Welcome to this new issue of our journal, a thoughtful exploration into the diverse and ever-changing spheres of consumer behavior, digital integration, and retail strategies across a range of industries and regions. With a special focus on the African and Bangladeshi markets, this issue elegantly marries empirical studies with literature reviews to offer a comprehensive understanding of these subjects.

Our journey begins within Johannesburg’s sports apparel market, as we unravel the factors molding purchasing behavior. This investigation provides an invaluable roadmap for businesses to navigate and compete within this demanding environment. The conversation continues as we spotlight the role of user-generated content on consumer-based brand equity, using Cape Metropole’s major retailers as our case study. A glimpse into how today’s consumers interact with and shape brand identities in our hyperconnected era. Further probing the digital landscape, we scrutinize the impact of a range of factors — from security to audio-visual quality, time-saving orientation, relative advantage, and trust — on the purchase intention within fast food websites. This insightful exploration demystifies the digital customer journey and the push-pull dynamics that underpin online consumer decision-making. Next, we navigate the South African market to examine the influence of online sensory branding experiences on brand loyalty. This pioneering study offers an understanding of the multifaceted online experiences that cultivate brand loyalty. Transitioning to the Bangladeshi online retail scene, an empirical study interrogates the factors affecting customers’ online purchasing intentions. The findings from this emerging digital market will resonate with similar markets worldwide. This issue also dives into the dynamic realm of fintech, predicting consumer adoption factors of chatbots within South Africa’s banking industry. This timely exploration comes amidst the rapid digital transformation sweeping the financial industry. Subsequently, we present a meticulously crafted review and meta-analysis on the critical retail service factors found in literature. This synthesis serves as a rich resource for industry stakeholders and academics, illuminating the cornerstones of successful retail services. Concluding our issue, a comparative study provides nuanced insights into the perceived risks of purchasing Over The Counter (OTC) drugs from pharmacies at varying levels of digitalization. This study unveils the intricate relationship between healthcare and digitalization, presenting a new perspective on consumer risk perceptions.

In sum, this issue presents a panoramic view of consumer behavior and digital transformation across diverse industries and global landscapes. We trust that these scholarly contributions will spark inspiration and catalyze further dialogue on these significant topics.