Do connected town-centre shopping journeys improve town-centre patronage?

Majd AbedRabbo, Cathy Hart, Fiona Ellis–Chadwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this study is to explore the role played by digital channel integration in the town-centre shopping experience. It also explores how customers perceive the role of digital in the town-centres shopping journeys, improves shopping experiences and encourages positive future patronage behaviour. Ultimately, the aim is to identify the likely implications of a connected shopping experience on patronage intentions.

A qualitative research design using focus groups to explore customers' perceptions of connected town-centre shopping experiences was deployed. Then, data were analysed using thematic analysis to identify overarching themes.

Digital integration has the potential to serve discreetly different functions in the town-centre context: create interconnected information channels, facilitate improved connected shopping experiences, generate positive perceptions of a town, which subsequently shape future patronage intentions. The study also revealed expectations of digital integration are yet to be fully realised in the town-centre context and there are tensions between physical and digital domains to be overcome if digital integration is to positively influence patronage intentions.

Research limitations/implications
The nature of exploratory research tends to pose questions and open out a problem rather than provide definitive answers. This study has sought to highlight key issues and also provide points of departure for future studies. The significance and generalisability of the results are limited by the size and nature of the sample.

This study provides theoretical contribution to the town-centre literature by expanding the understanding of consumers' perceptions of the role of digital integration in shopping journey experiences and unlocks insights into its potential impact on future patronage intentions. Practical considerations for integrating digital in the town centre to create more connected shopping experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1212
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Retail & Distribution Management
Issue number8
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • shopping experience
  • connected experience
  • digital integration
  • town centre


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