This paper uses an autoethnographic account of a shopping experience, where the researcher’s evaluation of fashion brands and specific items is affected significantly by the reactions of other shoppers from similar or diverse socio-economic backgrounds to brands or products. The autoethnography incorporates retold stories from conversations with friends and details similar influences on their own shopping experiences. This work takes into consideration the impact that the passive and unintentional role of other customers may have on the potential consumer’s perception, and how this can work both for and against the product or the brand. The study offers insight into how retail outlets may find it difficult to manage their customers in a strategic manner, and offers insight into the personal shopping experience and the actual and perceived encouragement and discouragement that can impact upon the consumer’s decision-making process.

Research in this area of other customers impacting on the consumer is mostly confined to service delivery, for example, inquiries into how other restaurant users can affect one’s enjoyment of a meal, ambience and the actual delivery of the service. Studies into the way that one’s purchasing decisions are affected within the retail environment are rare; within the area of service provision, however, there are indications that other customers can affect behaviour and attitude (Martin, 1996; Martin and Pranter, 1989; Kim and Lee, 2012).

It is suggested that customers can be affected by others without any personal interaction (Kim and Lee, 2012), and indeed, a low number of individuals claim to have interacted with other customers during purchasing activities (Harris et al, 1995). This notwithstanding, there is evidence that just over half the number of visitors to tourist attractions were impacted by other customers (Grove and Fisk, 1997).

It is becoming increasingly usual for fashion purchases to be made online, but still, there is no substitute for browsing amongst racks of clothing, arranged by brand, style, colour and occasion. Although online consumer behaviour is prone to influence through product endorsement, the research concludes that retail businesses are failing to capitalise on the potential for in-store influence on buyer behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020
Event7th International Conference of Autoethnography: ICAE - Virtual, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jul 202021 Jul 2020
Conference number: 7
http://boomerang-project.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FINAL-Programme-July-19.pdf

Conference

Conference7th International Conference of Autoethnography
Abbreviated titleICAE 2020
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBristol
Period19/07/2021/07/20
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Autoethnography, Consumer Behaviour, Influence, Retail, brands

ID: 4065176