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Title: An investigation of the relationship between product haptic accessibility and consumer response : a brand perspective
Author: Karangi, Sheena Wanjiku
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 8958
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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Consumers generally like touching products before buying and prior research indicates that touching influences the purchase decision-making process (e.g. McCabe & Nowlis, 2003; Peck & Childers, 2003a; Peck & Johnson, 2011; Peck & Shu, 2009; Webb & Peck, 2015). For example, touching products has a positive effect on consumer attitudes, intentions and behaviours and these effects seem to vary by product category, situational context and need for touch. Touch research however has principally received scant attention and is one of the most under researched senses in behavioural research (Spence & Gallace, 2011). Consumers consider both product and brand name when making purchase decisions (Raju, 1977) yet despite continuous calls from researchers for the investigation of effects of brand on product touch, research in this area has not been forthcoming. This might in part be due to limited theory and conceptualizations in the emergent area of product touch therefore resulting in a lower level of understanding regarding how it and brand name could interact. Responding to these calls for research (Grohmann et al., 2007; Jansson-Boyd, 2011; Peck & Childers, 2003a; Peck, 2010), this research project aims at developing a richer understanding of the influence of product touch by examining the moderating effects of brand familiarity and brand status, on the relationship between product touch and product evaluation, purchase intentions, confidence in judgement and willingness to pay. Essentially, the research extends brand familiarity, brand status, product knowledge and contagion theory literature to the emerging field of sensory marketing, specifically related to product touch. Sheena W. Karangi PhD Thesis 2017 Page ii Adopting an experimental factorial between subjects design, findings from two experiments make five key contributions to knowledge: 1) This research project advances knowledge by conceptualizing previously unexplored relationships between three key areas of literature, namely product touch, brand familiarity and brand status (luxury brands). Conceptual advances are critical to the vitality of the marketing discipline (MacInnis, 2011). 2) It takes an innovative view to extending sensory marketing literature on product touch by examining boundary conditions for touch effects beyond just product categorization (brand familiarity, brand status). 3) Adds to the brand familiarity literature by providing empirical support for a negative brand familiarity effect. 4) It extends the concept of need for touch to brand literature, identifying contexts in which it effects still apply (brand familiarity) and where it surprisingly does not (brand status). 5) In extending contagion theory to brand literature, it is one of the first studies to show a brand contagion effect and furthermore, demonstrate its activation through product touch. Practical implications, limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed in detail in Chapter 7.
Supervisor: Bian, Xuemei ; Lowe, Ben Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral