Doctoral student writing

Experiencing the Customer Journey in Omni Channel Retailing

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Creating and managing a customer experience is becoming a key organisational objective (Lemon and Verhoef, 2016). This increasing focus on customer experience has arisen from the interaction, which customers now have with multiple touchpoints of an organisation and this creates a diverse and more complex customer journey. Customer experience can be considered as holistic in nature by incorporating the customer’s cognitive, emotional, sensory, social, and spiritual responses to all interactions with a firm (Schmitt, Brakus, and Zarantonello, 2015). Within a retail context, customer experience has been defined as a ‘multi-dimensional construct; the customer experience is holistic in nature and involves the customers’ cognitive, affective, emotional, social, and physical responses to the retailer’ (Verhoef et al., 2009, p.32).

The use of multiple channels for consumer shopping is of increasing importance, aided by the availability of enabled smartphones and other devices (Beck and Rygl, 2015). As a result, the multi-channel shopper is fast becoming the mainstream rather than the minority shopper and retail models have changed to accommodate this new consumer (Verhoef, et al., 2016). The notion of ‘channel’ can be identified as a contact point between a customer and a company (Neslin, et al., 2006) although  an examination of recent literature throws up a number of different terms and terminologies around multi-channel including ‘multi’, ‘cross’ and ‘omni’ (Beck and Rygl, 2015, p. 170).  Channels can include the presence of a physical store, a catalogue, the web and other customer access points such as call centres (Neslin, et al., 2006). The literature suggests that most businesses define a retail offering where customers can shop seamlessly across channels as ‘omni-channel retailing’.

Organisations, however, can only design situations that better support customers in co‐creating their desired experiences (Forlizzi and Ford, 2000) so while many elements take part  in shaping the customer experience, it is unlikely the customer recognizes any structure behind it, instead perceiving each experience as a complex but unitary feeling. Consequently, customer experience cannot be designed by organizations, but services can be designed for the customer experience. These changes require firms to integrate multiple business functions, and even external partners, in creating and delivering positive customer experiences (Lemon and Verhoef, 2016). This proposed study addresses a call for research into the customer journey analysis, design and management (Lemon and Verhoef, 2016).


Beck, N. and Rygl, D. (2015) ”Categorization of multiple channel retailing in Multi-, Cross-, and Omni-Channel Retailing for retailers and retailing”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol. 27, pp.170-178.
Forlizzi, J. and Ford, S. (2000), “The building blocks of experience: an early framework for interaction designers”, Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2000), ACM, New York, NY.
Lemon, K.N. and Verhoef, P.C. (2016) Understanding the customer experience throughout the customer journey’. Journal of Marketing, 80 (nov), pp. 69-96.
Neslin, S.A., Grewal, D., Leghorn, R., Shankar, V., Teerling, M.L., Thomas, J.S., Verhoef, P.C. (2006) “Challenges and opportunities in multichannel customer management”, Journal of Service Research, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.95-112.
Schmitt, B H. Brakus, J and Zarantonello, L. (2015), “From Experiential Psychology to Consumer Experience,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25 (January), 166–71.Verhoef, P., Lemon, K., Parasuraman, A., Roggeveen, A., Tsiros, M., Schlesinger, L. (2009) “Customer Experience Creation: Determinants, Dynamics and Management Strategies”, Journal of Retailing, Vol. 85 No.1, pp.31-41.


Dr Sheilagh Resnick

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

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How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

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Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

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This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

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Sheilagh Resnick