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The role of physical retail in the digital era

10 Dec 2021

Summary of our research

  • The study suggests that a consumer perceives hedonic shopping value via shopping trip, increasing subjective well-being (SWB) based on an acquired branded product.
  • This effect is likely more significant when shopping via physical retail/mono-brand stores in comparison with shopping via e-retail/multi-brand stores,
  • In the luxury brand case, this effect is likely more significant than in the general brand case.

While digital commerce is expanding under the pandemic, what is the role of physical retail? In this context, this study explores the influence of shopping channels on the hedonic shopping experience, contributing to subjective well-being (SWB) based on the purchased branded product. It also assesses the variations in these effects according to brand luxury. The purpose is to provide strategic suggestions for building luxury apparel distribution tactics that balance maintaining brand luxury with business growth through both physical stores and e-retail.

【Methodology and Implication】
Based on 418 samples collected in Japan, consumers' perceptions of hedonic shopping value and SWB are examined according to two-channel factors, such as physical retail vs. e-retail and mono-brand stores vs. multi-brand stores. Multigroup path analyses reveal that physical mono-brand stores contribute to hedonic shopping value. In addition, this experiential value is found to increase SWB, especially when the brand luxury level is high. These findings suggest that managers should place a high level of importance on consumers' shopping experiences via physical direct retail especially in the case of a higher luxury level, even in today's highly developed digital environment.
The study uniquely discusses the effects of shopping channels and experiences on SWB based on an acquired branded product, that is, an evaluation of the outcome of shopping behavior and product acquisition leading to consumers' next purchase. It also reinforces the importance of physical stores suggested in previous luxury research.

Journal: Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics(Emerald Publishing Group, Indexed in Web of Science(SSCI))
Date: 11 November 2021
Title: Hedonic shopping experience, subjective well-being and brand luxury: a comparative discussion of physical stores and e-retailers
Authors:  Dr. KUMAGAI Ken, Professor at Faculty of Humanities, Law and Economics, Mie University
Dr. NAGASAWA Shin'ya, Professor at Graduate School of Business and Finance (Business School), Waseda University
Note: The study is an activity of the Research Unit for Brand Strategy, Faculty of Humanities, Law and Economics, Mie University

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Researcher information

Photo of KUMAGAI Ken


Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Law and Economics, Mie University

Specialized area:

Marketing, Branding, Consumer Behavior

Current research field:

Sustainable Marketing, Luxury Branding, Brand Strategy of Japanese Enterprise

Photo of NAGASAWA Shinya


Professor, Graduate School of Business and Finance (Business School), Waseda University

Specialized area:

Design & Brand Innovation

Current research field:

Luxury Branding