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How website browsing impacts expectations of store features

Philippine Loupiac (Université Paris Dauphine – PSL, Paris, France)
Alain Goudey (NEOMA Business School, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 14 October 2019

Issue publication date: 14 January 2020




E-commerce has become a key component of brand retail strategies since the advent of omni-channel distributions. Many researchers have investigated the strategic role of e-commerce, and some recent articles show the importance of exploring the impact of this distribution model on consumer behaviour. However, there is no study focusing on how visits to a website create expectations of the shop. Relying on the expectancy-value theory and the omni-channel literature, the purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by focusing on how the digital channel can create expectations for the physical channel.


This study is based on 24 semi-directive interviews with consumers, and all interviews included a browsing session on a real website. The methodology consists of both a thematic analysis of the interviews and a lexicographic analysis of the verbatim.


The findings reveal that direct online experience on a website will create beliefs about the physical stores of the same brand. These beliefs will, in turn, influence consumer attitudes towards the store. The study is the first to highlight such a link between channels and to explain in detail how this relationship arises.


The main contribution of this work includes showing the existence of a strong link between web-based and physical retail. From a managerial perspective, the study suggests that, from an omni-channel perspective, the design of the website impacts expectations towards the physical store in terms of its atmosphere, its location, its merchandising and even its level of crowding.



Loupiac, P. and Goudey, A. (2020), "How website browsing impacts expectations of store features", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 92-108.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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