Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Antecedents in Retail Information Sharing Research: The Case for Personal Shopping Values and Consumer Self-Confidence

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Antecedents in Retail Information Sharing Research: The Case for Personal Shopping Values and Consumer Self-Confidence

Article excerpt

Executive Summary

Theory predicts a set of complex relationships among consumer word of mouth communication, consumer self-confidence, and personal shopping value constructs. This study examines these relationships by focusing upon retail information sharing, consumer's personal self-confidence and social self-confidence, and hedonic and utilitarian shopping values. Results suggest the viability of a model of complex direct and indirect antecedent variable effects of personal shopping value and consumer self-confidence constructs upon information sharing behavior. A discussion focuses upon measurement issues, the observed effects, and the implications for retail operations.

Introduction

The marketing discipline's sustained stream of research in the area of word of mouth communication has produced a significant body of literature that has improved our knowledge about this form of personal communication. For example, our current understanding of the significance of word of mouth communication, catalyzed in part by initial studies in personal influence (Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955), emphasizes, among other variables, the inherent social character of numerous forms of personal communication. To be more specific, one's ability to influence the opinion of others emanates in part from one's overall social confidence as well as topic specific knowledge (Flynn, Goldsmith & Eastman, 1996; King & Summers, 1970; Reynolds & Darden, 1971). Similarly, social integration plays a significant role in information seeking and opinion seeking behaviors (Feick & Price, 1987; Higie, Feick & Price, 1987; Mooradian 1996; Reynolds & Darden, 1971).

Such findings not only confirm our understanding of the social nature of word of mouth communication; they generate insight into the design of retail information environments. For example, variations in the nature of the information exchanged, a social outcome, and the goods purchased, a personal preference, indicate that retailers should be attentive to the information needs of their shoppers (Higie et al., 1987). Others have recognized also this interplay between social character and personal requirements in the design of retailing environments. To be more specific, in discussing the hedonic and epistemic nature of shopping, Titus and Everett (1995) recommend that retailers should act upon the personal preferences of shoppers and the possibility of an exchange of shopping information when designing shopping atmospheres. Accordingly, this research extends previous research findings (Paridon, 2004) and focuses upon the causal factors of the shopping environment that lead to word of mouth communication, while simultaneously considering the social and personal traits of the shopper.

Conceptual Development

Building upon a number of studies about the availability of product information, merchandising practices (e.g. Paridon, 1987), and store design, Titus and Everett (1995) proposed the consumer retail search process model. It postulates that the search for product information may be guided by epistemic and hedonic constructual systems. The epistemic system, representing the shopper's system of logic, gives rise to a need for the design of in store information displays and merchandising practices, the sine qua non of the epistemic system. The emotionally laden hedonic system is the sensate orientation that accompanies the shopping experience. The retail search model suggests that the individual and the combined effects of these two constructual systems may lead to an efficient, pleasurable, and satisfying shopping experience.

Mall and store research supports the aforementioned hedonic and epistemic postulates of the model. In a mall study, a sensate environmental factor was causally related to the excitement associated with the shopping trip and a desire to continue shopping (Wakefield & Baker, 1998). In store research, a positive emotional state explained one's satisfaction with the shopping experience (Babin & Darden, 1996). …

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