Digital Customer Experience Matters
Sammanfattning: In today's world, it is essential to understand how customer in-store experiences can be successfully transferred to online environments for international jewelry retailers to master their digital transformation. Further, there is an apparent lack of extensive research about the jewelry retailing industry and its customers in academia despite its prominence in the business world. Therefore, this thesis aims at addressing the mentioned practical issue and the gap in the academic realm by focusing on investigating elements contributing to a highly valued customer experience in the virtual context. Additionally, jewelry buyers are heavily affected by sentiment in their shopping process. Thus, the Virtual Experiential Marketing framework helps examine the effects of some experiential elements throughout the whole purchasing journey from customer's perceptions. This framework can provide further confirmation on vital criteria for an optimal experience for jewelry shoppers. The thesis adopts an abductive approach, uses a multi-method design, conducts ten in-depth interviews with jewelry consumers globally, applies thematic analysis with complete coding for qualitative data and descriptive statistical calculations for quantitative data. The findings suggest some critical aspects to a highly valued customer experience in online contexts within jewelry retailing. Firstly, since the brand's website acts as a surrogate for the physical store, it needs to be visually appealing, informative, and interactive. Moreover, the online shopping process should be efficient and convenient for an overall satisfying experience for customers. Secondly, the thesis focuses on some specific jewelry brand's online channels to further examine the effect of Virtual Experiential Marketing on customers. The findings yielded a strong consensus on the significance of certain experiential aspects, such as sense (sight), interaction, and pleasure. Flow and community relationships do not have a significant position from a customers' perspectives. Also, the online site is not the preferred shopping channel for jewelry shoppers as the majority still favored the traditional physical store. Generally, this thesis is unique because of its international sample of respondents with various backgrounds and the selected jewelry companies operating globally. Thus, this thesis is useful for scholars, business managers, marketing executives, or others interested in the jewelry industry and e-commerce.
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