Influence of online sensory branding experiences on brand loyalty in South Africa

Dr Gabriella Berman, Dr Adéle Potgieter, Prof Madele Tait

Vol 19 | Issue 1 pp. 56-74


E-commerce is becoming one of the most popular forms of online activity. However, as online shopping increases, consumer commitment to brands decreases. To remedy this, brands are creating memorable brand experiences, of which specifically sensory experiences have been highlighted within the skincare brand of industry. There is a dearth of sensory branding being implemented online, which can be viewed as a forgone opportunity in a marketing context. The study aimed to investigate the sensory experiences desired by customers in South Africa when purchasing skincare products online, and the effects thereof on brand loyalty. This study made use of a positivistic research paradigm and a descriptive research design. The sampling procedure utilised in this study was non-probability sampling and the technique used was convenience sampling. The sample comprised of 321 consumers who had purchased skincare online at the time of the study and a web-based self-administered questionnaire, distributed via a link on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as by distributing the questionnaire via email to an existing mailing list, was used to collect the data. Once the data was collected, both descriptive and inferential statistics were utilised to analyse and interpret the data. The results of the study indicate that South African consumers are seeking sensory experiences online, and that digital visual, tactile and olfactory stimuli are especially sought after. It is therefore recommendable that skincare brands make use of strategies such as GIFs, “unboxing” videos, affordable sample packs and instalment payments.

Key words: Sensory branding; multi-sensory experiences; brand loyalty; digital sensory branding; skincare branch of industry

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