Manifested Consumption: Mobile Storefront

Manifested Consumption: Mobile Storefront

Wilson Ozuem (Regents University, London, UK) and Bibi Nafiisah Mulloo (London Metropolitan University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0239-5.ch013
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Abstract

Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in internet-enabled devices including smartphones which have enabled many tasks to be performed online. One of the major activities taking place on these online platforms is shopping. Indeed, shopping has changed the landscape of consumption from visiting conventional physical shops to consuming products and services in a digital arena. Despite a proliferation of both theoretical and empirical studies on smartphones marketplace, there is still a paucity of studies on how mobile phone devices enhance and facilitate consumption from physical marketplace to online market marketspace. This chapter aims to contribute to extant studies on how smartphones impact on consumption process.
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Introduction

The mobile revolution in the last decade has recreated a new era of an always-connected society which has reshaped the retail industry including the clothing sector in a major way (Euromonitor, 2013). With mobile devices becoming more powerful with their own operating system, this has given rise to a new marketing strategy enabling companies to connect to their consumers on the go and on a 24 hours basis (Emarketer, 2013). This new phenomenon has impacted on the purchasing behaviour on consumers in the clothing sector as well who are increasingly adopting this new shopping medium. This emerging and ongoing trend has resulted in all major clothing retailers working to gain online presence in view to enforce a stronger customer relationship and to sustain in the clothing industry which is becoming highly competitive (Keynote, 2009). With the rise of more sophisticated mobile devices namely the smartphones, this new convergence has resulted in powerful consumers who now have their stores in their hands (Abrams, 2013).

The purchasing habits of consumers have undergone a drastic shift from the traditional physical shopping on high streets to home shopping (Keynote, 2013). The role of salesmen and shopping display is now eclipsed with modern ways of shopping using technology. Research by Euromonitor (2013) identified consumers who more increasingly favour seeking shopping informations on their smartphones rather than consulting salesperson or relying on adverts. The use of the smartphones is thus not limited to buying online but rather it is that device which accompanies the consumers in their shopping experience such as browsing for products information, product reviews, price comparison, consulting friends and families prior to shopping or simply buying online. “This unique ability has transformed the social and spatial aspects of shopping for many consumers” (Brown et al, 2003). In fact, the ongoing connectivity and exposure to shopping information are resulting in an “always shopping state of mind” (Babbitts, 2013). If the art of mobile marketing is effectively and efficiently mastered by retailers, this can lead to strong positioning in their respective market. Although, this new marketing trend has had a strong influence in different retail sectors, a survey carried out by Emarketer (2013) showed that consumers in the apparel sector still favour physical purchase or buying via the PC rather than smartphones when buying online. The main hindrance to buying via smartphones is usually the result of a non-user friendly mobile site (Emarketer, 2013).The answer to successful retailing via smartphones relies in a strong technique and applications of mobile commerce (Branki et al, 2008). Despite consumers in the clothing and apparel sector showing a preference to shop or buy in physical shops, consumers being “creatures of conveniences” are billions to reach first for their phones when they think about shopping (Boyle, 2013). Much is assumed about the supposed effects of smartphones on the luxury fashion sector, but much research in the field suffers from epistemological and ontological incompatibility and can be interpreted in various conflicting ways. The chapter focuses on the impact of smartphones on consumer buying behaviour, particularly on the UK luxury fashion sector.

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