Customer experience formation in e-commerce

Main funder

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 20 000,00

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/07/2019

Project end date: 30/06/2020


In today's competitive business landscape, good customer experience is at the core of every successful company. As today's customers can buy nearly anything, anytime, anywhere, and can easily compare and evaluate different companies that sell the services or products they need, market domination has shifted from companies to customers. With this change in the business environment, customer experience has become one of the most vital facets of marketing research in the 21st century, and countless studies have engaged with the customer experience to measure and define it. Studies have highlighted positive customer experience as the primary contributor to a company's competitive advantage, profitability, and differentiation from competitors. However, while the importance of customer experience has been noted, previous studies have examined it predominantly from the firm’s perspective, focusing on company- and outcome-centric approaches, especially in service research. Truly customer-driven reviews, in which the formation of the customer experience is viewed through the customer lens without company-driven constraints or metrics, are particularly absent in the context of e-commerce. Therefore, this dissertation investigates customer experience formation from the customer’s viewpoint, defining customer experience as a mental picture—a collage of meanings—constructed in the customer's mind. The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of how customers construct their experience cognitively in the context of e-commerce during online store visits and online shopping journeys. The dimensions and components of customer experience formation are examined through three independent studies that investigate the issue conceptually and empirically [interviews (N = 16), essays (N = 18), and a survey (N = 325)]. As a result, conceptual and empirical conceptualizations of customer experience formation are suggested. The first conceptualization introduces the new theoretical approach of sensemaking to study customer experience. Based on the sensemaking theory, the conceptualization concludes that customer experience formation includes 1) self-related, 2) sociomaterial, 3) retrospective, and 4) prospective sensemaking. The second, empirical conceptualization identifies subjects of customers' meaning creation processes and recognizes five dimensions in customer experience formation in e-commerce, being 1) dyadic, 2) personal, 3) social, 4) contextual, and 5) multilateral. The findings increase the understanding of customer experience formation by emphasizing its multidimensionality and complexity. It is concluded that the customer experience is not the customer's mental picture of a company but rather the wider mental picture associated with the company. The meanings included in the cus-tomer experience can be directly linked to the firm, but customers also actively consider and eval-uate other companies, themselves, current phenomena, and other people when constructing their customer experience. These multidimensional considerations bring different nuances to the cus-tomer experience and determine whether the customer experience is, for example, positive or negative in tone. By studying the different dimensions of customer experience formation and identifying customers' meaning creation processes, marketers are in a better position to design and deliver personalized and relevant offerings that encourage positive customer experience formation. Investigating customer experience formation through the customer perspective allows a deeper understanding of what is ultimately relevant, meaningful, and valuable to customers, which can be utilized in service design and the development of new customer-centric business models.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

Free keywords

Asiakaskokemus, verkkokauppa

Related publications and other outputs

Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:43