Merchandising/Marketing/Retailing: Branding

Does social presence matter in a VR apparel store? A nonlinear relationship among human crowdedness, social presence, store image, and satisfaction

Authors
  • Ziyou Jiang (University of Georgia)
  • Ryan Fernandez (University of Georgia)
  • Yujun Lin (University of Georgia)
  • Heejin Lim (University of Tennessee)
  • Jewon Lyu orcid logo (University of Georgia)

Abstract

Human crowding has been extensively researched as a crucial atmospheric cue in physical retail stores, with studies indicating that high levels of human crowding can have both positive and negative effects on consumers’ shopping experiences. While the importance of social presence in VR store environments has been acknowledged by researchers, empirical evidence remains limited. To address this gap, this study investigates how perceived human crowding, represented by the number of individuals in graphic form, influences consumers’ perceptions and shopping satisfaction in VR store environments. A total of 55 responses were analyzed from a between-subject experiment with three conditions of human crowdedness (high, moderate, and low). Curvilinear regression analysis using SPSS was conducted to test the proposed hypotheses. The results support an inverted U-shaped relationship between human crowdedness, consumers’ sense of social presence, VR apparel store image, and satisfaction. These findings enrich the literature by extending the applications of Social Presence Theory and Inference Theory to VR shopping environments and by offering guidance to businesses on implementing optimal VR apparel store designs with a moderate number of avatars.

Keywords: Virtual reality (VR), human crowdedness, store image, social presence, satisfaction

How to Cite:

Jiang, Z., Fernandez, R., Lin, Y., Lim, H. & Lyu, J., (2024) “Does social presence matter in a VR apparel store? A nonlinear relationship among human crowdedness, social presence, store image, and satisfaction”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 80(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/itaa.17342

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Published on
23 Jan 2024
Peer Reviewed