Business and Management Research News

Webster Vienna students and Prof. Madlberger investigate omni-channel shopping behavior

This past spring semester, undergraduate Management students and Prof. Dr. Maria Madlberger conducted a study about consumer behavior in one of the latest marketing trends, namely omni-channel business.

Since the emergence of electronic commerce and digital marketing, more and more companies have begun to recognize the importance of offering consumers online channels of distribution and communication in addition to retail stores and classical mass media. Over the course of the last few years, many retailers have opened online shops and become multi-channel retailers this way; however, nowadays consumers expect more than just a choice between physical and online stores. Young consumers, so-called digital natives, are particularly likely to continuously switch between online and offline channels while shopping. They want to have a shopping experience where online and offline marketing stimuli, so-called touchpoints, are seamlessly integrated.

A comprehensive omni-channel marketing experience requires consumers to actively participate. For example, if a retail store wants to offer its customers relevant information online while they are in the store, customers would have to activate their GPS or Bluetooth functions on their smart phones.

Students in Dr. Madlberger’s Marketing Research course investigated variables that influence consumers’ omni-channel shopping behavior and willingness to meet the technical prerequisites for omni-channel marketing activities. The sample was comprised of students residing in Austria who were intensive Internet and mobile phone users. This also allowed for the education level of the sample to be standardized. In the survey, study participants were shown two omni-channel marketing scenarios. Scenario 1 was a cross-channel scenario where an online coupon offered in the retail store can be accessed and redeemed via a mobile phone. Scenario 2 is a same-channel scenario; here, the coupon was redeemable via a mobile phone during a mobile purchase. For the cross-channel scenario, respondents were asked about their intention to activate GPS or Bluetooth to make the coupon work. For the same-channel scenario, they had to indicate their intention to download an app to make the coupon work.

The results show that the acceptance among the surveyed students for both marketing stimuli is high. Almost 55% are at least willing to turn on GPS/Bluetooth to use the coupon in the cross-channel scenario. In the same-channel scenario, around 44% are at least willing to install the app to access the coupon.

In both scenarios, attitude towards the marketing stimulus has a strong and significant impact on behavioral intention. However, factors that influence attitude differ. In the cross-channel scenario, the perceived service performance value, the emotional value, and the perceived brand integration positively influence attitude whereas convenience value does not show a significant impact. In the same-channel scenario, only service performance value and emotional value significantly influence the attitude. The study did not find any significant differences between men and women in respect of attitude and behavioral intention.

The results of the study will be prepared for academic publication.