Store layout effects on consumer behavior in 3D online stores

Ioannis Krasonikolakis (University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)
Adam Vrechopoulos (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Athanasia Pouloudi (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Sergios Dimitriadis (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 14 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Positioned in the e-retailing field, this study aims to investigate the effect of the retail store’s atmosphere on consumer behavior in 3D online shopping environments, focusing on store layout as a critical influential factor.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses a mixed research method approach that includes two complementary studies. First, a three-round Delphi study with domain experts is used to develop a store layout classification scheme (Study 1), resulting in five distinct types of store layout. Subsequently, 3D online retail stores that use the five layouts are designed and developed. These serve as treatments of a laboratory experimental design, which is used to assess layout impact on a number of attitudinal and behavioral variables (Study 2).

Findings

Five distinct types of store layout have been identified in Study 1, and their distinctive features are presented. The findings of Study 2 indicate that online shopping enjoyment, entertainment and ease of navigation are influenced by the store layout types of 3D online environments. Specifically, the “avant-garde” layout type facilitates the ease of navigation of customers in the store and provides a superior online customer experience. The “warehouse”’ adopts long aisles for the display of products, which simplifies the comparison of products, whereas the “boutique” layout was found to be the best in terms of shopping enjoyment and entertainment. The “department” layout shares many common characteristics with traditional department stores, providing an entertaining and enjoyable store, whereas the “pragmatic” layout emphasizes low system requirements.

Practical implications

The paper presents characteristics that make store layouts effective for different aspects of online customers’ experience and identifies opportunities that 3D online store designers and retailers can explore for the provision of enhanced, customized services to online customers.

Originality/value

This paper examines recent technological developments in store design and visual merchandising. It identifies five layout types of 3D online stores, which are different from those of brick–and–mortar and 2D online stores, and investigates their impact on consumer behavior. Further, the paper examines how each layout type influences online shopping enjoyment, entertainment, ease of navigation, online customer experience and, in turn, purchase and word-of-mouth intentions. Finally, the paper examines the moderating role of telepresence. Individuals with high sense of telepresence conceive 3D environments as “real” and are more concerned about the attributes that trigger the sense of enjoyment they experience while browsing.

Keywords

Citation

Krasonikolakis, I., Vrechopoulos, A., Pouloudi, A. and Dimitriadis, S. (2018), "Store layout effects on consumer behavior in 3D online stores", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52 No. 5/6, pp. 1223-1256. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2015-0183

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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