ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-02022019-112316

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Virtual reality or real virtuality? The impact of digital retailing on consumer perceptions between virtual and physical channels
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Corso di studi
tutor Prof. Aiello, Gaetano
Parole chiave
  • digital retailing
  • retail brand image
  • shopping values
  • virtual reality
  • retailing management
Data inizio appello
Data di rilascio
Riassunto analitico
This doctoral thesis falls within the area of digital retailing, a topic which has been greatly debated in the last few years and which is, undoubtedly, characterized by blurred boundaries. The relevant literature acknowledges the digitalization of retail, and the birth of the so-called ‘multichannel retailing’, which then evolved into ‘omnichannel retailing’. Exhibiting significant scientific interest, a considerable number of topics have been addressed and explored within this vast and not very well delimited line of research. Within this framework, the present work aims to identify the boundaries of digital retailing and to thoroughly analyze the impact of a new channel, namely the virtual one, on both consumers' perceptions, as well as on the overall perception of the store brand which adopts this virtual reality technology. To this end, the present project comprises three different papers, with each one making an essential contribution towards achieving the research objectives of this doctoral thesis. More precisely, the first paper defines the concept of ‘digital retailing’ and traces its evolution over time by identifying the majority of research topics associated with it, together with the lines of future research for each research strand identified. In the second paper, and in alignment with one of the macro themes identified in the first one, I analyze the role of a technology or tool, that of virtual reality as an alternative sales channel with regard to consumer perceptions. Lastly, in the third paper, I examine and further elaborate on the influence of virtual reality as an alternative sales channel, but, at the same time, evaluating its effects on the retailer brand image. In order to introduce the papers of this doctoral thesis and to outline the leitmotif of the thesis, the theoretical background and the state of current research on the topic are provided in the following section. As it will be highlighted in the theoretical background, retail management has emerged in recent years from the advent of multi-channel retailing, developing from cross-channel and omni-channel retailing to the digitalization of retail with the introduction of numerous digital technologies, especially in physical stores. Subsequently, the structure of this thesis, the research questions addressed and the thesis aims will be explained. Finally, following the analysis of the three pivotal papers of the current thesis, the conclusions and implications for the theory and practice will be presented, along with the limitations of this work.