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A work project, presented as part of the requirements for the Award of a Master Degree in

Management from the NOVA School of Business and Economics.

EXPLORING THE CONSUMER DECISION JOURNEY AND ONLINE SHOPPING


EXPERIENCE THROUGH AN EMOTIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
AN INTERPRETIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

JOSEPH PASSANISI 2152

A project carried out on the Master in Management Program, under the supervision of:
Professor Luis F. Martinez

JANUARY 8, 2016

Table of Contents
Title Page ................................................................................................................................. 1
Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................... 2
Abstract .................................................................................................................................... 3
1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 4
1.1 Research Questions ................................................................................................ 5
2. Literature Review................................................................................................................. 6
2.1 Consumer Decision Journey .................................................................................. 6
2.2 Affective Cognition, Theory of Mind and Empathy .............................................. 7
3. Methodology ........................................................................................................................ 8
3.1 Research Design ..................................................................................................... 8
3.2 Data Sample ........................................................................................................... 8
3.3 Data Collection....................................................................................................... 9
3.4 Data Analysis ......................................................................................................... 9
3.5 Data Validity ........................................................................................................ 10
4. Results ................................................................................................................................ 10
4.1 Theme 1: Emotional Experience (Past) and Brand Preference ............................ 11
4.2 Theme 2: Emotional Empathy and Alterations of Confidence in Preference ...... 12
4.3 Theme 3: Emotional Encouragement and Alterations of Trust in Preference ..... 14
4.4 Theme 4: Emotional Encounters and Alterations of Consumer Satisfaction ...... 16
4.5 Theme 5: Emotional Exchange and Relationship with Company or Brand ........ 18
4.6 Magnif-E-Sense E-Motion Model........................................................................ 20
5. Discussion .......................................................................................................................... 21
6. Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 22
6.1 Theoretical and Managerial Implications ............................................................ 22
6.2 Limitations and Future Research ......................................................................... 23
References .............................................................................................................................. 24

Abstract
Traditional consumer decision-making models have long used quantitative research to
address a link between emotional and rational behavior. However, little qualitative research
has been conducted in the area of online shopping as an end-to-end experience. This study
aims to provide a detailed phenomenological account of consumers online shopping
experience and extend Mckinsey & Companyss consumer decision journey model from an
emotional perspective. Six semi-structured interviews and a focus group of nine people are
analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenology Analysis and five superordinate themes emerged
from the results: emotional experience, empathy and encouragement, in relation to brand
preference, emotional encounters in relation to consumer satisfaction and emotional exchange
and relationship with a company or brand. A model interrelating these themes is then
introduced to visually represent the emotional essence of a large online purchase. This study
promises to be applicable as a descriptive, and perhaps, better predictive report for
understanding the complex consumer decision-making process as it relates to online
consumer behavior. Future research topics are also identified.
Keywords: Emotions, decisions, online, experience

1. Introduction
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never
forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou, American poet (Kelly, 2003)
Emotions are one of the many factors that have a significant impact on a persons
decision-making process. The everyday decisions that people make not only affect their
cognitive perceptions and thoughts, but influence their emotional states as well (Carrera &
Oceja, 2007; Bell, 2011). Still, the importance of emotions effect on consumers behavior is
often overlooked as businesses tend to focus most of their attention, energy, time and
resources on only managing and planning the rational aspects of consumers experiences
(Kotler et al., 2010). Since the early 1990s, traditional models that strive to explain online
consumer decision-making and behavior have been established in the theory of rational
choices made by rational people (Ramanathan & Shiv, 2001; Bell, 2011) and literature linked
to customer experiences has essentially centralized around cognition and circumstantial or
social elements, while the emotional aspects of the process are seldom taken into
consideration (Ramanathan & Shiv, 2001; Taylor, 2009; Peter & Olson, 2010).
In the past few decades, online shopping has rapidly evolved into an extremely useful
and relatively simple way to purchase products. However, most online retailers continue to
predominately concentrate their attention on consumers reactions to product attributes and
online marketing campaigns, rather than observe purchasing behavior through the eyes of the
consumer to become aware of their true decision-making and purchasing process (Peter &
Olson, 2010). In reality, the new crucial factor that marketers must study and discuss is
human emotion and its function in online consumer behavior and decision-making (Kotler et
al., 2010; Bell, 2011). In more recent years, this topic area has been gaining attention (Kotler
et al., 2010; Bell, 2011), but little to no qualitative research has been conducted to give a
voice to the consumer and gain insight into the emotional essence and aspects of an end-to-

end online shopping experience (Bell, 2011). In order to have a truly comprehensive
understanding of online consumers behavior, the emotional aspects of this experience must
also be studied from the very beginning of consumers decision-making process and continue
to be analyzed all the way up until and after all decisions are made (Taylor, 2009).
There is a lack of knowledge and depth in recent research that must be addressed to
ensure a thorough exploration of consumers emotional essences as they move through their
end-to-end online purchasing journeys. The objective of this study is to address this gap and
gain deep insight and understanding into the emotional aspects of an online shopping
experience. The significance of this study lies in the fact that consumers are giving a firstperson account of their decision-making process and online purchasing behavior from
consideration to end to afterthought of an online purchase. This results from this study add to
scholarly research, as it relates to online consumer behavior, and the narratives and researcher
interpretation give great understanding into the area of affective science.
1.1 Research Questions
The purpose of studying the behavior of consumers as they move through their
purchasing journeys is to explore the lived experience of large online purchases (over
100) at various stages. More specifically, the purpose is to explore this journey from a firstperson perspective and encourage consumers to express their internal conscious observations
in detail. This allows us to study their thoughts, emotions and behavior and understand the
essence of their online experience from an emotional perspective. Thus, this study addresses
the following research questions:
RQ 1: What circumstantial factors trigger emotional responses at various stages of the
consumer decision journey during an online shopping experience?
RQ 2: What emotions do consumers typically experience at various stages of their
consumer decision journey during an online shopping experience?
RQ 3: How do consumers' emotional states change at various stages of their consumer
decision journey during an online shopping experience?
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2. Literature Review
2.1 Consumer Decision Journey
Recent studies and discussions published from scholarly articles across a number of
academic journals have come to the consensus that the traditional linear purchase model is
too narrow, uniform and generic in todays digital age, rendering it obsolete (Vargo & Lusch
et al., 2004; Court et al., 2009; Nunes et al., 2013). Refer to Appendix I for a visual
representation of this model. Recent waves in marketing literature are characterized by an
advance from product marketing, to relationship marketing, and are shifting focus towards
accurately representing the consumers journey and understanding their mindset during the
decision-making process to provide an intensive customer-centric and continuously satisfying
experience (Vargo and Lusch et. al, 2004; Boulding et al., 2005; Holbrook, 2006). In 2009, to
try and improve the outdated linear purchase funnel model and build upon the thoughts of
their predecessors, the consulting group McKinsey & Company studied the purchase
decisions of nearly 20,000 consumers across the retail industry from three major markets
(US, Germany and Japan) (Court et al., 2009). Based on their findings, the authors suggest
that the modern consumer purchasing path is more of a circular, two-way consumer decision
journey with four critical stages where marketers can either succeed or fail: initial
consideration set, active evaluation, moment of purchase and post-purchase experience
(Court et al., 2009). Refer to Appendix II for a visual representation of this model. However,
the results in this study were obtained by using only quantitative analytics such as surveys,
questionnaires or experimental or correlational research and are generalized to a larger
sample population. Although the findings are very useful, this type of research and
methodology does not fully capture the expressive information of the consumer and
overlooks the reasons, motivations, feelings, beliefs and true voice of the individual
consumer - all factors which must be thoroughly examined (Ramanathan & Shiv, 2001).

2.2 Affective Cognition, Theory of Mind and Empathy


Affective cognition is commonly researched and explored through an examination of
two underlying social-psychological topics: theory of mind, or the capacity to think,
understand and form logical judgements about others mental states, and empathy, or the
capacity to perceive and resonate with others emotions (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). Recent
studies on these topics have researched how consumers deduce undetectable mental states
from observable behavior and outcomes, but fail to address other critical points of
information such as individuals responses to particular behaviors and outcomes (Taylor,
2009; Bell, 2011). Berry et al. (2006) contributes to this discussion by suggesting that
consumer experience is the impression created and engraved in a customers mind during the
decision-making process and that customers will continue to obtain experience as long as
they are emotionally engaging, consecutively or concurrently, in consumption. Carrera &
Oceja (2007) add their thoughts, stating that the final judgement, either a positive or negative
experience which occurs in the post-purchase experience stage, is generally considered to be
the most important judgement. This concept correlates with the recent consensus in literature
which acknowledges that success in marketing practices can be attributed not only to the
quality of the products a company sells, but to the superiority of the end-to-end emotional
experience they create as well (Edeleman & Singer, 2009). Although research on affective
cognition, theory of mind and empathy have produced valuable insights in recent years, there
has been a lack of focus on the fundamental questions and developmental shifts across these
topic areas, especially within the field of online consumer behavior (Bell, 2011). While this
study does not intended to analyze all elements of the emotions in an online shopping
experience, it will address the noted limitations of past research and make theoretical and
managerial implications by using an interpretive phenomenological analysis of interviews
and a focus group discussion as supporting evidence.

3. Methodology
3.1 Research Design
The objective of this study was not to predict a causal relationship between emotions
and rational behavior but rather to provide a detailed phenomenological account of
consumers online shopping experience and extend Mckinsey & Companys consumer
decision journey model from an emotional perspective. In order to successfully address the
proposed research questions and gap found in the aforementioned literature, a qualitative
approach was utilized and semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion were
analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. These research designs were chosen
because of their ability to capture the quality, texture and essence of a lived online shopping
experience through first-person perceptions and detailed descriptions of the social world
(Bogdan & Biklen, 2003).
3.2 Data Sample
A purposeful, homogenous sample was selected for this study, meaning the data
sample relied on our judgement of the group of people we desired to study. Participants were
selected on two conditions: they were between the ages of 20 and 25 and had made an online
purchase totaling over 100 within the past year. To ensure diversity among responses, the
sample included seven women and eight men and each individual purchased a different
product. See Appendix III and IV for each participant demographic table. A manageable
sample as such ensured that the data collected was not overwhelming, but was still rich
enough to provide detailed accounts of the experience and allow us to observe similarities
and differences in each narrative.
3.3 Data Collection
A total of 15 triangulated individual accounts, 6 semi-structured interviews and 1
focus group of 9 people (excluding the probing moderator), were collected in November

2015. Interview and focus group questions were open-ended and non-directive. The format
started with general questions and moved to more specific questions and answers which
encouraged each participant to describe their online purchasing experience in as much detail
as possible (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). See Appendix V and Appendix VI for each openquestion script. The interviews and focus group discussions were audio-recorded, lasted one
hour and were conducted live in a pleasant environment. Data saturation was decidedly
reached when, while carrying out our existing analysis, we arrived at a stage in which no new
information was being presented in further interviews (Willig, 2001). Once the exhaustive
and thorough personal narratives stopped producing significantly new concepts, similarities,
or codes, interview collections were stopped so that a thorough analysis could begin.
3.4 Data Analysis
To precisely interpret the raw data, a two-stage, double hermeneutic process was
implemented. Participants first attempted to understand and recall their experiences in as
much vivid detail as possible and we subsequently attempted to understand and interpret their
experiences by analyzing the discussion and creating and integrating relevant themes (Willig,
2001). In order to successfully analyze the data, we immersed ourselves in each of the
participants accounts one-by-one several times and analyzed them in agreement with the
four fundamental stages of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Willig, 2001). First,
wide-ranging and open notes (ranging from questions, comments, summaries, labels, etc.)
and similarities, differences, contradictions and echoes were recorded from participants
accounts. Next, these notes were transformed into succinct terms, or themes, which strived to
represent the underlying characteristics or quality of what was mentioned in each section of
the discussions. Thirdly, emergent themes were chronologically listed and we sought
connections between them as we thought about the themes in relation to one another. In this
stage, natural clusters and hierarchal relationships were formed as themes reflected similar

meanings or references. Labels were given to each category of themes to better encapsulate
their essence and were frequently reviewed to see if they were in accordance with and
reflected the primary source material the actual statements given by the participants. The
final stage of analysis called for the prioritization of data and construction of a logically
ordered table of superordinate themes. This allowed us to eliminate marginal themes that
were generated during the second stage, known as phenomenological reduction, and decide
which ones truly captured something about the emotional essence of participants online
shopping experience. See Appendix VII for a visual representation of this table. Each of the
15 individual participants narratives were analyzed in this process and our interpretation and
final report were given to participants to ensure our work was authentic and representative.
3.5 Data Validity
To ensure higher validity, participants inputs were viewed using imagination
variation, or from multiple perspectives, and were treated with equal value in the beginning
stages of analysis, otherwise known as horizontalization (Willig, 2001). Moreover, all
responses and interpretations were triangulated between two methodologies and were
member checked for narrative accuracy and internal, descriptive and evaluative validity, as
each interview was conducted and at the conclusion of the report. Finally, to avoid personal
perspectives, presumptions and bias, we bracketed our own viewpoints and assumptions,
allowing us to successfully explore participants unaltered consciousnesses and produce
authentic results as we arrived at the true underlying essence of an online shopping
experience (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). See Appendix VIII for the bracketed researcher bias.

4. Results
There was great diversity between participant responses as each individual had very
different online shopping experiences with different products. Participants accounts
clustered around the five superordinate themes below. In this section, all emergent themes are
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discussed in detail and its different forms are illustrated through verbatim quotations. We
then interpret these themes and quotes for meaning to gain a better understanding of the
online shopping experience at various stages of the consumer decision journey.
4.1 Theme 1: Emotional Experience (Past) and Brand Preference
Recollections of participants past experiences with a company or brand provokes
numerous emotions and helps give an impression of whether business with an organization
would be favorable or not. The experiences that were once had with a company was
experienced as either positive, negative or neutral, with different intensity levels.
Participants describe this as a preliminary step of the purchasing process where
emotions are first triggered and explored. Marko explained, Its simple. I go with the same
brand and website Ive used before. I know my size and have done business with them a few
times, so I assume Ill be satisfied with the purchase again and wont run into problems.
George, on the other hand, described a moment where he practices caution stating: Buying
electronics online can be tricky, especially as the prices increase. I mean, if I dont have a
previous experience with a company then how can I trust they wont mess things up?
Participants talked about their past experiences in specific details and as a whole process. If
something went wrong during a previous order, Ill consider buying from another company
next time. Theres always other companies out there who can do better business (Camila).
Exceptional service always brings me back. From the promotions to advertisement to simple
website and follow up - they do it all right (Marko). As a new customer, participants
expressed a sense of freedom and stress. I never purchased one [GPS] before, so I was
constantly online surfing for the best possible choice and price (Lisa). I get worried
placing an order with a new brand. I dont know what to expect. What if they rip me off or
even worse, steal my money! Id rather always be a repeat customer (Kilian). The emotional
memories that participants recall from previous online shopping experiences have great

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impact on the beginning stages of their purchasing processes. The overall feeling(s) that they
were left with were reflected on and either left them wanting to do business again or hesitant
to repeat a purchase with a specific brand or company. Even before entering the initial
consideration set phase, a preference could be formed from past memories, as participants
acknowledged previous experiences and anticipated the same emotions will be felt.
This notion and desire for previous positive memories and aversion of negative
memories was clarified and addressed in the focus group. Participants discussed the idea with
each other and reflections were made. A [positive] past memory is like a golden ticket to
another successful purchase. Its like the company is saying, remember us? We can do that
for you again! (Tzvetina). I will rarely do repeat business with a brand who didnt leave
me happy. If they are serious about their company, they should know how to do things
correctly. Why waste my time and money? No second chances (David). Participants start
their online shopping experience by recalling and reflecting on past emotional memories. The
details of previous purchasing journeys are summed up and brought together to produce one
comprehensive recollection that has a specific emotion attached to it. If a past experience was
positive and has minimal negative connotation to it, then participants have an impression that
continuing with the purchasing process and doing business with a specific brand or company
will be worth their while. A negative or simply neutral connotation attached to a past memory
leaves participants more cautious and reluctant to follow through with their initial desire.
Online shopping for expensive products is a serious commitment and, since majority
of the process is done through a mobile telephone or computer, having a successful previous
experience is very comforting for the participants and can take away many concerns they
might have. The emotional experiences that are recalled from memories with a company or
brand re-appear throughout their accounts and thus form a part of all other themes.
4.2 Theme 2: Emotional Empathy and Alterations of Confidence in Preference

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This theme captures participants tendency to engage in consumption of social media


and other forms of word of mouth and describes how these external sources of information
are interpreted and emotionally incorporated into brand perception. This form of emotional
empathy was experienced as encouraging, discouraging or neutral with different intensity
levels and directly relates with the previous theme considering that it is one of the significant
elements that becomes part of a consumers memory once they reflect on it.
All participants explained that social media is a great way to gain knowledge about a
product and a company and illustrated how it can be either an encouragement or
discouragement to continue with the purchasing process. Before buying it [camera], I could
check to see whether or not other people were enjoying their own. That really is a big deal!
(Linda). I saw many reviews about it [handbag]. People were raving about the high quality
and reasonable price, so I felt very confident that I was making the right decision (Camila).
I take social media and word of mouth talk very seriously. If people are willing to take time
out of their day to shame a product or company, it must mean something went seriously
wrong (Lisa). Almost all participants stated that they felt a connection with social media
posts or word of mouth and believed that they would embrace the emotions and relatively
feel the same as the person doing the talking. Knowing that people are enjoying their GoPro
to the fullest with minimal problems lead me to believe that I would have the same experience
as well (Kilian). If a company can satisfy other people, then they already earned points in
my book (George). The emotions that people describe about a product or company, whether
it be through word of mouth, social media, blogs, or other forms of internet communication
platforms, are usually taken to be certain and true, depending on the context.
This topic was heavily debated in the focus group when Alex mentioned that You
cant always believe what people post or say if you havent seen or gone through it yourself.
Seluk and Erica replied to the statement Thats a good point, but when the majority of

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reactions are the same, there must be some truth to it, right? (Seluk). Outliers can
usually be overlooked as they are rare cases (Erica). Social media and word of mouth
provide participants with important reviews and relevant information, but also act as a way
for them to praise their new product. Linda described this situation, stating: I was so happy
when I finally got it [camera]. I uploaded some pictures I took and tagged Polaroid in it with
a thank you shout out. Marko mimicked this pattern: If I am happy with the way my new
shoes look, there is a good chance Ill post a picture of them to my accounts.
Participants use word of mouth and social media as a supplement to company
advertising. Lisa stated that, Of course a company is going to tell you their product is the
best and that you should order it. But a real, honest review will come from someone who has
nothing to lose a friend or someone on social media (Lisa). George adds: Online media
posting is like an informed sales associate that speaks genuinely and not from cue-cards or
using company lingo. Participants feel a range of emotions through social media or word of
mouth and anticipate these feelings as something they will experience in the future. As social
media is mostly used during the post-purchase phase, participants can see how consumers are
engaging with their product after purchase and whether or not it sounds favorable. Online
shopping can be a difficult process because one cannot physically see the product unless they
go to a brick and mortar store, but social media and word of mouth allow customers to
experience the product through anothers perspective. Consumers tend to trust this
information more than what companies say and having this type of outreach in todays digital
age puts consumers emotions at ease, allowing them to make a more informed decisions.
4.3 Theme 3: Emotional Encouragement and Alterations of Trust in Preference
This theme describes the importance of continual conversation and the emotions it
provokes at various stages across their purchasing journey. This encouragement that
companies give or fail to give was experienced as encouraging, discouraging, or neutral with

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different intensity levels. It relates to previous themes because, as the consumer already has
information about a product and brand through online research, participants want companies
to give valid reasons why negative reviews from the community should be overlooked.
The focus group discussion regarding this theme was based upon whether too much or
too little conversation and encouragement happens during the purchasing journeys. I feel
like sometimes a company can try to speak with me too much. They dont need to force
conversation. If I need their input, Ill let them know (Lucia). I dont know. I want
companies to take away any anxiety, confusion, or frustration away by assuring me that I am
making the right decision (Pepe). Participants are likely to ponder if there are better options
for them to choose. Many participants mentioned that second guessing is a common pattern
throughout their purchasing journey and a company can provide conversation that will settle
their uncertainty and bring in a sense of comfort and reassurance.
A balanced amount of thoughtful conversation gives participants a sense of peace and
nurtures the online relationship. When conversation is strategically initiated, participants feel
hopeful about the future of the experience, optimistic about the companys ability to perform
and at ease with their decisions. Marko references this with a statement about the beginning
stages of his journey: And it was interesting. The company knew I had purchased them
before, suggested products to put in my shopping cart and showed me they were in stock. All
without me doing a thing. Another participant spoke about not enough conversation in
regards to the final, post-purchase stage: No messages were sent to me about tracking
information. I had to figure out all the information myself. (George). Participants easily get
annoyed when companies are not valuing them as an individual customer and appreciating
the money and time they are spending on their products. If their business is not being
recognized, participants feel hurt and will distance themselves from a company. Continual,
strategized conversation is important in the eyes of the consumer because it makes the

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journey seem worthwhile. With proper conversation and engagement, participants feel
respected and valued as well as emotionally stimulated to the point of confidence.
Participants not only want companies to talk with them, but listen to them as well.
This was brought up in the focus group with a statement from Alessandro: If I have a
complaint, sometimes I want to tell the company directly so they do not make the same
mistake with someone else. I want to speak with a human and make sure they listen.
Tzvetina later added: If my complaint is listened too and addressed quickly, Im more
focused and satisfied with the quick attention rather than the problem itself. Participants are
frustrated when companies do not listen enough or respond to inquiries within a reasonable
amount of time and these emotions impact their trust a company or brand.
Online shopping can be a stressful experience if there is nobody helping to guide
participants along each step of their journey. However, if there is an optimal amount of
conversation and listening between the company and participants, participants will feel more
comfortable with their actions and more trust will be developed between both parties.
Participants place great importance on a companys conversational skills and expect to be
engaged in reassuring exchanges at various points throughout their journey.
4.4 Theme 4: Emotional Encounters and Alterations of Consumer Satisfaction
This theme reflects participants interactions with companies service-encounters and
touchpoints and illustrates how the quality of these interactions provoke many emotions that
affect consumers satisfaction. The emotions stemming from these numerous encounters have
a range of intensity from not pleased, very pleased to content. This theme directly relates to
the three previous themes because these emotional encounters involve conversation from the
company, inspire conversation from outside sources and are a significant portion of the
memory that is created and engraved in the participants minds.
Participants mentioned how various encounters at different stages can provoke

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different emotional responses. Excessive advertising is one of my biggest pet peeves. A


company can damage their reputation with me, and leave me anxious if they force something
on me I dont want (Camila). If a company is on the first page when I do a Google search, I
already immediately feel like they are a brand that is respected and feel like I would be in
secure hands if I chose them (Linda). However, participants describe how they felt at the
purchase and post-purchase phases more than in the initial stages of their journey and
especially reference one of the most important encounters: the website. I knew that it was a
respected brand, but still, clicking that proceed to checkout button was worth 250 and I
had to double check and make sure everything was correct and secure before I proceeded
(Kilian). Many participants spoke about how having product details and price comparisons
can be very helpful and leave them content and aware of the situation while others took time
to discuss the possible negative aspects of the website encounter and how it makes them feel.
A cluttered website with too many buttons and links always leaves me confused and
annoyed. I know it could be simpler (Lisa). She continued, I get annoyed when I have to
create an account for a companys website (Lisa). Simple one, two, three browse, select,
pay websites are much more enjoyable to use than noisy websites (Camila).
On the other hand, many participants in the focus group discussion stated that the
product quality itself was the most influential touchpoint. Seluk mentioned: If my product
arrives and it is not the same quality mentioned or if they messed up the order, I will feel
betrayed. Marko stated, The colorway and comfort of the shoes keeps me coming back and
Camila said, since it was such a steep price for an everyday bag, I expected it to last for
quite a while (Camila). Participants enjoy easy to use touchpoints that function properly and
expect their product to be of the quality advertised. If any touchpoint is misrepresentative or a
hassle to endure, then participants will assume the company is not taking the consumers
purchasing journey seriously and may cancel or return their online order.

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In fact, many participants mentioned or referred to a physical brick and mortar store
when talking about these emotional encounters: I wanted to try the headphones out before I
bought them (George). I went to a store and tested out the camera first (Linda). Even
though product details are presented, it has good reviews and the company maintains
encouraging conversation, participants can still feel uncertain purchasing a product, and may
very well go to a brick and mortar store to physically feel and try the product. Doing this
allows them to feel fully satisfied and pleased with their decision, rather than placing the
online order and hoping for the best. Moreover, if an online website is not informative
enough or is too informative and clogged with information, an in-store purchase may be a
participants first choice. Finally, post-purchase customer service was noted as very
important, should a participant encounter any problems. In an online shopping experience,
participants encounter many of the same touchpoints as they would with an in-store purchase.
However, the biggest difference and concern of all is the website, payment and shipping
process. Participants tend to be skeptical and feel worried that something may go wrong, but
if a companys touchpoints are simple, easy to use, secure and functioning properly, then
participants are left feeling satisfied with the purchase and without a sense of regret.
4.5 Theme 5: Emotional Exchange and Relationship with Company or Brand
This theme directly builds on the previous four themes and provides a final
description of the end-to-end online shopping experience that participants had with a specific
company or brand. All the emotions that were felt up until this point were reflected on and
one general description of their emotional state was given, ranging on a scale of not pleased,
very pleased or content with different intensity levels. This final theme relates to the others
by wrapping up the entirety of the online shopping experience and giving a distinct review of
the essence of the experience based on emotions felt from the previous four themes.
All participants describe their online shopping experience as an accumulative range of

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emotions provoked by numerous factors that include, but are not limited to, past memories,
external conversational influences (from the community and the company) and various
encounters or touchpoints. Marko stated that, At the end of another repeat purchase, I was
just as happy as the last time and ready to share my new look with my friends and Camila
mentioned, I was happy with my purchase and the online experience went just as I hoped.
All of the participants were happy with their most recent personal purchase, but noted that
this is not always the case. This theme carried over into the focus group where participants
like David stated, Purchasing any product online is like an emotional rollercoaster and
Lucia mentioned, At the end of an online purchase, Ill either feel a sense of happiness or
regret. Sometimes both. Participants in this very final stage are assessing their entire end-toend journey up until this point on an emotional scale and seeing how the essence of the
experience has been overall. Participants desire to look back on their experience and feel
delighted and thrilled with the purchase rather than worried and upset.
After reaching an intuitive conclusion call, participants reassess their feelings and see
if they are overreacting or if they can justify their online shopping experience judgement. In
this stage, if participants feel an unfavorable way, they will be much more hesitant to do
business with the same brand again. However, if they believe the experience to be a success,
they will tend to share their feelings with others and encourage more new customers to take
part in the same experience.
Online shopping is a series of emotional exchanges between consumer and company
and the sum of these exchanges can build or destroy a participants relationship with a brand.
There are many factors and moments that shape this final review of exchanges and some are
out of the participants control. Participants main focus is to purchase a product with ease
and be satisfied with its quality. If this is completed, the end-to-end journey will be described
as a positive one. Not all moments in the purchasing journey must be positive, but if very few

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are negative, participants view the journey as pleasurable and are willing to continue doing
business with a company providing this type of satisfying online shopping experience.
This final theme directly relates and essentially overlaps with the first theme as the
totality of emotional exchanges over the course of an online purchasing journey equates to
the memory they will reflect on in the future when they consider another purchase. This
thought was discussed in detail in the focus group and Pepe mentioned, The emotions I feel
at any one time determine my mind state and attitude for the next online purchase (Pepe). If
participants are satisfied with the essence of their experience, they will not hesitate to
consider the same purchasing journey again. However, if there were significant emotional
downsides throughout the journey, participants cautiously move through the purchasing
journey and question whether they should continue moving toward a subsequent purchase.
Emotions are a significant part of purchasing a product online and the totality and reflection
of these emotions determine if the experience was a success or a failure.
4.6 Magnif-E-Sense E-Motion Model
To interrelate the five themes that emerged from the analysis process, a model titled
the magnif-e-sense e-motion model was created. This model visually represent the results
of the study and the emotional essence of a significant online purchase:

Figure I: Magnif-E-Sense E-Motion Model


20

5. Discussion
The findings suggests that, across the various stages of the consumer decision journey,
participants undergo a range of emotions depending on the context of the scenario and where
they are at in their journey. Berry et al.s findings are confirmed as it is clear that consumers
impression of a brand or company are continually established in their mind as they move
about their decision-making process and continue to emotionally engage in the purchasing
journey (Berry et al., 2006). However, this study extends this theory and proposes that
participants are emotionally affected, not only by marketing stimuli, but personal and external
social stimuli as well. We suggest that, as the participants move through their online shopping
experience, marketing stimuli does not elicit a direct rational response immediately, but
rather produces an internal emotional response, which in then reflected on prior to
consumers next decision stage in their purchasing journey. It is important to note, however,
that participants do have control in whether or not they accept the emotion they are feeling, or
rather determine it is not valid.
Confirming Edelman & Singers (2015) theory, the superiority of the end-to-end
emotional experience is just as import as the quality of the products a company sells. The
findings suggest that it is less likely a consumer will continue through with an online
purchase or repurchase if there is no emotional connection with the experience a company
provides. Moreover, McKinsey & Companys consumer decision journey model is
challenged as we suggest that there is no such thing as a straightforward loyalty loop. We
suggest there is the chance of a repeat purchase happening, but it cannot be assumed one will
automatically continue business and bypass the first two stages in the purchasing journey for
any reason. Participants noted that, no matter how satisfying a purchasing journey was, there
will always be outside influence and the need for continuous and careful research and
evaluation.

21

Furthermore, the findings suggest there is more than one direction that consumers can
take while engaging in this experience. The researcher has proposed three names for the
direction that a consumer can take in relation to the magnif-e-sense e-motion model,
depending on their emotional connection with the journey at any specific point: Continuous
Commitment, where consumers embrace forward movement and remain on the internal
positive route, Dissatisfied Detachment, where consumers no longer embrace forward
movement and remain on the external negative route, and Cautious Consideration where
consumers cautiously consider the idea of doing business with a brand while weighing their
subjective feelings. Available Attachments illustrate consumers chance to switch from a
favorable to unfavorable path (or vice versa, except for after moment of purchase).
We conclude by suggesting that thoughts are short term experiences, whereas
emotions precede thoughts and are more influential and longer lasting. Consumers emotional
experiences in an online shopping experience cannot be neglected as affective judgements are
presumed to be an accurate representation of the experience and integrate with participants
rational behavior and intuition.
6. Conclusion
This study set out to explore three research questions: At various stages of the
consumer decision journey during an online shopping experience, 1) What circumstantial
factors trigger emotional responses? 2) What emotions do consumers typically experience?
and 3) How do these emotional states change? A qualitative research approach was used to
answer these questions and a magnify-e-sense e-motion model was produced to visually
represent consumers sense of direction as they move through their purchasing process.
6.1 Theoretical and Managerial Implications
This study contributed several insights into the topics of affective cognition and online
consumer behavior and decision making. The results touch upon elements of theory of mind

22

and empathy that tend to go overlooked and provide insight into consumers actual emotions
and the circumstantial context of the experienced emotions. The proposed model addresses
consumers sense of direction at various stages of their purchasing journey in relation to their
emotional state of being and illustrates how consumers shift their mindset and potentially
behave differently based on approval or disapproval of various factors.
The results of this study may prove useful to managers seeing that the findings
combine affective and cognitive elements and can assist in demonstrating which emotional
elements are requested and necessary in particular circumstances. Marketers should develop
contingency plans for each of the five themes mentioned and try to understand where each
individual customer stands in relation to these themes in order to improve emotionally flawed
areas and maintain emotionally positive aspects of the journey. Managers can use this studys
findings and proposed model to build and maintain healthy relationships with their customers
and increase purchase intentions by providing a favorable journey that benefits both parties.
6.2 Limitations and Future Research
There are limitations in this study that must be addressed. These findings are strictly
based on qualitative data and the accounts that were analyzed reflect only the online shopping
experience of these 15 young adults who are between the ages of 20 to 25. There may be
inconsistencies in what people said or recalled from their online shopping experience.
Participants spoke of their conscious observations, without being able to address potential
unconscious influences. With this research approach, there is no such thing as complete
phenomenological reduction. The identification, description, categorization and interpretation
of emerging themes were justified by the researcher and it is likely that additional themes that
could have been addressed. Moreover, this study and analysis cannot explain a causal
relationship between emotions and rational behavior. Finally, more description, interpretation
and quotations could have been provided for each theme, if space and time permitted.

23

Future work should test and confirm the results found in this qualitative study by
using a quantitative approach and triangulating the data with other mixed methodologies. We
suggest a quantitative study be performed to explore and attempt to explain if, and under
what circumstances, one or more themes dominate or counteract the others. In addition, a
supplementary qualitative study should be performed using Grounded Theory methodology
to test the cause and effect pattern of behavior between the two variables mentioned in each
theme and develop marketing strategies that organizations can use in particular
circumstances. Finally, this study should be replicated using a varied population sample and
different homogenous variables to test the claims and see if the results remain true.
Exploring the consumer decision journey and online shopping experience from an
emotional perspective provides many overlooked insights into online consumer behavior. The
challenge for firms in todays digital world is to understand consumers thoughts, desires and
emotional needs and meet or exceed them in a proper manner. The results of this research
may be utilized by online retailers and marketers to better understand the complex consumer
decision-making process and perhaps better predict and influence online consumer behavior.
References
Bell, H. (2011). A contemporary framework for emotions in consumer decision-making:
Moving beyond traditional models. International Journal of Business and Social
Science, 2(17), 1-5.
Berry, L. L., Wall, E., & Carbone, L. P. (2006). Service clues and customer assessment of the
service experience: Lessons from marketing. Academy of Management Perspectives,
20(2), 43-57.
Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to
theories and methods (5th ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Person Education Group, Inc.
Boulding, W., Staelin, R., Ehret, M., & Johnston, W. J. (2005). A customer relationship
management roadmap: What is known, potential pitfalls, and where to go. Journal of
Marketing, 69, 155-166.
Carrera, P., & Oceja, L. (2007). Drawing mixed emotions: Sequential or simultaneous
experiences? Cognition and Emotion, (21)2, 422-441.

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Court, D., Elzinga, D., Mulder, S., & Vetvik, O. J. (2009). The consumer decision
journey. McKinsey Quarterly, 1, 1-11.
Edelman, D. C., & Singer, M. (2015). Competing on customer journeys. Harvard Business
Review, 93(11), 88-100.
Holbrook, M. B. (2006). The consumption experience - something new, something old,
something borrowed, something sold: Part 1. Journal of Macromarketing, 26(2), 259266.
Kelly, B. (2003). Worth Repeating: More Than 5,000 Classic and Contemporary Quotes.
Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic and Professional.
Kotler, P., Kartajaya, H., & Setiawan, I. (2010). Putting it all together. In Marketing 3.0:
From products to customers to the human spirit (pp. 169-180). Hoboken, New Jersey:
John Wiley & Sons.
Nunes, P., Bellin, J., & Schunck, I. O. (2013). Converting the nonstop customer into a loyal
customer. Strategy & Leadership, 41(5), 48-53.
Peter, J.P., & Olson, J. C. (2010). Consumer behavior & marketing strategy (9th ed). New
York, New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Ramanathan, S., & Shiv, B. (2001). Getting to the heart of the consumer: The role of
emotions and cognition (or the lack thereof) in consumer decision making. Advances
in Consumer Research, (28), 49-50.
Taylor, S. (2009). Reconciling satisfaction, emotions, attitudes, and ambivalence
within consumer models of judgement and decision making: A cautionary tale.
Journal of Research in Consumer Behavior, 21, 42-65.
Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing.
Journal of Marketing, American Marketing Association, 68, 1-17.
Willig, C. (2001). Interpretive phenomenology. In Introducing qualitative research in
psychology: Adventures in theory and method (pp. 50-69). Berkshire, United
Kingdom: McGraw-Hill Education.

25

Appendix
Appendix I: Traditional Linear Purchase Funnel Model

Appendix II: McKinseys Consumer Decision Journey Model

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchase_funnel
http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/the_consumer_decision_journey

26

Appendix III: Semi-Structured Interview Participant Demographic Table


Name
George
Hillios
Camila
Treby
Lisa Watt
Marko
Odian
Kilian
Rullkotter
Linda
Batista

Gender

Age

Nationality

Study
Concentration

Male

20

American

Finance

Female

22

Spanish

Theatre

Female

23

German

Management

Male

24

American

Management

Male

25

German

Management

Female

25

Portuguese

Engineering

Product
Purchased
Online
Sony
Headphones
Guess
Handbag
Garmin
GPS
Nike Shoes
GoPro
HERO
Polaroid
Camera

Appendix IV: Focus Group Discussion Participant Demographic Table


Name

Gender

Age

Nationality

Lucia Zaffarnoi
David Galitzki
Erica Parducci
Alessandro Vho
Seluk Mozak
Tzvetina Petrova
Alex Speziali
Maria Rinaldi
Pepe Molina

Female
Male
Female
Male
Male
Female
Male
Female
Male

22
23
23
23
24
24
24
24
25

Italian
German
Italian
Italian
Turkish
Bulgarian
Italian
Italian
Spanish

27

Appendix V: Semi-structured Open-Question Script


Demographic Questions:
1) Can you please state your name, gender, age, ethnicity and your concentration of
study?
Beginning General Questions:
2) Have you purchased a product online of over $100 within the last year? What product
did you purchase?
3) How would you describe the range of emotions you felt as you were completing
this online purchase?
Questions about Online Shopping Experience and Emotions at Various Stages:
4) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to consider
purchasing a new product? How do you go about considering desirable brands?
4a. What are your emotional expectations and what marketing or business
actions do you value during the initial consideration set stage?
4b. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
4c. In an optimal and pessimal situation, how would you feel?
4d. How do you feel when your needs are met or not met at each of these
stages?
5) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to come to a
conclusion about which brand you are going to choose for your product?
5a. How does social media or word of mouth relate to the brands you
might consider?
5b. What are your emotional expectations and what marketing or business
actions do you value during the active evaluation stage?
5c. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
5d. In an optimal and pessimal situation, how would you feel?
5e. How do you feel when your needs are met or not met at each of these
stages?

28

6) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to move through with
the purchase and proceed to checkout and shipping?
6a. What are your emotional expectations and what marketing or business
actions do you value during the point of purchase stage?
6b. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
6c. In an optimal and pessimal situation, how would you feel?
6d. How do you feel when your needs are met or not met at each of these
stages?
7) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to be satisfied or
dissatisfied with the product when it arrives?
7a. What are your emotional expectations and what marketing or business
actions do you value during this post-purchase experience stage?
7b. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
7c. In an optimal and pessimal situation, how would you feel?
7d. How do you feel when your needs are met or not met at each of these
stages?
Ending General Questions:
8)

How do you go about reviewing your end-to-end experience with a particular brand
and its product?

9)

How do the emotions and feelings that you experience throughout the online
shopping experience relate to your customer satisfaction and brand loyalty?

10) How do you feel about sharing your emotional experiences with others?

29

Appendix VI: Focus Group Discussion Open-Question Script


Demographic Questions:
1) Can you please state your name, gender, age and ethnicity?
Beginning General Questions:
2) Have you purchased a product online within the last year?
3) How would you describe the range of emotions that you felt as you were completing
this online purchase?
Questions about Online Shopping Experience and Emotions at Various Stages:
4) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to consider
purchasing a new product? How do you go about considering desirable brands?
4a. How does a past experience influence the brands you might consider? *
4b. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
5) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to come to a
conclusion about which brand you are going to choose for your product?
5a. How does social media or word of mouth relate to the brands you might
consider?
5b. How do you empathize with peoples posts? Please elaborate on the
emotions these discussions make you feel, the trust you place in these
discussions, and whether or not you participate as well. *
5c. How can brands encourage your decision to do business with
them? *
5d. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
6) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to move through with
the purchase and proceed to checkout and shipping?
6a. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.
7) As a repeat and new customer, what emotionally motivates you to be satisfied or
dissatisfied with the product when it arrives?
7a. Can you please describe the type of interactions and overall essence of this
part of the online shopping experience? Please elaborate on how these
interactions made you feel.

30

Ending General Questions:


8)

How do your encounters with a company or brand relate to your emotions and
decision-making process *

9)

How do you go about reviewing your end-to-end experience with a particular brand
and its product?

10) Do you feel there is an emotional exchange and relationship between you
and the brand you do business with? *
11) How do the emotions and feelings that you experience throughout the online
shopping experience relate to your customer satisfaction and brand loyalty?
12) How do you feel about sharing your emotional experiences with others?
Note: Questions with an asterisk (*) next to them indicate an addition question that was
added to reflect the five superordinate themes that emerged from the semi-structured
interview responses. These were included to validate and gain more insight into the themes
and give more detail to ideas or feelings that may have been uncovered in the first round of
data collection.

31

Appendix VII: Summary Table of Superordinate Themes


Theme 1: Emotional Experience (Past)
and Brand Preference
Quotation

Participant

Audio-recording Location

Its simple. I go with the same brand and


website Ive used before. I know my size and
have done business with them a few times,
so I assume Ill be satisfied with the
purchase again and wont run into
problems.

Marko

Marko Interview, 7:45

Exceptional service always brings me


back. From the promotions to advertisement
to simple website and follow up - they do it
all right.

Marko

Marko Interview, 8:58

Buying electronics online can be tricky,


especially as the prices increase. I mean, if I
dont have a previous experience with a
company then how can I trust they wont
mess things up?

George

George Interview, 55:00

If something went wrong during a


previous order, Ill consider buying from
another company next time. Theres always
other companies out there who can do
better business.

Camila

Camila Interview, 47:35

I never purchased one [GPS] before, so I


was constantly online surfing for the best
possible choice and price.

Lisa

Lisa Interview, 6:58

I get worried placing an order with a new


brand. I dont know what to expect. What if
they rip me off or even worse, steal my
money! Id rather always be a repeat
customer.

Kilian

Kilian Interview, 9:17

A [positive] past memory is like a golden


ticket to another successful purchase. Its
like the company is saying, remember us?...

Tzvetina

Focus Group Interview, 9:35

32

We can do that for you again!


I will rarely do repeat business with a
brand who didnt leave me happy. If they
are serious about their company, they
should know how to do things correctly.
Why waste my time and money? No second
chances.

David

Focus Group Interview,


12:24

Participant

Audio-recording Location

Before buying it [camera], I could check


to see whether or not other people were
enjoying their own. That really is a big
deal!

Linda

Linda Interview, 14:57

I saw many reviews about it [handbag].


People were raving about the high quality
and reasonable price, so I felt very
confident that I was making the right
decision.

Camila

Camila Interview, 17:15

I take social media and word of mouth talk


very seriously. If people are willing to take
time out of their day to shame a product or
company, it must mean something went
seriously wrong.

Lisa

Lisa Interview, 15:53

Knowing that people are enjoying their


GoPro to the fullest with minimal problems
lead me to believe that I would have the
same experience as well.

Kilian

Kilian Interview, 22:27

If a company can satisfy other people, then


they already earned points in my book.

George

George Interview, 53:36

You cant always believe what people post


or say if you havent seen or gone through it
yourself.

Alex

Focus Group Interview,


17:19

Theme 2: Emotional Empathy and


Alterations of Confidence in Preference
Quotation

33

Thats a good point, but when the majority


of reactions are the same, there must be
some truth to it, right?

Seluk

Focus Group Interview,


17:31

Outliers can usually be overlooked as they


are rare cases.

Erica

Focus Group Interview,


18:44

I was so happy when I finally got it


[camera]. I uploaded some pictures I took
and tagged Polaroid in it with a thank you
shout out.

Linda

Linda Interview, 28:57

If I am happy with the way my new shoes


look, there is a good chance Ill post a
picture of them to my accounts.

Marko

Marko Interview, 31:41

Of course a company is going to tell you


their product is the best and that you should
order it. But a real, honest review will come
from someone who has nothing to lose a
friend or someone on social media.

Lisa

Lisa Interview, 20:48

Online media posting is like an informed


sales associate that speaks genuinely and
not from cue-cards or using company
lingo.

George

George Interview, 53:48

Participant

Audio-recording Location

I feel like sometimes a company can try to


speak with me too much. They dont need to
force conversation. If I need their input, Ill
let them know.

Lucia

Focus Group Interview,


27:05

I dont know. I want companies to take


away any anxiety confusion or
frustration away by telling me that I am
making the right decision.

Pepe

Focus Group Interview,


29:07

Theme 3: Emotional Encouragement and


Alterations of Trust in Preference
Quotation

34

And it was interesting. The company


knew I had purchased them before,
suggested products to put them in my
shopping cart and showed me they were in
stock. All without me doing a thing.

Marko

Marko Interview, 34:27

No messages were sent to me about


tracking information. I had to figure out all
the information myself.

George

George Interview, 47:31

If I have a complaint, sometimes I want to


tell the company directly so they do not
make the same mistake with someone else. I
want to speak with a human and make sure
they listen.

Alessandro

Focus Group Interview,


32:57

If my complaint is listened too and


addressed quickly, Im more focused and
satisfied with the quick attention rather than
the problem itself.

Tzvetina

Focus Group Interview,


34:03

Participant

Audio-recording Location

Excessive advertising is one of my biggest


pet peeves. A company can damage their
reputation with me, and leave me anxious if
they force something on me I dont want.

Camila

Camila Interview, 9:32

If a company is on the first page when I do


a Google search, I already immediately feel
like they are a brand that is respected and
feel like I would be in secure hands if I
chose them.

Linda

Linda Interview, 10:52

I knew that it was a respected brand, but


still, clicking that proceed to checkout
button was worth 250 and I had to double
check and make sure everything was correct
and secure before I proceeded.

Kilian

Kilian Interview, 32:26

Theme 4: Emotional Encounters and


Alterations of Consumer Satisfaction
Quotation

35

A cluttered website with too many buttons


and links always leaves me confused and
annoyed. I know it could be simpler.

Lisa

Lisa Interview, 39:01

I get annoyed when I have to create an


account for a companys website.

Lisa

Lisa Interview, 40:44

Simple one, two, three browse, select, pay


websites are much more enjoyable to use
than noisy websites.

Camila

Camila Interview, 35:13

If my product arrives and it is not the same


quality mentioned or if they messed up the
order, I will feel betrayed.

Seluk

Focus Group Interview,


42:52

The colorway and comfort of the shoes


keeps me coming back.

Marko

Marko Interview, 35:11

Since it was such a steep price for an


everyday bag, I expected it to last for quite
a while.

Camila

Camila Interview, 38:20

I wanted to try the headphones out


before I bought them.

George

George Interview, 31:05

I went to a store and tested out the camera


first.

Linda

Linda Interview, 11:04

Participant

Audio-recording Location

At the end of another repeat purchase, I


was just as happy as the last time and ready
to share my new look with my friends.

Marko

Marko Interview, 53:06

I was happy with my purchase and the


online experience went just as I hoped.

Camila

Camila Interview, 49:26

Theme 5: Emotional Exchange and


Relationship with Company or Brand
Quotation

36

Purchasing any product online is like an


emotional rollercoaster.

David

Focus Group Interview,


48:21

At the end of an online purchase, Ill


either feel a sense of happiness or regret.
Sometimes both.

Lucia

Focus Group Interview,


50:55

The emotions I feel while shopping online


at any one time determine my mind state
and attitude for the next purchase.

Pepe

Focus Group Interview,


53:34

Appendix VIII: Bracketing of Researcher Bias

I prefer to do my shopping online because it is more convenient and I can save money
I believe emotions change throughout the various stages of the purchasing process
I believe emotions influence and effect consumers rational behavior
I base my online shopping experience on the collective emotions I feel, not just the
final emotion that is experienced
I believe a companys website has a significant impact on the purchasing experience
I believe the online shopping experience is just as important as the products quality
I believe marketing stimuli can add to or take away from the purchasing experience
I believe emotions have an impact on consumer loyalty and the decision-making
process

37

Appendix IX: Semi-structured Interview Recruitment E-mail


Dear [name of person],
How are you doing? I hope all is well on your end.
My name is Joseph Passanisi and Im with Nova School of Business Economics in Lisbon,
Portugal. I am currently recruiting participants for a semi-structured interview that will help
me complete my Masters Thesis and allow me to complete the requirements that will enable
me to receive my Masters certificate in Management. I am designing an interview on the
topic of Online Consumer Behavior purchases and think you would be a great fit. I am
writing to you now to see if you might be interested in participating in an interview.
Id like to speak with students age twenty to twenty-five who have made an online purchase
of over 100 within the last year. Im attempting to talk with someone who is willing to give
me input on their experience and talk about the emotions they felt throughout their entire endto-end experience and the essence of their online experience. It will last for approximately
one hour and will take place at a time and location that you recommend as most convenient
for your schedule
Would you be able to join us? No ________. Yes _________. If you agree to participate, Id
like to send you a conformation letter and consent form just to check everything and allow for
the discussion to be audio-recorded.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and consider participating in this
interview. We look forward to seeing you and hearing about your online shopping
experience.
Best regards,
Joseph Passanisi

38

Appendix X: Semi-structured Interview Follow-Up Recruitment Letter


Dear [name of participant],
Thank you very much for accepting our invitation to talk about online consumer behavior and
online shopping experience. Gaining input from customers perspectives will surely be
helpful and add much value to academic research that has been completed in this topic area. I
am interested in the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that one has during the entire experience
of purchasing an online product.
The one-on-one interview will last for approximately one hour and will take place at a
location, date and time that you recommend as most convenient for your schedule. It will be
just me and you speaking for around one hour.
Location: __________________________
Date:
__________
Time:
__________
If for some reason you wont be able to join me, please call as soon as possible so I can invite
someone else. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to call and let me know at 93
290 3455.
I am looking forward to meeting you and hearing more about your experience.
See you then.
Best regards,
Joseph Passanisi

39

Appendix XI: Semi-structured Interview Consent Form


Joseph Passanisi is conducting a semi-structured interview under the supervision of Nova
School of Business and Economics and you are invited to participate.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to explore the consumer decision journey and online
shopping experience through an emotional perspective. Specifically, we want to understand
unique emotions that are experienced throughout various stages of an online purchase and
how these emotions might influence the decision-making process of consumers as they move
through this experience. I will use this information to add to generate new insights, produce a
unique model and add to the academic research that has already been published in this topic
area.
Procedure: If you participate in this study, you will speaking with me one-on-one. If you
volunteer to participate in this semi-structured interview, you will be asked some questions
relating to your experience with purchasing a product (over 100) online. Questions and
answers provided will help us to better understand the consumer decision journey,
consumers decision-making process, impact of emotions and essence of an online
purchasing experience. Your participation is completely voluntary. You may withdraw from
this study at any time without penalty.
Benefits and Risks: Your participation may benefit you and other students, professors,
academic researchers and organizations by helping create new insights into the area of Online
Consumer Behavior and decision-making processes during an online shopping experience.
No risk greater than those experienced in ordinary conversation are anticipated.
Confidentiality: Data from this study will be analyzed by Joseph Passanisi and reported to
Professor Luis Martinez, as well as the Nova School of Business and Economics Public
Defense Jury. Study records, including this consent from signed by you, may be inspected by
the administrators. The results of this study will be presented at the Public Defense session,
and you may be identified and linked to the results. All information obtained in this study can
be used for public viewing.
Consent: By signing this consent form, you are indicating that you fully understand the
above information, agree to participate in this semi-structured interview and have it audiorecorded.
Participant's signature: ___________________________________________
Printed name:

___________________________________________

Date:

__________

If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact Joseph Passanisi at 93
290 3455 or send an email to Joseph.Passanisi.2014@novasbe.pt
Thank you,
Joseph Passanisi

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Appendix XII: Focus Group Recruitment E-mail


Dear [name of person],
How are you doing? I hope all is well on your end.
My name is Joseph Passanisi and Im with Nova School of Business Economics in Lisbon,
Portugal. I am currently recruiting participants for a conversational group that will help me
complete my Masters Thesis and allow me to complete the requirements that will enable me
to receive my Masters certificate in Management. I am designing a focus group on the topic
of Online Consumer Behavior purchases and think you would be a great fit. I am writing to
you now to see if you might be interested in joining our discussion.
Id like to speak with students age twenty to twenty-five who have made an online purchase
within the last year. Im attempting to gather a small group of nine people who are willing to
give me input on their experience and talk about the emotions they felt throughout their entire
end-to-end experience and the essence of their online experience. It will last for
approximately one hour and will take place at Rua Das Janelas Verdes 13, in Santos, Lisbon,
Portugal.
As a thank you, we will have a few refreshments for giving us your time and ideas.
Would you be able to join us? No ________. Yes _________. If you agree, Id like to send
you a conformation letter and consent form just to check everything and allow for the
discussion to be audio-recorded.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and consider joining our focus group
discussion. We look forward to seeing you at the discussion.
Best regards,
Joseph Passanisi

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Appendix XIII: Focus Group Follow-Up Recruitment Letter


Dear [name of participant],
Thank you very much for accepting our invitation to talk about online consumer behavior and
purchasing decisions. Gaining input from customers perspectives will surely be helpful and
add much value to academic research that has been completed in this topic area. I am
interested in the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that one has during the entire experience of
purchasing an online product.
The focus group discussion will last for approximately one hour and will take place at Rua
Das Janelas Verdes 13, in Santos, Lisbon, Portugal on Monday, November 16th, 2015 at 19h.
It will be a small group of nine people around the same age as yourself. Snacks and drinks
will be provided for all participants.
If for some reason you wont be able to join us, please call as soon as possible so I can invite
someone else. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to call and let me know at 93
290 3455.
I am looking forward to meeting you and the other participants next Monday.
See you then.
Best regards,
Joseph Passanisi

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Appendix XIV: Focus Group Consent Form


Joseph Passanisi is conducting a focus group discussion under the supervision of Nova
School of Business and Economics and is inviting you to participate.
Purpose: The purpose of this discussion is to explore the consumer decision journey and
online shopping experience through an emotional perspective. Specifically, we want to
explore this journey from a first-person perspective and encourage participants to express
their internal conscious observations in detail so we can understand and analyze certain
emotional triggers and changes in their emotional states across this experience. I will use this
information to add to generate new insights, produce a unique model and add to the academic
research that has already been published in this topic area.
Procedure: If you participate in this study, you will be in a group of nine students. There will
be a facilitator who will ask questions and facilitate the discussion, and a note-taker to write
down the ideas expressed within the group. If you volunteer to participate in this focus group,
you will be asked some questions relating to your experience with purchasing a product
online. Questions and answers provided will help us to better understand the consumer
decision journey, consumers decision-making process, impact of emotions and essence of an
online purchasing experience. Your participation is completely voluntary. You may withdraw
from this study at any time without penalty.
Benefits and Risks: Your participation may benefit you and other students, professors,
academic researchers and organizations by helping create new insights into the area of Online
Consumer Behavior and decision-making processes during an online shopping experience.
No risk greater than those experienced in ordinary conversation are anticipated. Privacy must
be respected between all members of the group. All participants will be asked not to disclose
anything said within the context of the discussion, but it is important to understand that other
people in the group with you may not keep all information private and confidential.
Confidentiality: Data from this study will be analyzed by Joseph Passanisi and reported to
Professor Luis Martinez, as well as the Nova School of Business and Economics Public
Defense Jury. Study records, including this consent from signed by you, may be inspected by
the administrators. The results of this study will be presented at the Public Defense session,
and you may be identified and linked to the results. All information obtained in this study can
be used for public viewing.
Consent: By signing this consent form, you are indicating that you fully understand the
above information, agree to participate in this focus group, and agree to have your responses
audio-recorded.
Participant's signature: ___________________________________________
Printed name:

___________________________________________

Date:

__________

If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact Joseph Passanisi at 93
290 3455 or send an email to Joseph.Passanisi.2014@novasbe.pt
Thank you,
Joseph Passanisi

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