Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

Daniel J. Flint

Committee Members

Ann E. Fairhurst, Charles H. Noble, David W. Schumann

Abstract

Just as technology has influenced nearly every facet of the modern consumer’s life, it is also significantly changing how those consumers shop and how it influences their purchase decisions. Understanding how technology impacts these shoppers within the retail environment is crucial for retail managers who are expected to deploy and manage these sources of continuous change.

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the phenomenon of shoppers experiencing technology in the retail environment. Specifically, our primary goal is to understand how shopper-facing technologies impact shoppers’ experiences and behaviors and subsequently affect outcome variables that matter to retailers. To that end, this dissertation includes two studies, an ethnography and survey, each with specific objectives designed to illuminate an increasingly common, yet under-researched phenomenon.

The first study is an ethnography of shoppers in an office supply retailer context. In this study we explored emergent themes of shopper-facing technology use and how they affected shopper behaviors, perceptions, and strategies. A service channel decision tree was developed to explain the series of technology use decisions that shoppers made as they negotiated the shopping task and a framework of retail technology experience was created to explain the phenomenon, its consequences, the shopper dispositional traits that impact those consequences, and the strategies that shoppers employ as a result.

The second study is a survey of recent shoppers designed to test a model of technology-induced shopper ambivalence. Measures were developed and tested from technology paradox theory to expose how technology engagement and technology readiness are associated with technology-induced shopper ambivalence and how this ambivalence drives surprising changes to hedonic and utilitarian shopping values.

Contributions to theory, managerial implications, and future research opportunities are discussed within each study and a convergence of findings provides insights across both studies.

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