Holistic hybrid (Omni-channel) approach to retailing and customer experience: A review, conceptual framework and future research directions
The manner in which customers shop is evolving and there has been an increase in customers shopping online and in physical shops using a multi-channel approach (Hsiao, Yen & Li, 2012). Customers now shop using mobile phones, tablets and have access to shopping sources 24 hours a day. Multi-channel shopping is where customers use multiple channels such as online, in-store, catalogues or mobile devices to purchase products or services (Zhang et al., 2010). Research has shown that multi-channel strategies enhance customer’s satisfaction and retailer loyalty (Wallace, Giese & Johnson 2004). With the advances of technology and the internet there has been an increase in customers shopping online. More than 80% of US retailers sell merchandise through multi-channels and 94% of the “winners” (best financial performance) are multi-channel retailers (Zhang et al., 2010). Multi-channel retailing generates more sales and profit compared to a single-channel approach (Kim, Park & Pookulangara, 2005). Retailers use multi-channel approaches to engage with customers and can maximise profit compared to a single-channel approach. Where customers shop across multiple product categories they are more likely to shop via multi-channels and more likely to migrate to a new channel (Kumar & Venkatesan, 2005). However having a multi-channel strategy does not automatically mean an integrated marketing approach. Retailers can face channel conflict and difficulties in integrating processes (Kim, Park & Pookulangara, 2005). There is a distinction between multiple channels and channel integration (Friedman & Furey, 2003). There is a growing priority to improve customer experience in both academic literature and by retail managers, as the emphasis on experience is more prominent and is gradually replacing service quality (Grewal, Levy & Kumar, 2009; Klaus & Maklan, 2013; Verhoef et al., 2009). With a more customer centric focus there is an emphasis on the company-customer interaction across multiple channels (Klaus & Maklan, 2013). The multi-channel approach is used with the aim to attract and retain new customers through sustaining and meeting various expectations through these channels, i.e. customers will have different expectations and demands when shopping online vs. in-store. In addition, customers will also have a different expectation when combining a multi-channel shopping experience (Shainesh, 2012). However there is a lack of empirical research on the effect of customer satisfaction between multi-channel performances (Birgelen, Jong & Ruyter, 2006). There is lack of academic research on what the effect of an Omni-channel approach has on customer experience. The importance of what effect a holistic hybrid approach could have on a customer’s satisfaction and how this approach could affect important outcomes such as build loyalty and satisfaction for a retailer needs exploring (Klaus & Maklan, 2013). Due to the lack of academic research on an Omni-channel approach, this research will therefore identify factors from the multi-channel approach that can affect a customer’s experience and investigate how a holistic hybrid (Omni-channel) approach to retailing can improve customer experience.
Citation : Hickman, E (2015). Holistic hybrid (Omni-channel) approach to retailing and customer experience: A review, conceptual framework and future research directions, International Research Symposium on Service Excellence in Management (QUIS14) – Shanghai, China.
Peer Reviewed : Yes