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The Role of the Smartphone in the Current Service Interaction - An Explorative Study of the Perceptions of Sales Personnel in Retail Stores

LI Gao, Sofie LU and Nilsson, Heidi LU (2017) BUSN39 20171
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Given the recent predominant role of technology and the extensive use of smartphones in today’s society, the mobile device has become a major part of consumers’ daily lives. As a result, the lines between humans and technology have become blurred, where the effectiveness of interpersonal interactions at the service encounter in retail stores has been questioned. The researchers thus identified a knowledge gap and sought to look deeper into the role of the smartphone in interpersonal interactions. This by looking into retail stores within the health, lifestyle and beauty sector, to explore in what ways the usage of this mobile device has possibly transformed those interactions. The study looked at the perceptions and experiences of the... (More)
Given the recent predominant role of technology and the extensive use of smartphones in today’s society, the mobile device has become a major part of consumers’ daily lives. As a result, the lines between humans and technology have become blurred, where the effectiveness of interpersonal interactions at the service encounter in retail stores has been questioned. The researchers thus identified a knowledge gap and sought to look deeper into the role of the smartphone in interpersonal interactions. This by looking into retail stores within the health, lifestyle and beauty sector, to explore in what ways the usage of this mobile device has possibly transformed those interactions. The study looked at the perceptions and experiences of the sales personnel in four retail chains operating in Sweden. Eleven interviews with sales personnel were carried out to discover and examine how the smartphone is used in the interactions and how this might have changed the customer meetings, service requests, behaviour and attitudes of customers. The study was based on the concepts of mobile shopping, the service encounter, value co-creation and customer empowerment, all acting as the theoretical foundation of this study.

The findings revealed that the smartphone implies various roles; it can be used as a shopping tool that enhances the customer experience and facilitates the service interactions, but also as a way of avoiding interactions with the personnel in-store. As a result, the vast adoption of the smartphone has resulted in that consumers have a larger level of pre-knowledge, causing a renewed type of value creation where consumers today have the option to create it on their own through their smartphone, rejecting the need for interpersonal interactions. However, it was also shown that the personnel believed that they still had the ability to affect customers due to that some factors cannot be replaced by technology. Although now to a smaller extent since consumers tend to be influenced by multiple influencers often operating online, instantly accessed through their smartphones. The findings extend the field of mobile shopping and the role of the smartphone in the service encounter as the explored role of the smartphone culminated into an new mode of technology usage in service interactions, contributing with new insights to previous research. Another main finding was the discovery of a new perspective of value creation contradicting previous research that advocates interpersonal interactions (Less)
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author
LI Gao, Sofie LU and Nilsson, Heidi LU
supervisor
organization
course
BUSN39 20171
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Mobile shopping, service management, service encounter, value creation, interpersonal interactions, customer empowerment, smartphone, HBL, retail management.
language
English
id
8911314
date added to LUP
2017-06-27 16:55:20
date last changed
2017-06-27 16:55:20
@misc{8911314,
  abstract     = {Given the recent predominant role of technology and the extensive use of smartphones in today’s society, the mobile device has become a major part of consumers’ daily lives. As a result, the lines between humans and technology have become blurred, where the effectiveness of interpersonal interactions at the service encounter in retail stores has been questioned. The researchers thus identified a knowledge gap and sought to look deeper into the role of the smartphone in interpersonal interactions. This by looking into retail stores within the health, lifestyle and beauty sector, to explore in what ways the usage of this mobile device has possibly transformed those interactions. The study looked at the perceptions and experiences of the sales personnel in four retail chains operating in Sweden. Eleven interviews with sales personnel were carried out to discover and examine how the smartphone is used in the interactions and how this might have changed the customer meetings, service requests, behaviour and attitudes of customers. The study was based on the concepts of mobile shopping, the service encounter, value co-creation and customer empowerment, all acting as the theoretical foundation of this study.	 

The findings revealed that the smartphone implies various roles; it can be used as a shopping tool that enhances the customer experience and facilitates the service interactions, but also as a way of avoiding interactions with the personnel in-store. As a result, the vast adoption of the smartphone has resulted in that consumers have a larger level of pre-knowledge, causing a renewed type of value creation where consumers today have the option to create it on their own through their smartphone, rejecting the need for interpersonal interactions. However, it was also shown that the personnel believed that they still had the ability to affect customers due to that some factors cannot be replaced by technology. Although now to a smaller extent since consumers tend to be influenced by multiple influencers often operating online, instantly accessed through their smartphones. The findings extend the field of mobile shopping and the role of the smartphone in the service encounter as the explored role of the smartphone culminated into an new mode of technology usage in service interactions, contributing with new insights to previous research. Another main finding was the discovery of a new perspective of value creation contradicting previous research that advocates interpersonal interactions},
  author       = {LI Gao, Sofie and Nilsson, Heidi},
  keyword      = {Mobile shopping,service management,service encounter,value creation,interpersonal interactions,customer empowerment,smartphone,HBL,retail management.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Role of the Smartphone in the Current Service Interaction - An Explorative Study of the Perceptions of Sales Personnel in Retail Stores},
  year         = {2017},
}