The construction of online shopping experience : a repertory grid approach

Kawaf, Fatema and Tagg, Stephen (2017) The construction of online shopping experience : a repertory grid approach. Computers in Human Behaviour, 72. pp. 222-232. ISSN 0747-5632 (

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This paper advances the theoretical understanding of online customer experience in the context of e-shopping. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of experience, the relevant prior theories and definitions vary. This paper explores what an online shopping experience is as constructed by consumers, using their own words. Adopting Kelly's (1955) personal construct theory (PCT), twenty-three repertory grid interviews were conducted and analysed using multi-coder qualitative content analysis (with an inter-reliability score of 76%). The findings highlight the fluid nature of experience and its construction (emotional, perceptual, situational and behavioural). The variations in meaning explored in otherwise mutually agreed abstractions of what an experience is suggest a need for a strong emphasis on the individualistic dynamic nature of experience, both in theoretical and methodological terms. Accordingly, the paper contributes to theory by adopting a holistic approach that allows a definition of experience from the user's perspective, thus challenging current perspectives on the online shopping experience, and particularly on the emotion, risk perception and situational variables. Key managerial implications for online businesses are provided by highlighting the importance of finding better ways of managing the individualistic experience by focusing on dynamic customer journeys.