Service quality in multichannel fashion retailing: an exploratory study

Patten, Elena, Ozuem, Wilson and Howell, Kerry (2020) Service quality in multichannel fashion retailing: an exploratory study. Information Technology & People, 33 (4). pp. 1327-1356. ISSN 0959-3845

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-11-2018-0518

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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Customer typology, Fashion industry, Multichannel retailing, Service quality, Social constructivism, Social influence theory, Thematic analysis
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
G500 Information Systems
N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 14:45
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 14:38
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46129

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