Service quality in multichannel fashion retailing: an exploratory study

Elena Patten, Wilson Ozuem, Kerry Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: Consumer purchasing behaviour has changed substantially in the light of recent developments in E-commerce. So-called “multichannel customers” tend to switch retail channels during the purchasing process. In order to address changing consumer behaviour, multichannel fashion retailing companies must continue to learn how to provide excellent service to such customers. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the interpretation of multichannel service quality by explaining it from the perspective of the so-called “multichannel customers”. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on social influence theory, this paper aims to investigate these issues from the perspective of multichannel customers. In contrast with dualist and objectivist studies, this paper uses a constructivist epistemology and ethnographic methodology. Such an approach is associated with an interpretivist ontological worldview, which postulates the existence of “multiple realities”. The sample size for this research consisted of 34 in-depth interviews and 2 focus groups comprising 10 focus group participants. Findings: The data analysis fundamentally found that multichannel customers tended to continually adjust choices regarding retailer and retail ckhannel when making purchases. The perspective of this paper is different from mainstream positivist service quality research which sees service quality as static, objectively measurable and dualistic. As an alternative, this paper acknowledges service quality as a dynamic, subjective and pluralistic phenomenon. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the interpretation of multichannel service quality with a new concept that explains the phenomenon from the perspective of customers and thus considers it necessary for multichannel retailers to adopt strategies relating to customers’ changing behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number639169
JournalInformation Technology and People
Early online date10 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jan 2020

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