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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14119
Understanding consumers' channel choice in omni-channel retail environments - case Tokmanni
Author: Lehikoinen, Iida-Maria
Title: Understanding consumers' channel choice in omni-channel retail environments - case Tokmanni
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; päätöksenteko; decision making; kauppa; commerce; vähittäiskauppa; retail trade; shoppailu; shopping
Pages: 94
Key terms: retailing; retail trade; consumer behavior; omni-channel retail; multichannel retail; channel choice; buying process

The retailing landscape has been evolving drastically over the past years due to technological developments and changes in consumer behavior. As a result, many retailers have increased the number of retail channels as they seek to reach consumers through, for example, online and mobile channels in addition to the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The current theoretical paradigm of omni-channel retailing is based on seamless, perfectly integrated channel mixes where the boundaries of digital and physical retailing are blurred. The purpose of this thesis was to study how consumers make channel choices within these new settings, and whether their channel choices vary across different stages of the buying process. The study was conducted as a case study for the Finnish general discounter Tokmanni.


The empirical part of the research consisted of ten semi-structured thematic interviews. The interviewees were customers of the case company who had diverse experiences of shopping at either the physical store, online or both. In order to screen suitable interviewees, pre-interviewees were conducted. The research philosophy applied in the study was interpretativism and constructivism. Interview data was analyzed using content analysis and thematic coding. Abductive approach was adopted for the data analysis to enable interplay of existing theory and the data.


The main finding was the potential connection of the customer-retailer relationship and channel choice: the findings suggest that a positive relationship with the retailer drives the use of multiple channels and encourages omni-channel shopping behavior throughout the buying process. Three different consumer groups were distinguished based on their channel choice behavior and relationship with the retailer: channel mixers, traditional shoppers and online shoppers. Furthermore, we found that consumers' channel choice is also affected by factors including customers' value orientation, their existing shopping knowledge and the product about to be purchased.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.