Customer-to-noncustomer interactions: Extending the 'social' dimension of the store environment

Sean Sands, Elly Harper, Carla Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Retailers find themselves in a state of constant evolution and transformation. In recent years, the Internet has changed many aspects of the industry, from the way products are distributed to how retailers connect with consumers. More recently, social media has been changing the way retailers engage with consumers (and vice versa), and today, affords the ability for retailers to implement social media within the store, for instance allowing customers to solicit opinions on product choices from their peer group beyond store boundaries (i.e. customer-to-noncustomer interactions). We propose these customer-to-noncustomer interactions are a third dimension of the store environmenta??s social characteristics (as defined by Baker, 1986), which traditionally encompassed customer-to-customer and customer-to-staff interactions. Through two phases of research, we investigate how stores that allow customers to engage with their peers in this manner, impacts on store choice and value perceptions. We present findings from a discrete choice experiment and an experimental shopping scenario, and also vary the type of platform (self-service kiosk or smart-phone application) of social media delivery. We find that this form of interactive social media can be successfully employed within the store environment to encourage store choice and influence consumer perceptions of the shopping experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438 - 447
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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