Continuous advancements in technology make available a huge number of advanced systems that enhance consumers' in-store experience and shopping activity. In fact, the introduction of in-store technologies such as self-service systems, interactive displays, digital signage, etc. has impacted the retail process in multiple ways, including client-vendor interactions. While in a traditional offline context retailers exploit the development of interpersonal relationships for increasing consumers' trust, loyalty, and satisfaction, in a technology-mediated context this process becomes more difficult. To advance our knowledge and predict the future diffusion of these technologies, it is necessary to answer the following questions: (1) to what extent do consumers trust (physical) retailers' suggestions? and (2) to what extent will consumers substitute the opinion of a physical seller with virtual recommendations? The aim of this chapter is to assess the typology of current existing relationships between vendor (retail staff) and clients, with special emphasis on consumers' trust towards their suggestions. To achieve this goal, the chapter focuses on a comparison of consumers' perception of suggestions proposed by physical friends and suggestions proposed online (e.g. through social networks). The findings provide a benchmark to evaluate current client-vendor and client-social networks relationships and enhance our understanding of the possible substitution of physical vendors by recommendations systems based on advanced technologies.
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Research on Retailer-Consumer Relationship Development|
|Editors||Fabio Musso, Elena Druica|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 31 May 2014|