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Customer Engagement

A study of consumers interaction with fashion brands on social media

Written by Isabelle Bylund, Susanne Lindgren

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Communication & Media




Master Thesis: Customer participation Customer participation means that customers are interacting and participating with the brand, and become co-creators by interacting with the content posted by the brand on social media (Guo et al. 2016). Interactions on social media include responding to content, such as likes, comments, sharing with others, and posting user-generated content (such as product reviews) (Barger et al., 2016). However, as mentioned above in this article, there is still a gap in two-way communication on social media, because the willingness of customers to participate is different from the preference of the brand perspective (Hollebeek & Chen 2014). According to Hollebeek and Chen (2014), customer engagement may have multiple results. Mass participation can increase positive and negative views of an object, such as a company, brand, or product (Hollebeek & Chen 2014). Rissanen & Luoma-Aho (2016) explained that it has been shown that actively participating customers can better understand the brand and brand reputation. Other positive results of customer engagement are loyalty, empowerment, emotional bond and connection with the brand (Rissanen & Luoma-Aho 2016). Customer participation may lead to purchase intentions and decision-making, thereby creating higher sales and profit opportunities (Barger et al., 2016). Negative participation is related to failure expectations, personal values ​​and emotions (Rissanen & Luoma-Aho 2016). Social media brings more control and power to consumers because it opens up communication, allowing consumers to share their opinions and influence others with their positive and negative attitudes and emotions (Kontu & Vecchi 2014). 2.3 Motivation of Customer Participation There are many reasons why customers choose to participate. According to previous research, priority motivations have been shown to be personal interests, entertainment, rewards, and information acquisition and sharing (Rissanen & Luoma-Aho 2016; Barger et al. 2016). According to Rissanen & Luoma-Aho (2016), it is said that attracting customers is a personal benefit. Personal interest is based on self-driven motivation. If the content is attractive to consumers’ personal motivations, they will be more encouraged to interact (Rissanen & Luoma-Aho 2016). In addition, Merrilees (2016) explained that customers of hedonic companies, such as fashion brands, are most likely to participate in the brands they are passionate about. Enthusiasm for the brand encourages them to provide feedback and actively communicate. The possibility of consumers sharing content goes further from the content itself to the brand, and is therefore affected by brand attitudes (Barger et al., 2016). 2.4 Purchase intention from customer participation According to Smith et al. (2016) Buying behavior is a response to pre-purchase stimuli. These stimuli make consumers feel like they want to buy products. Therefore, the pre-purchase stimulus is regarded as the intention to purchase the product, that is, the purchase intention. Smith et al. (2016) defines purchase intention as "consumer's subjective judgment in the decision-making process after comprehensive assessment and determination of the willingness to take action on the product or brand". Purchasing intention is used as a predictive indicator of purchasing behavior, so it can be linked to the company's sales forecast. Hutter, Hautz, Dennhardt, and Fuller (2013) claim that brands play an important role in the purchase decision of consumers' intentions. Fernandes and Esteves (2016) explained that when consumers have a good impression of a product or brand, they increase the probability of having a positive behavioral response to it. Content on social media can bring entertainment and satisfy consumers (Margrath and McCormick 2013). Hart et al. (2013) described that by satisfying content on social media, consumers can identify needs and stimulate purchases. In addition, Margrath and McCormick (2013) pointed out that consumers can find products or brands that appeal to their emotions in the content, thereby responding to purchase intentions. According to Margrath and McCormick (2013), price promotions may be an effective tool to increase purchase willingness. Online discounts have been proven to boost sales because vouchers will incentivize consumers to shop online (Margrath & McCormick 2013). From the perspective of competition as a reward, Hollebeek, Conduit, and Brodie (2016) mean that the competition allows consumers to actively participate and think about goals related to personal branding, which is the driving force of purchase intent. According to two of Gupta (2016)-due to easy access to product information and reviews, communication methods are having an impact on consumers' buying behavior. Sashi (2012) claimed that purchasing decisions may be influenced by social media activities because websites provide consumers with product information that promotes purchasing intentions. Social media also provides consumers with a wide range of networks to evaluate and compare alternatives (Song & Yoo 2016). According to Elwalda, Lu and Ali (2016), when consumers evaluate product information before purchasing, they trust information from their peers rather than communicating with brands online. According to Barger et al. (2016) This information is usually used to make informed purchasing decisions. Read Less