Experience Infusion: How to Improve Customer Experience with Incidental Activities

Mathew Chylinski, Ashish Sinha, David Sugianto Lie, and William Neill, 2017, 17-106-03

The consumption of experiences has become a selling point for brands, yet many brand interactions are not intrinsically enjoyable. Redesigning marketing systems such as online retail stores, which traditionally rely on mundane and effortful customer decision making (e.g., search, evaluation, payment, and delivery) can be costly and may sometimes adversely affect the quality of customer decisions.

Here, Mathew Chylinski, Ashish Sinha, David Sugianto Lie, and William Neill investigate an alternative approach, “experience infusion,” in which positive experiences, which may be incidental or outside of the decision process, compensate for the negative experience of transaction costs during decision making.

They test a panel dynamic system of equations using a Bayesian (MCMC) approach to capture the simultaneous interaction between different activities and experiences over time. They find that the infusion of an intrinsically enjoyable but incidental activity, such as gameplay, with a principal-agent conjoint task improves the overall experience of the decision task and increases the accuracy of the decision making.

For managers, these findings imply that a “plug and play” approach can improve customer experience—resulting in greater long-term satisfaction—without the exhaustive redesign of an established marketing system. Splicing an extended shopping experience with short, enjoyable diversions should work online and in brick and mortar contexts. For instance, in a supermarket shopping aisle, interspersing utilitarian products (for example, dishwashing liquids) with a few hedonic products (for example, home fragrances) could be a simple way to manage customer experience in that section of the store.

Mathew Chylinski is Senior Lecturer of Marketing, UNSW Business School, University of New South Wales. Ashish Sinha is Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean (Research and Development), UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney. William Neill is Co-founder & Director, Venture Capital & Private Equity, Sydney. David Lie is a Doctoral Candidate of Marketing, UNSW Business School, University of New South Wales.

The authors thank Ujwal Kayande for providing comments and suggestions to improve the research.

Financial disclosure
The authors acknowledge partial financial support from the Australian Research Council (Grant DP120103690), and the UNSW Experimental Research Laboratory the BizLab annual research grant.

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Consumer Search Behavior on the Mobile Internet: An Empirical Analysis
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