To Forgive But Never Forget : A qualitative study of why customers choose to return to companies within the fast fashion industry they have previously boycotted due to a scandal
Sammanfattning: With the growing role of social media in society today, a more accessible dissemination of information between customers through eWOM is also growing. Especially the negative eWOM can have a huge impact on customers and get devastating results. Scandals in the fast fashion industry are getting more and more attention, which has contributed to consumers boycotting companies. It is still a relatively unexplored area where researchers mainly have been looking at boycott motivations. These purposes can be both social and ethical and customers can take different measures to show that he or she is against the scandal. It is common today that a scandal gets a lot of attention during a limited period of time where the customer chooses to participate in a boycott for a while and then returns to the company. Based on this research gap, the research question was further formulated as to; Why do customers choose to return to companies within the fast fashion industry they have previously boycotted due to a scandal? The study focuses on customers who have been loyal to fast fashion companies and where they have been active in a boycott and then returned. The main purpose of this thesis is to gain a deeper understanding of why boycotting consumers choose to go back to fast fashion retail companies that they have boycotted previously. Based on this, the interviews explored factors in relation to customer loyalty and eWOM that affect customers' view and perception of the company. By conducting this study and examining factors by using a qualitative approach, customer loyalty and eWOM's impact on customers' propensity to repurchase were examined, considering the theoretical framework. The theoretical framework included customer loyalty, boycott and motivations for boycott as well as social media and more specifically eWOM. Based on the framework, eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with people who participated in a boycott and then returned to companies. Furthermore, the empirical data was analysed by using the theoretical framework based on a thematic analysis. The analysis resulted in findings that customers are affected by negative eWOM and a high exposure of information which then decreases, which leads to customers forgetting the scandal and no longer associating the company with a negative feeling.
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