A Hierarchical Model of Virtual Experience and Its Influences on the Perceived Value and Loyalty of Customers

Bhuminan Piyathasanan, Christine Mathies, Martin Wetzels, Paul G. Patterson, and Ko de Ruyter
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 19, Number 2, Winter 2014-15, pp. 126-158.


Many businesses use virtual experience (VE) to enhance the overall customer experience, though extant research offers little guidance for how to improve consumers’ VE. This study, anchored in activity theory, examines key drivers of VE and its influences on value perceptions and customer loyalty. A hierarchical model indicates that VE comprises second-order variables (i.e., social presence, social capital, flow experience, and situational involvement) and third-order variables (i.e., communal and individual experience). The results obtained from a substantive model further reveal that VE positively influences perceptions of both economic and social value and thus influences loyalty in both the real world and virtual environments.

Key Words and Phrases: Consumer experience, customer loyalty, hierarchical model, perceived customer value, virtual experience, virtual world.