Online social capital: Understanding e-impulse buying in practice
Ronan de Kervenoael
, D. Selcen O. Aykac
, Mark Palmer
Sabanci University, 34959 Orhanli, Tuzla, Istanbul, Turkey
Aston Business School, Aston University, Aston triangle, Birmingham E4 7ET, UK
Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey
a r t i c l e i n f o
Retail behaviourE-impulseSocial atmospherics/capital and practice
a b s t r a c t
Socially constructed marketing imageries (e.g. e-atmospherics) help consumers while making choicesand decisions. Still, human and retailing technology interactions are rarely evaluated from a socialpractice perspective. This article explores the potential impact of socially constructed e-atmosphericson impulse buying. A framework with three interrelated factors, namely social acoustic, co-constructionand mundane language enactment is analysed. The way these allow for e-social norms to organicallyemerge is elaborated through a set of propositions. Retailing implications are subsequently discussed.Crown Copyright
2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Research indicates that virtual store layouts and atmosphericsare encouraging consumers to modify their shopping habitstowards engaging more deeply with the online channel (Burke,2002;Dailey, 2004;Eroglu et al., 2001;Vrechopoulos et al., 2002).
Speciﬁcally, it has been found that the online medium facilitatesimpulse buying behaviour (Greenﬁeld,1999;Li et al., 2000). At the
same time, economic and social changes such as credit cards, cashmachines, and 24
(the actors or individuals actually using/experien-cing/creating in our case social acoustic),
the social,symbolic and material tools through which work is done and
A gap exists in our understanding of how e-atmospherics havebeen portrayed in the literature. Our approach draws on a numberof intellectual traditions, including social network theory, strate-gic management, innovation studies and technology acceptancemodels (TAM). Hitherto research studies have employed adeterministic technological perspective from a macro-level(top-down) without any appreciation of (i) the social capital‘acoustic’ at the micro-level, (ii) the grounded day-to-day practiceof information communication technology (ICT) including co-construction of meanings and (iii) digital and social connectingmechanisms. In our context, ICT is deﬁned as the cornerstone onwhich post-industrial societies’ ‘productions’ are based, in transi-tion via ever more powerful technological tools that will allow themovement from an information age to a (socially related)knowledge-based society.In turn, social acoustic is also a multi-dimensional concept.It can be deﬁned as a sum of web experiences’ elements (e.g.usability, aesthetics), web site technical abilities (e.g. navigationbar, integration with other software, structure) and users’ life-styles’ symbols including norms, art, posture, gender, politics,learning rates/capabilities, online intellectual investment, refer-ence points, histories and experiences with shopping channels.Acoustics are assumed to be recognized and positively experi-enced only if the social elements are aligned and resonate in allthe above dimensions. The chemical reactions require dynamic,repeated and value-driven integration and interaction of allstakeholders, i.e., technology, content providers, the amalgam of users (both active and passive; personal or business), the linkedpartners (e.g. advertisers, information providers, forums, suppli-ers), and third party such as security certiﬁcations and legalpartners. The association and role(s) of each stakeholder includingtheir past experiences and their expected contributions will leadto the (co)creation of speciﬁc ambiances and moods conducive(or not) to organic impulse buying behaviour.
At this point,
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Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
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Corresponding author at: Sabanci University, 34959 Orhanli, Tuzla, Istanbul,Turkey. Tel.: +902164839707; fax: +902164839699.
That is to say, practice is conceptualized as a social activity, constructedthrough the actions, interactions and negotiations of multiple actors ( Jarzabkowski Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Please cite this article as: de Kervenoael, R., et al., Online social capital: Understanding e-impulse buying in practice. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services (2009), doi:10.1016/j.jretconser.2009.02.007