Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address the gap in the literature on experiential elements of online shopping environments. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a theory‐building approach to understand how consumers perceive their experience of the navigation of an online shopping environment and identifies the facets which make up their experiential intensity. The paper first reviews the literature on the experiential attributes of web sites. It then outlines the methodology and explains the use of a “shopping with consumers” approach to uncover consumer perceptions. Findings – Combining think‐alouds with in‐depth interviews, four dimensions of experiential intensity are found (context familiarity, product presence, visual impact and site‐user understanding), and related to four perceptions of a shopping navigation, as: an experience, a tool, an environment, and a dialogue between shopper and web site. Originality/value – This conceptualisation adds to the literature on experience creation, which is critical in delivering consumer value. It is more specific and extensive than extant typologies, clarifies the construct and increases its explanatory power. Think‐alouds and depth interviews are shown to yield valuable insights. Consumer perceptions reflect the expectations they have of shopping environments. When shopping online, consumers think like shoppers, not computer users. They want to feel in a familiar shopping context. They want to examine products closely and seek the sense of personal relationship and involvement induced by site‐user understanding. Marketers need to harness technological developments to respond to these expectations. Practically, the study provides e‐retailers with a framework to assess the current levels of experiential intensity, or initiate the creation of more intense experiences.
Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2006
Keywords: Internet shopping; Electronic commerce; Consumer behaviour
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