Investigating the role of market embeddedness in consumer outshopping behavior
This dissertation investigates the role of market embeddedness in explaining consumer outshopping behavior. Consumer outshopping, an issue of serious concern for retailers of all sizes, has in the past been studied with a view to defining the outshopper characteristics and retail variables. In embedded markets, where relationships between buyers and sellers alter market behavior, outshopping behavior may be influenced by this ongoing relationship. This study focuses on such relationships between the retailer and the consumer and its impact on outshopping behavior by the consumer. Using a dual-utility model, the study investigates acquisition (product) and exchange (relationship) utilities and their relationship to outshopping behavior. Five sets of hypotheses are posited based on the two forms of utilities and some aspects of buyer-seller relationships in the marketplace. The hypotheses are tested using two product categories--formal clothes and hair dressing services.
As expected, consumer outshopping is negatively related to exchange utility, the degree of adaptation that a retailer provides, and personalizingness (a personality trait of some shoppers). It is unrelated to the anticipated level of post-sale interaction between the retailer and the consumer for both product categories. Further, consumer outshopping is impacted significantly by the characteristics of the product. The results taken together suggest that in embedded markets, such as those that exist in small towns, outshopping behavior is influenced by ongoing relationships between the retailer and the consumer.