Examining the Influence of User-Generated Content on the Fashion Consumer Online Experience

Delia Vazquez, Jenny Cheung, Bang Nguyen, Charles Dennis, Anthony Kent

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The rapid growth of UK online retailing coupled with the growth of social media (SM) has transformed UK fashion retail (Nash, 2019). Online retailers such as ASOS have expanded market share, by developing effective social media strategies including ‘Social Shopping’ techniques (Nash, 2019, Olbrich, 2012). Social shopping is defined as an extension of traditional e-commerce (Zhang and Benyoucef, 2016). Social shopping platforms support user-generated content and user interactions, in contrast to the traditional shopping practices of e-commerce where consumers shop individually (Zhang and Benyoucef, 2016, Vazquez et al., 2020). Social shopping advances have challenged fashion marketers to modernise marketing practices by developing a range of user-generated social shopping activities to increase consumer interaction via sharing of user generated content (UGC) in blog style platforms (Jin and Ryu, 2019, Hollebeek et al, 2019, Connell et al, 2019, Liu et al., 2016, Dulabh et al., 2017, Miell et al., 2018). A notable characteristic of fashion UGC is ‘Looks’ features, which are defined as photographs of individuals in a styled setting (McQuarrie et al., 2013). ‘Looks’ (fashion UGC) are a visual self-presentation of the users style and a display of taste (Halliday, 2016, McQuarrie et al., 2013). Clothing worn by a user in a social shopping context, is an exhibition of taste; in contrast, a 2D retailer clothing web image is perceived as a product representation (McQuarrie et al., 2013). Consequently, the display of user generated content (‘Looks’ images) form powerfully engaging fashion retail content. Fashion retailers are increasingly adopting visual UGC practices, however there is a lack of research that empirically examines the impact of visual UGC on consumers’ experiences (e.g., Choi et al., 2016, Koivisto and Mattila, 2018, Cheung and Vazquez, 2015). Thus, the purpose of this paper is to answer the following research questions. Firstly, in what ways does visual UGC affect the consumer experience? Secondly, how important are aesthetic and relational experiences for fashion consumers? Thirdly, how do these constructs affect emotional and flow experiences for fashion consumers?
This paper seeks to add to the experiential research of Rose et al (2012) and (Pentina et al 2011). There has been a body of work examining the dimensionality of flow in human-computer interactions (Liu et al., 2016) however there is a research gap between flow and dimensions of experience. There is a second research gap between online retail experiential research and emerging social commerce research (Djaforova et al. ,2017 and Kim and Johnson, 2016). The third research gap that this paper addresses is analysis of the experiential link with visual stimuli on social platforms. Djaforova et al (2017)’s instagram study called for further research on social platforms in relation to visual communication. Kawaf and Tagg (2017) called for research that examined consumer experience within fashion social commerce. This paper addresses these calls and analyses three interlinked research gaps, the online retail experience, the aesthetic influence on consumer experience and the lack of visual UGC consumer experience studies.
The study takes a holistic approach to exploring consumer experiences derived from existing studies on customer experiences (Hollebeek and Macky, 2019, Hollebeek et al., 2014, Brodie et al. 2011, Pentina et al. 2011, Rose et al., 2012, Schmitt and Zarantonello, 2013; Schmitt, 1999); and seeks to examine empirically fashion consumers’ aesthetic, emotional, relational, cognitive and interactive experiential responses as intervening internal states which mediate online shopping intentions. The research aims are: first to examine the impact of the ‘Looks’ visual user-generated feature on fashion consumers’ experiential online shopping behaviour. Second to test a model of consumers’ experiential responses as an intervening internal state, which mediates online shopping intentions using a quantitative approach. Third to develop managerial implications and recommendations for retailers’ use of user generated content within the fashion e-commerce environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)0
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Early online date22 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020


  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Consumer behavioural evolvement, behavioural segmentation, promotion, exploration and exploitation, retailing, store scanner data
  • Social commerce
  • Online consumer experience
  • Relational experience
  • User generated content
  • Aesthetic experience


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