Supervisor: Dr Tamira King

Customers are becoming more powerful, more knowledgeable and more sophisticated, and research into modern consumer behaviour is increasingly important for the retailing sector.  Research into retailing and how to attract consumers via better environments, service and policies is an important area of research to improve today’s consumer experience to help better understand our modern society and to support retailing organisations to attract and retain customers.

There are several exciting areas for doctoral research in this fast-growing field with a huge potential contribution to both theory and practice:

  • Deshopping/Unethical Consumer Behaviour: Deshopping is the buying and returning of something after it has fulfilled its purpose e.g. buying a suit for interview and returning it afterwards.  This is unethical consumer behaviour.  With the growth of online shopping and returns, deshopping online requires further investigation.  How can we measure online deshopping?  How can we reduce deshopping in retailers?  How does deshopping fit with other 'naughty' behaviours?  How do these behaviours fit with different ethical perspectives?  How do organisations address this?  Are their differences in deshopping across cultures?  How do retailers manage complaining behaviours?
  • Customer Service: How do consumers actually perceive the modern customer service experience?  How can this be improved?
  • Retail Atmospherics: How does the retailing environment influence shopping behaviour?
  • Independent Retail Customer Service: Do small retailers have better expertise and closer relationships with customers and therefore a better experience?  How can small retailers improve their service?
  • Unethical Consumer Behaviour: How can we measure unethical consumer behaviour?  What are the latest tricks customers are up to?  How do retailers reduce shrinkage?  How do organisations measure and manage this?
  • Online Consumer Behaviour: With the growth of online shopping there is much research to be conducted in this area. 

Interests of my Current and Past Doctoral Students

  • Digital music piracy
  • E Banking and technology acceptance
  • Eco friendly and sustainable retail
  • Sustainable returns for retailers and consumers

These doctoral research areas could be researched using qualitative or quantitative techniques.

Candidate Profile

Candidates should ideally have some retail or marketing experience; however, candidates from other disciplines may be considered.  A Masters Degree in marketing and understanding of research methodology is desirable but not obligatory.  Candidates with interests in this area and working within this field are invited to make contact with Dr Tamira King setting out a preliminary research agenda as a guide to discussion and indicating what reading you have so far done around your topic.

Retailed Focused Project Invitations

Should any retailer be interested in suggesting a research project based on an issue they would like addressing or in relation to any of the above topics, they are also invited to make contact with Dr Tamira King to discuss how we could co-create a research project that can be investigated with academic rigour and this may lead to important findings for you, whilst helping to ensure that our retail research is developing in line with current retailing issues.