Fashion Shopping in Multichannel Retail: The Role of Technology in Enhancing the Customer Experience

Marta Blázquez
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 18, Number 4, Summer 2014, pp. 97-116.

Abstract: The difficulty of translating the in-store experience to the online environment is one of the main reasons why the fashion industry has been slower than other sectors to adopt e commerce. Recently, however, new information technologies (ITs) have enabled consumers to evaluate fashion online, creating an interactive and exciting shopping experience. As a result, clothing has become the fastest-growing online category of goods bought in the United Kingdom. This trend could have serious consequences for brick-and-mortar stores. The aim of this quantitative research is to gain a better understanding of multichannel fashion-shopping experiences, focusing on the role of IT and the crossover effects between channels. In particular, I explore the influence of the level of online experience on the perceptions and motivations of fashion consumers when they buy across multiple channels. The theoretical framework of hedonic and utilitarian shopping values is applied to measure consumers’ shopping experiences and shopping motivations to buy in different channels. The results from a quantitative survey of 439 consumers in the United Kingdom suggest the need to redefine the in-store shopping experience, promoting the use of technology as a way to create an engaging and integrated experience among channels. Retailers must think in all channels holistically, boosting interactive and new technologies for the Internet and taking advantage of all touchpoints with the consumer, including mobile devices and social networks.

Key Words and Phrases: Brick-and-mortar stores, e commerce, e tail, hedonic value, information technologies, multichannel retail, shopping experience, shopping motivations, utilitarian value.