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Customer engagement with websites: a transactional retail perspective

Cara Connell (Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Ruth Marciniak (GCU London, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Lindsey I. Carey (Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Julie McColl (Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019




This paper aims to focus on customer engagement (CE) in the underexplored context of transactional retailing websites, providing insight into the drivers, manifestations and dimensionality of the construct. The website is viewed as a collection of environmental stimuli, and focus is placed on identifying the website environmental cues that promote CE.


This focussed study follows an exploratory research design. A total of 22 semi-structured interviews were conducted with one segment group: over-55-year-old female online shoppers in the most commonly purchased product category online, clothing. The stimulus–organism–response model forms the theoretical framework.


The unique findings identify that product-related environmental cues drive CE on a website, suggesting that CE occurs at the level of the product, as opposed to the website.

Research limitations/implications

CE with websites exists beyond the customer–brand dyad, with the website forming the third node in a triadic relationship between customer, brand (at level of the product) and website (at level of the product-related cues).

Practical implications

This study reveals the relationship between website environmental cues and the manifestation of CE, providing managers with insight on how best to drive CE. Confirmation is provided that the website represents a vital touchpoint in the engagement journey of a retail customer.


Websites as a focal object for CE are markedly under-researched. This study empirically supports the relevance of considering CE in this context and reveals the influence online environments have on CE.



Connell, C., Marciniak, R., Carey, L.I. and McColl, J. (2019), "Customer engagement with websites: a transactional retail perspective", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 No. 9, pp. 1882-1904.



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