n The Retail and Marketing Review - The off-line retail experience : a suggested integrated framework

Volume 15 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1817-4426


Customer experiences are replacing commoditized products and services as organizational differentiators. However, providing superior customer experiences is hampered by two concerns. Firstly, the experience construct remains an elusive concept and secondly, scholars postulate that organizations cannot deliver experiences. Instead, for a memorable experience to result, organizations have to act as conduits in ensuring appropriate stimuli and conditions for customers to help create their own experiences. To this effect, the current study set out to explore the experience concept with the aim of providing a holistic definition of customer experience and the identification of its core elements. This in turn led to the proposal of an experience framework with three important building blocks: the experience-scape, personalization and co-creation. A stimulating experience environment that evokes desired customer emotions and responses paves the way for personalizing the experience in terms of entertainment, education, esthetics and escape. Personalization depends on the extent to which customers desire to passively observe, or become immersed in the experience. The combination of the experience-scape and the level of personalization sets the scene for collaboration between the organization and the customer in co-creating value. The value derived from such experiences far exceeds the value provided by products and services. The resulting integrated framework is of particular relevance to off-line retailers who not only have to compete with similar stores and with on-line retailers, but also face the reality that even the retail outlet has become standardized and commoditized.

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