PurposeMobile apps represent an emergent self-service technology that has greatly contributed to the rise of mobile shopping. However, the existing services and marketing literature offer little insight on consumer app usage. Further, little is known about how this app usage might affect important outcomes such as consumers’ intentions to use and recommend an app, their channel preferences (in-store vs app), or their purchasing behavior with the app. Thus, the purpose of this research is to examine if, and how, consumers’ actual experiences using retailers’ apps affected these outcomes.Design/methodology/approachData were collected from a series of online surveys of adult consumers based on their prior experiences with retailers’ apps. The hypothesized relationships were tested using regression analyses.FindingsResults highlight perceived ease of use as a critical app attribute that fosters consumers’ personal connections to apps. These connections in turn influence their purchase channel preferences (app vs in-store) and actual purchasing behavior with the app, as well as their future intentions to purchase with the app and recommend it to others. App usage frequency is shown to moderate these effects.Research limitations/implicationsThe findings provide needed managerial insight into consumer usage of brick-and-click retailers’ apps. Specifically, the results inform service providers’ mobile commerce strategies – particularly with respect to app design, channel management and customer segmentation. Future opportunities exist to explore and compare consumer usage of other types of service providers’ apps, such as “pure play” providers that do not have physical stores.Originality/valueThis research moves beyond initial app adoption to instead focus on consumers’ actual app usage experiences and their implications. Of note, the findings suggest that firms may be paradoxically driving consumers away from their physical stores as they continue to devote considerable resources to creating and providing customers with easy-to-use mobile apps.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 9, 2018
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