Customer Avoidance and its Impact on Consumers Shopping Behaviour
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7TH COLLOQUIUM ON EUROPEAN RESEARCH IN RETAILING 2022
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One of the most challenging disadvantages of offline retailing is the occurrence of crowding (Blut and Iyer, 2020). Whereas online retailer are unlimited in the number of customers, brick-and-mortar retailer are constraint in space (Blut and Iyer, 2020; Mehta, 2013). Basically, crowding refers to two different dimensions, human and spatial crowding (Machleit et al., 1994; Mehta, 2013). Research has shown that crowding can have both positive (Machleit et al., 1994) and negative effects on consumers' shopping behaviour (Eroglu et al., 2005; Blut and Iyer, 2020). Every customer has different traits, one loves to be around people and the other tends more to avoid them (Dhaundiyal and Coughlan, 2016). People who are more comfortable being in company than being alone are referred to as sociable (Cheek and Buss, 1981). Those who favour being alone and who have negative feelings such as restraint or unease when they socialise are described as shy (Cheek and Buss, 1981; Jones et al., 1986). Additionally, this avoidance of social contact increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021 approximately 70% of in-store shopper stated, that they change their planned shopping behaviour to avoid crowds (Rakuten Insight, 2021). A linkage between the personality trait sociability and the intention to avoid crowds in retail environment is also missing. Hence, there is no overarching research model that examines the influence of crowding, sociability and shopping outcomes. Furthermore, changings due to the Covid-19 pandemic and crowd avoidance have not yet been considered in current research efforts. In view of that, this study aims to investigate the reasons and feelings of people avoiding crowded retail outlets. A general linkage between sociability as personal trait and customer avoidance is outlined. Furthermore, the effects of customer avoidance on shopping behaviour are analysed. Lastly, changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic on customer avoidance are examined in more detail.