Consumer-Brand Engagement With E-Commerce Market Place Brands

Consumer-Brand Engagement With E-Commerce Market Place Brands

Pankaj Kumar Mohanty (Department of Marketing and Strategy, ICFAI Business School (IBS), IFHE University (Deemed), India) and Dipanjan Kumar Dey (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/JECO.2020070102

Abstract

Consumer-brand engagement (CBE) has gained much attention from both the academicians and practitioners. However, despite such scholarly attention, only a few studies have empirically tested the scale of CBE. Moreover, limited attention is paid toward examining the consumer-brand relationships in the e-commerce marketplace context. The study is an empirical investigation of the new ways for examining CBE by testing the impact of consumer advocacy (CA). Furthermore, the study has examined and validated the relationship between consumer involvement (CI) and CBE in the e-commerce marketplace context. The study has further examined the impact of CBE on two outcome variables, viz., positive word-of-mouth (PWOM) and brand usage intention (BUI). A sample size of 408 has been collected randomly from a postgraduate program of a large university located in south India. Various multivariate techniques (Confirmatory Factor Analysis & Path Analysis) have been applied to validate and test the proposed relationships. The results indicate that both CI and CA positively influence CBE. Further, CBE has a positive impact on PWOM and BUI.
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Introduction

In a dynamic and competitive market, firms are susceptible to competition. Hence, the retention of customers for a long period is a challenging task. Therefore, a firm needs to emphasize on the development of a strong consumer-brand relationship. Several researchers have highlighted the importance of such a relationship in building a strong customer base. The domain of consumer-brand relationship has gained much attraction from scholarly viewpoint (Bloemer and Kasper, 1995; Chang and Chiang, 2006; Aggarwal, 2004). Within the broader concept of relationship marketing, a novel concept of consumer engagement has gained increasing attention from the academicians and the practitioners of marketing (MSI, 2014-2016; Hollebeek et al., 2014; Koch, and Dikmen, 2015; Leckie et al., 2016; Islam, Rahman, & Hollebeek, 2018). It is found that highly engaged consumers will develop high level of loyalty (Hollebeek, 2011; Gummerus et al., 2012; France et al., 2016), generate satisfaction (So et al., 2014), create emotional bonding with the brand (Brodie et al., 2013), and spread word-of-mouth (Vivek et al., 2012; So et al., 2016).

However, over the last two decades, the concept of engagement has gained huge attention in the marketing domain (Brodie et al., 2013). Consequently, customer engagement with the brand is reported to have a significant impact on the marketing discipline (Verhoef et al., 2010). Moreover, prestigious institutions such as Marketing Science Institute (MSI) and renowned research outlets such as the Journal of Service Research consider the customer engagement research as their priorities in the current decade.

The e-commerce marketplace brands are operating in technologically complex business environments, which becomes more difficult owing to the shortened attention spans and intense competitiveness among the firms. In the light of such intense competition, it becomes imperative for brands to establish consumer engagement and retention strategies. Surprisingly, there is probably no study that examines the antecedents and consequences of customer-brand engagement (CBE) in the context of e-commerce brands. Moreover, researchers have argued that CBE and its relationship with other related constructs are contextually driven (Brodie et al., 2011; Hollebeek, 2011). Therefore, studies conducted on consumer engagement in different contexts (for e.g. Leckie et al., 2016; Islam et al., 2018) are probably of limited utility for e-commerce brands. Hence, in this study, we empirically examined the antecedents and consequences of CBE in an e-commerce marketplace context.

Moreover, with the extensive use of the internet, the landscape of business is evolving from the bricks and mortar format to an online based platform, where the buyer performs the transaction over the internet. Moreover, with the enhancement in information flow and digital literacy, consumers are more likely to shop online (Akram, Khan, Hui, Tanveer, & Akram, 2018), and they are also becoming more informed about the product or services offered by the firm. They even share their e-commerce brand experiences with others. Researchers too have acknowledged that internet is gradually becoming a platform for consumer engagement (Sawhney et al., 2005; Muniz and Schau, 2005), which leads to different outcomes such as word-of-mouth (Tripathi, 2009, Vivek et al., 2012) and loyalty (Dessart et al., 2015; So et al., 2014). Therefore, the study has considered the e-commerce marketplace as the context for examining the antecedents and outcomes of CBE in the context of e-commerce marketplace brand. Further, the study has extended the previous research work of Hollebeek et al. (2014) and considered advocacy as one of the probable influencing factors of CBE.

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