How does the level/type of interactivity in an omni-channel environment affect the attitudes, involvement and engagement of retail shoppers?
Recently, the emergence of innovative technologies and interactive devices has enabled retail shoppers to redefine the retail world. These shoppers are increasingly demanding a seamless shopping experience from retailers that translates across all channels (i.e. the physical store, online store and mobile technologies). This transformation of the retail world is known as omni-channel retailing of which technology is a key component because it facilitates interactivity within this fast paced environment. To date, scant research exists on omni-channel retailing and most importantly there has been no empirical investigation that examines the effect of interactivity on retail shoppers’ attitudes, involvement and engagement. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to fill this apparent gap in the literature and to empirically test the impact of different levels and types of interactivity in an omni-channel retail environment by examining how the interactivity affects the attitudes, involvement and engagement of retail shoppers. By conducting a laboratory experiment where shoppers were exposed to different types of interactivity in the context of fashion retail, this research analyses and discusses the responses of 99 female adult respondents. The results of this study indicate that retail shoppers’ attitudes and engagement can be affected by different levels and types of interactivity in an omni-channel retail environment, however, there was no significant effect found between interactivity and shoppers’ involvement. This study finds that in the omni-channel retail environment, interactivity has a marginally positive effect on shoppers’ attitude although interactivity in an online store elicits a negative effect on attitude. In addition, it was found that interactivity has a minimal effect on retail shopper’s engagement in an omni-channel environment where mobile technology has a moderate level of engagement whereas the physical store has a low level of engagement. This study is particularly useful for retailers as it presents new knowledge about what types of interactivity should and should not be implemented into specific channels of an omni-channel retailing business strategy to evoke certain attitudinal and engagement-related effects with retail shoppers.