) or online (Rose et al., 2011) experience, it has been McLean and colleagues (2018) who have recently initialized experience research in the mobile area.
We address this newly discovered area of research opportunities by introducing a framework to disentangle the mobile shopping experience (MSX). Our scientific approach is shaped by a mixed-methods, multiple study (I-IV) design. Our conceptual background bases on the two relevant literature streams on customer experience (Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982; Verhoef, 2009; Lemon&Verhoef, 2016) and mobile applications (Pantano&Priporas, 2016; Kim et al., 2017). Supportive literature is drawn from research on online shopping behavior (Novak et al., 2000; Rose et al., 2011) and omni-channel retailing (Verhoef et al., 2015). Our empirical setting is based on an explorative study (I) comprising 29 consumer interviews with mobile shoppers. Profound literature review and qualitative content analysis of the interviews then provide the building blocks of our MSX model. While our model evolves around the “convenience triangle” of accessibility, availability and functionality, consumer characteristics (prior experience, expectations and goals, involvement, trust) and perceptions (perceived risk, control) play a significant role in determining the overall mobile shopping experience. Therefore, our survey-based main study II quantitatively tests the importance of our convenience triangle for the MSX. Experimental studies III (perceived risk on experience) and IV (trust on experience) reflect the impact of manifestations of consumer concern on the service delivery experience through mobile applications. Ultimately, our findings help decoding the complex network of determinants affecting the MSX and thereby address the contemporary demand of research on technology-based service as well as on customer experience. We end our paper with a discussion of our main contributions and comment on implications for academics and practitioners alike.