Management Seminars: Charles Dennis (Middlesex University), hosted by the Innovation & Digitalisation Research Theme

4 February 2020, 12.00 PM - 4 February 2020, 1.30 PM

Charles Dennis (Middlesex University)

Location Howard House Seminar room 1.01

Title:  Preferences for smart shopping channels: the interconnections with social inclusion, community, happiness, and well-being


This paper examines consumers’ interactions with retailers via four different shopping channels: (i) the traditional store channel, plus three “smart” (technological) channels comprising (ii) where consumers shop using a computer, (iii) where consumers shop using a mobile phone and (iv) (in a second study) shopping using social media. We investigate how social exclusion affects consumer use of multiple shopping channels and the effects that consumers’ interactions with these channels have on their happiness and wellbeing, with a focus on individuals who perceive themselves as being socially excluded, for example, lacking access to goods, services and information.  The findings from two online surveys (n=1368 and 1220 respectively) in the United States indicate that socially excluded people spend more time shopping by all three channels, with the most significant being the mobile phone. The mobile channel is also more significant for younger respondents and for those who report a mobility/disability issue. Time spent on traditional store shopping and shopping by mobile phone both have significant positive effects on happiness and wellbeing. Shopping by mobile phone significantly ameliorates the negative effects of social exclusion on happiness and wellbeing for consumers with mobility/disability issues. We make a connection between social exclusion and channel contribution to wellbeing for multiple channels, through the lens of the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The findings indicate that for each channel, there is a higher contribution to wellbeing for that channel for people who are more socially excluded. Social exclusion can have many underlying causes, but channel contributions to wellbeing remain for consumers suffering financial stress and also those with mobility disability. For the mobile phone channel, the positive channel contributions to wellbeing are greater for younger than for older people.

The second study focuses on the effect that value co-creation has on consumers’ shopping behaviour as well as on the perceived contribution of a shopping channel to their wellbeing, with a focus on individuals who perceive themselves as being socially excluded, particularly by mobility disability. Social exclusion has a positive statistically significant effect on respondents’ self-connection with all channels; for many socially excluded respondents the shopping channel has an important role in their lives. Self-connection with the channel has a positive effect on value co-creation and there is a positive relationship between value co-creation and the perceived contribution of the channel to wellbeing. When consumers help other individuals in their decision making, they not only create value for the retailer and for other customers but also contribute positively to their own wellbeing. Importantly, for smart shopping channels where consumers use a computer or a mobile phone, the impact of value co-creation on the perceived contribution of these channels to consumer wellbeing are stronger for shoppers with a mobility disability than for those without such a disability.

The paper includes practical implications for retail marketing managers’ and policy makers’ communication strategies.


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