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EMAC conference 2019 : 5 marketing researches you need to know

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The European Marketing Academy Conference (EMAC) is the number 1 marketing conference in Europe for academics. It’s a well attended (more than 1000 visitors) 3-day conference with up to 10 parallel tracks and hundreds of highly challenging presentations.
This year I’ve chosen to present you the results of my 5 preferred research works. I tried to summarize the research as concisely as possible and highlighted the results in bold. In this selection you’ll find results that are relevant for the retail sector (store re-invention and the effects of using a handheld scanner) and others that are more relevant for market researchers (how to measure customer experience, why satisfied customers sometimes see revenge) and digital specialists (the dark side of mobile app adoption).

We hope you’ll find something interesting for you and wish you a fruitful reading.

The dark side of mobile app adoption

This research on mobile app adoption was presented by Pallassana (PK) Kannan from the University of Maryland.
The key research question was the following : what is the impact on a customer’s total spending with a firm after he / she adopts the firm’s app ?

The research was based using data (6 cohorts of 10000 users each) from a a hotel chain in the US. The results show that those who have used the mobile app from this hotel chain actually spent less on the long run with that very hotel chain. 
The reason for this unexpected result was revealed through a user survey which showed that those who adopted the app were also most likely to adopt competitors’ apps. They became thus more sensitive to competitors’ offers, shopped more around, and as a consequence spent less with the hotel chain they downloaded the app of.

Measuring the Customer Experience: Developing a Textual and Graphical Scale

Markus Gahler and his colleagues have been working for many years on the answer to an important question: how to measure customer experience. Based on the work by Lemon and Verhoef (2016) they proposed an extension of the dimensions of customer experience that need to be measured.
They already presented the first part of their research at last year’s EMAC conference in Glasgow. This year, in Hamburg, they presented the last part and confirmed that the scales they have developed to measure customer experience are valid. I wrote scales with a “s” because they indeed developed 2 scales : one based one regular questions and the other one based on images.
Each scale measures customer experience along 6 dimensions : affective, cognitive, physical relational, sensorial and symbolic.
The addition of the symbolic dimension as an element of customer experience is also a contribution by Markus Gahler and his colleagues. The work of Lemon and Verhoef indeed overlooked that dimension. It can be important for certain brands like Tesla for instance, where driving a Tesla appeals to the 5 first dimensions but also conveys a symbolic meaning with regards to the ecological contribution of its owner.

The regular textual scale was also “translated” into an image-based scale that makes administration on mobile devices easier. In 2018 the researchers still had a set of 18 “icons” corresponding to the 18 questions of the customer experience textual scale. This year they showed that they were able to reduce this to 6 icons, one for each of the 6 dimensions.

spillover effects from store re-invention

Presented by Mirja Kroschke (University of Muenster) this research looked at retail store re-invention.
Store re-invention is a radical transformations of a store : an entirely new concept while remaining at the same location. The store re)invention can be of two types :
re-positoinning of store attributes like breadth of choice, depth of choice or pricing changes
re-modeling, i.e. changing the servicescape

Data from a German retailer was used to study the impact of store re-invention on members of the loyalty program (LP) and non-members (customers who had no loyalty card). The analysis was conducted on a 3-year period :

  • 52 weeks before the re-invention of the store
  • 26 weeks construction time
  • 6 weeks closure
  • 83 weeks after re-invention

The results show that :

  • on the short-term store reinvention has a strong negative influence (sales drop) for loyalty program members and a positive influence on non-members
  • on the long-term store reinvention has a strong positive effect for both members and non-members of the loyalty program

Handheld Scanner Shopping: Evidence from the Field

Carl-Philip Ahlbom (Stockholm School of Economics) presented this fascinating research co-authored with Dhruv Grewal (Babson College), Jens Nordfält (University of Bath) and Stephanie M. Noble (University of Tennessee). The research looked at the effects of using a handheld scanner on how (and in particular how much) consumers spend in supermarkets.
5 studies have been carried out in different settings and with different methodologies (real conditions, eye-tracking, lab conditions, etc…) to find out what is going on when consumers use handheld scanners.
Studies 1 and 2 (conducted in real conditions) were particularly interesting. Their conclusions should be of great reassurance for retailers still hesitating to introduce handheld scanning :

  • study 1 concluded on a 48% increase in sales
  • study 2 concluded on a 79% increase in sales

The dark side of customer-brand relationships: Revenge following customer satisfaction

This research was presented by Clemens Hutzinger (Privatuniversität Schloss Seeburg) and looked at how consumers react to service failures. In particular this research investigates why previously satisfied customers seek revenge after such a failure.
The results establish that there are two types of complainants :
those with a low pre-care desire (also characterized by a low commitment to the brand)
those with a high pre-case desire (high commitment to the brand)

The results show that committed complainants are more likely to attribute the blame to the company after webcare satisfaction. It’s a little bit like a love – hate story. The more you are committed to a brand, the more likely you are to be disappointed and to seek revenge if something wrong happens in the relationship.

Image : courtesy Shutterstock

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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