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

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  • Uhrich, Sebastian
  • Tombs, Alastair

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Uhrich, Sebastian & Tombs, Alastair, 2014. "Retail customers' self-awareness: The deindividuation effects of others," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(7), pages 1439-1446.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:67:y:2014:i:7:p:1439-1446
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2013.07.023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:eee:joreco:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-481, December.
    6. repec:eee:aumajo:v:18:y:2010:i:3:p:120-131 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Albrecht, Kathrin, 2016. "Understanding the effects of the presence of others in the service environment: A literature review," jbm - Journal of Business Market Management, Free University Berlin, Marketing Department, vol. 9(1), pages 541-563.

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