Retailing in the Digital Age: Surviving Mobile App Failure: An Abstract
Mobile shopping apps are becoming a major, if not dominant, marketing tool in twenty-first-century shopping experiences. This technology is used, not just to finalize purchases but to access the information needed to compare prices, assess product and service quality, and determine product availability. Apps are driving the strategy of Amazon, as well as retail giants such as COSCO, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, as they replace in-store employees and offer at-home delivery or convenient store pickups (Nassauer and Safdar 2016).
While consumers increasingly use smartphone apps to access the information needed to successfully engage in digital transaction, their ability to successfully navigate this process is not uniformly distributed. Thus, it is important for firms that are increasing their engagement with consumers through digital apps to understand the potential consequences if the information provided is inadequate, inaccurate, or misleading. Given that not all of the information typically accessed by consumers is controlled by the organization, firms using digital apps need strategies to protect themselves from possible negative attributions. One means of buffering suggested by Ariely (2000) is to empower consumers by giving them full control of the information search process. That is, if the consumer can freely search for information, it is suggested that there is less potential of negative attributions.
Thus, the research undertaken has two primary objectives: (1) to establish that the quality (i.e., accuracy) of the information accessed through a digital app has a direct effect on purchase behavior relative to the product that is the object of the information search and (2) to investigate whether control of the information search process moderates the relationship between the information quality and a consumer’s purchase behavior.
The current study confirms the importance of information control by demonstrating that though retailers might see higher levels of repurchase intent when they provide consumers with accurate information (vs. inaccurate), retailers are also susceptible to lower levels of repurchase intent when the information is deemed inaccurate. Given the subjectivity of information, this study provides evidence that by allowing consumers to control the search for information from sources they choose, retailers can reduce the negative effects that inaccurate information has on repurchase intentions.
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