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Lonely consumers and their friend the retail salesperson

Cindy B. Rippé, Brent Smith and Alan J. Dubinsky

Journal of Business Research, 2018, vol. 92, issue C, 131-141

Abstract: Store-based retailers face constant challenges in trying to lure shoppers, extend shopping visits, and convert patrons. With shopping options galore (e.g., native online sellers, mobile commerce, automatic replenishment), experts might inquire whether store-based retailers still offer enough value for today's consumers. Some stores have found success through format diversification, self-checkout, in-store pickup, and so on. In this study, we assert that store-based retailers could find success via in-store salespersons capable of satisfying the social needs of consumers experiencing loneliness. Despite purported “connections” to friends, followers, and devices, consumers of all demographics feel undesirable shortcomings in their personal relationships. Delving into this largely unexplored area, we find that two varieties of loneliness—social and emotional—influence the degree to which consumers use in-store sales personnel for social interaction. We also ascertain that consumers' predisposition to comply with salesperson input affects their trust in the salesperson, purchase intention, and retail store patronage.

Keywords: Consumer loneliness; Retail salesperson; Adaptive selling; Shopping as a social experience; PLS-SEM (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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