João Luiz Gilberto De Carvalho
Doctorate – Managing customer experience and integrating offline and online environments: a case study from a supermarket retail perspective
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Geraldo Luciano Toledo
Comission: Profs. Drs. Edson Crescitelli, Rafaela Almeida Cordeiro and Ricardo Zagallo Camargo
Class: 217, FEA-5
Customer experience in the retail sector, whether physical or virtual, gains prominence in the literature and marketing discussions because of its important role in the delineators of shopping behavior, influenced by many factors, including experience itself. The study of the experiential retail characteristics aims at understanding contemporary techniques for creating and managing attractive and striking customer experiences. Delivering positive customer experiences is one of the current challenges of marketing management, whether strategic or operational in scope, providing market differentials. Although the literature has presented seminal theories on customer experience since the 1960s, the issue becomes more relevant when deals are commoditized; companies must submit differentiated value propositions. The objective of this study was to identify how the dimensions of off-line and online environments integration are present in the customer experience in the supermarket retail context. It should be emphasized that the study was carried out from the perspective of the retailer, addressing its managerial implications in a relevant segment of the economy and the customers' daily lives. This perspective involves cultural characteristics, dynamic capabilities, strategic orientations and operational difficulties in integrating the different channels available to clients. Exploratory research was carried out through a qualitative method, with a case study as a research strategy. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, using Schmitt's (2004) customer experience management project model. The case study was carried out in the largest supermarket retailer in Brazil, considering the billing value, with interviews of the marketing director of the Brazilian operation and an operations director of a single hypermarket. After the transcriptions, the data and the specific attributes generated were coded, which enabled content analysis. The results were presented following the coding of the attributes and the steps of the mentioned model. We have found indicators in the literature and empirical research that allowed us to confirm the two initial assumptions of the study: (1) the integration of the physical and virtual channels has led clients to change their behaviors and (2) the retailer must aggregate services to the activities in the physical environment in order to improve consumer experience. We also presented a new construct involving the management of experiences specifically in the supermarket retail. This conception implements the Terblanche (2018) construct and, therefore, is named the expanded construct of customer experience in the supermarket, with an added dimension: the integration of offline and online operations. This new dimension brings the access or knowledge of the customers together in the physical channel of the supermarket, integrating resources, technologies, and characteristics of the digital environment, covering the operations of the channels under the omnichannel conception. The main objectives of this construct are to implement customer experiences at the point of sale and provide a competitive advantage to the retailer. The study presents academic implications and managerial contributions that enabled systematizing of aspects of retail management, considering the management of client experience.
*Abstract provided by the author