Examining the Channel Choice of Experience-Oriented Customers in Omni-Channel Retailing

Examining the Channel Choice of Experience-Oriented Customers in Omni-Channel Retailing

WenYu Zhao (Shanghai University, Shanghai, China) and Nianqi Deng (Shanghai University, Shanghai, China)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSS.2020010102
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In omni-channel retailing, this article draws on the theory of customer experience to research channel choice when consumers stay at different shopping stages. Through theoretical analysis, the customer experience was divided into three dimensions, functional, emotional, and seamless experience, and channel was divided into online and offline channel. Used survey to collect 266 valid questionnaires, and multiple linear regression and Probit model was employed to test the hypotheses. The results show that product type and shopping stage can influence the consumers' purchase decision and channel choice. For utilitarian products, functional and seamless experience have positive influence on omni-channel usage, and consumers tend to select online channel both in search and purchase stage; for hedonic product, emotional and seamless experience have positive influence on omni-channel usage, and consumers tent to select offline channel both in search and purchase stage. The findings provided some theoretical contributions and practical implications.
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1. Introduction

With the dawn of the mobile channel, tablets, social media, and the integration of these new channels in online and offline retailing, the retail landscape has been changed (Verhoef, Kannan and Inman, 2015). We are now moving from a multi-channel to an omni-channel retailing model (Rigby, 2011). In this environment, compared to the quality or price of goods, consumers are more concerned about high-quality pleasant purchasing experience in the whole process of shopping. Further, research has shown that purchasing experience has a strong impact on consumer evaluations and relative preferences (King and Balasubramanian, 1994). Past research about new retailing put forward that integrating online and offline business and combining with modern logistics factors to promote the rapid transformation of the retail industry (Zhao and Xu, 2017). In the omni-channel retailing, enterprises are required to sell products and provide services through the integration of offline channels, e-commerce channels and mobile e-commerce channels. In this context, enterprises must accurately grasp customer experience demand and cater to consumers’ need at any time, at any place and in any way to gain an advantage in the competition (Zhang et al., 2010). Therefore, these problems have attracted extensive attention in academia, and many researchers discussed and studied the factors including the channel choice, customer experience and consumer shopping stage.

Nikki (2011) believes that omni-channel retail should be “4P”-pick, pack, process, pay seamless integration, and finally achieve “buy anywhere, get anywhere”. Godfrey et al. (2011) believe that enterprises can interact with customers in a variety of ways, and use new tools to observe customer behaviors, so as to continue to innovate and improve retail services. All this is due to the integration of multiple retail channels and the emergence of a large number of new medias. Fulgoni (2014) analyzed the purchase path of consumers under the background of omni-channel, and expounded how the development of digital technology changes the way consumers make purchase decisions. The degree of consumers searching relevant information through the Internet before purchase is shocking.

However, in omni-channel retailing, some problems are highly regarded by marketing practitioners and academic researchers. These problems are, which experiences consumers care mostly during the whole shopping stage, and which channel do consumers select in different shopping stages? At present, the research in this aspect is sparse, thus the current research provided some contribution in this research field.

The structure of this paper is as follows: The second part is a literature review; the third part outlines the research hypotheses; the fourth part gives the empirical results and analysis; and the fifth part provides a conclusion and some implications.

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