Touching the void: Exploring consumer perspectives on touch-enabling technologies in online retailing

Helena Van Kerrebroeck, Kim Willems, Malaika Brengman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)
202 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose. A major factor hampering the continuing and explosive rise of e-commerce, particularly for experience goods, is the lack of tactile information that could help to reduce uncertainty in consumer purchase decision making online.
Methodology. By means of consumer focus groups we identify the specific touch-related properties worthwhile to enable in online retailing and the type of customer value that can be provided, as well as the drivers and barriers in consumer acceptance towards touch-enabling technologies for online shopping, taking into consideration two specific touch enabling technologies.
Findings. The study reveals that touch-enabling technologies can provide utilitarian and hedonic value to consumers, mainly at the pre-purchase stages in the path-to-purchase. Valuable applications conceived by consumers primarily pertain to offering information on material and geometric product properties. Hurdles in consumer adoption seem the need of a dedicated output device such as a glove.
Research limitations/implications. As this study is exploratory in nature due to the early development stage of the new technologies under investigation, the findings should be validated in the future when these technologies get introduced for online marketing purposes.
Practical implications. This study aims to raise awareness among online retailers of marketing opportunities comprised in touch-enabling technology.
Originality. We provide an outlook with regards to future consumer acceptance of touch-enabling technologies in online shopping and how and when such technologies can provide consumer value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-909
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Retail & Distribution Management
Volume45
Issue number7/8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Consumer research
  • Focus groups
  • Haptic information
  • Online retailing
  • Sensory-enabling technology
  • The sense of touch

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