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Retail customers' self-awareness: The deindividuation effects of others

  • Uhrich, Sebastian
  • Tombs, Alastair
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    The presence of others often affects retail shopping behavior. Other customers tend to increase one's self-awareness and cause negative self-conscious emotions. This research's findings suggest fellow customers also mitigate focal customers' evaluative concerns. Deindividuation theory, which posits that other customers create anonymity and reduce self-awareness, helps explain this phenomenon. A laboratory experiment and a quasi-experimental field study in a retail setting support the notion that the presence of other customers creates a deindividuation effect on a focal customer during unwanted social evaluation from salespeople. Results show a small group of other customers resulted in lower levels of emotional discomfort and behavioral inhibition than either an empty store or a larger group size, suggesting a U shape relationship.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296313002968
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Business Research.

    Volume (Year): 67 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 1439-1446

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:67:y:2014:i:7:p:1439-1446
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusres

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    1. Eroglu, Sevgin A. & Machleit, Karen & Barr, Terri Feldman, 2005. "Perceived retail crowding and shopping satisfaction: the role of shopping values," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(8), pages 1146-1153, August.
    2. Kyoungmi Lee & Hakkyun Kim & Kathleen D. Vohs, 2011. "Stereotype Threat in the Marketplace: Consumer Anxiety and Purchase Intentions," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 343 - 357.
    3. Jennifer J. Argo & Darren W. Dahl & Rajesh V. Manchanda, 2005. "The Influence of a Mere Social Presence in a Retail Context," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 207-212, 09.
    4. Dahl, Darren W & Manchanda, Rajesh V & Argo, Jennifer J, 2001. " Embarrassment in Consumer Purchase: The Roles of Social Presence and Purchase Familiarity," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-81, December.
    5. He, Yi & Chen, Qimei & Alden, Dana L., 2012. "Consumption in the public eye: The influence of social presence on service experience," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 302-310.
    6. Pan, Yue & Siemens, Jennifer Christie, 2011. "The differential effects of retail density: An investigation of goods versus service settings," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 105-112, February.
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