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Web atmospherics as drivers of shopping centres’ customer loyalty

Elisabetta Savelli (Department of Economics, Society and Politics, Universita Degli Studi di Urbino, Urbino, Italy)
Marco Cioppi (Department of Economics, Society and Politics, Universita Degli Studi di Urbino, Urbino, Italy)
Federica Tombari (Data Mining Consultant, Pesaro, Italy)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 20 November 2017

Issue publication date: 22 November 2017

1745

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse whether and how the website atmosphere (WA) of a shopping centre affects the behavioural loyalty of customers towards physical shopping centres. A mediating variable – individual shopper motivation – is considered in assessing this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The research hypotheses were tested using a partial least squares – path modelling approach to structural equation modelling on a sample population of 438 individuals.

Findings

Online atmospherics, particularly concerning the social/relational attributes of the WA, positively affect the behavioural loyalty of customers towards physical shopping centres. Moreover, recreational motivations strengthen this relationship more than functional motivations do.

Research limitations/implications

The sample investigated is limited with regard to diversity, age and gender. Future research can use a more representative sample to improve the findings’ relevance and generalisation. Also the development of a scale of measures for the shopping centre customers’ motivations is worthy of interest in future studies.

Practical implications

Recognising the importance of web atmospherics’ significant impact on customer loyalty should encourage shopping centre managers to develop effective website and online communication programmes.

Originality/value

Extant studies have paid little attention to the relationship between WA and customer loyalty to the physical shopping centre. This study investigates this relationship, combining the online and offline perspective into an overall research approach. Moreover, it contributes to the research on website management in the shopping centre context by providing a comprehensive analysis of WA, whereas previous studies have mainly focussed on one or a few atmospherics.

Keywords

Citation

Savelli, E., Cioppi, M. and Tombari, F. (2017), "Web atmospherics as drivers of shopping centres’ customer loyalty", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 45 No. 11, pp. 1213-1240. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-07-2016-0120

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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