Non-verbal Customer-to-Customer Interaction in Retail Setting: An Investigation of Indirect Effects of Perceived Customer Similarity on Important Marketing Outcomes
The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the causal effects of similarity among customers in retail mall settings on four outcome variables: intent to stay, satisfaction, word-of-mouth generation and repurchase intention. Using structural equation modeling, we tested both direct and mediated effects. Results indicate significant direct influence in the direct model and significant indirect influence in the mediated model. The study suggests that similarity with other customers has a significant influence on outcome variables. Therefore, mall managers should measure and monitor consumers’ perceptions of similarity and enhance these similarities whenever appropriate and feasible. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to test a causal model in order to understand the effects of mere presence of other customers’ retail setting. However, care should be taken when generalizing from student data.