Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Student in Business Management, Faculty of Management and Economics, Research Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management and Economics, Research Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran

4 Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty of Management and Economics, Research Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Social experience as an interdisciplinary subject in the field of economic and social sciences has a valuable function in evaluating the performance of businesses in interaction with customers. In the store sales department, customerschr(chr('39')39chr('39')) social experience has been considered by marketing researchers as an important factor in gaining a competitive advantage. This study investigates the role of different levels of customer density (focusing on Low density) on the social experiences of customers in shopping centers and malls trip. This study uses a qualitative phenomenological approach to examine the lived experience of professional participants in referring to shopping centers and malls. Participants were selected from professional clients to stores located in shopping centers using the snowball method. Data were collected using 15 in-depth and semi-structured interviews and continued until the data were saturated. Data analysis was performed using the content analysis method in three levels of open coding, subtopics extraction and finally obtaining the main themes of the research with the help of Atlas software. At the data analysis level, concepts and categories (sub-themes) and main themes were extracted through the process of continuous data comparison. Result of the research included 21 sub-themes along with their positive and negative aspects. All sub-themes were classified into 8 main themes (multi-purpose urban destinations, behavioral interaction with sellers, social communication, personality approaches, and customer similarity levels, brand trustworthiness, social influence of high density, and customer social experience of low density).


]1[           Van Rompay, T. J., Krooshoop, J., Verhoeven, J. W., & Pruyn, A. T. (2012). With or without you: Interactive effects of retail density and need for affiliation on shopping pleasure and spending. Journal of business research, 65(8), 1126-1131.
[2]          Grewal, D., Levy, M., & Kumar, V. (2009). Customer experience management in retailing: An organizing framework. Journal of retailing, 85(1), pp. 1-14.
[3] Zhang, X., Li, S., Burke, R. R., & Leykin, A. (2014). An examination of social influence on shopper behavior using video tracking data. Journal of Marketing, 78(5), pp. 24-41.
[4] Uhrich, S., Luck, M., (2012) not too many but also not too few exploring the explanatory mechanisms for the negative effect flow customer density in retail settings. Qualitative Market Research, 15(3), pp.290-308.
[5] Spence C., Puccinelli N.M., Grewal Dhruv, Anne L. R. (2014). Store Atmospherics: A Multisensory Perspective. Journal of psychology marketing, 31(7), pp. 472–488.
[6] Helkkula, A., Kelleher, C., & Pihlström, M. (2012). Characterizing value as an experience: implications for service researchers and managers. Journal of service research, 15(1), pp. 59-75.
[7] Moore, R., Moore, M. L., & Capella, M. (2005). The impact of customer‐to‐customer interactions in a high personal contact service setting. Journal of Services Marketing, 19(7), pp. 482 – 491.
[8] Borges, A., Chebat, J. C., & Babin, B. J. (2010). Does a companion always enhance the shopping experience?. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 17(4), pp.294-299.
[9] Byun, S. E., & Mann, M. (2011). The influence of others: The impact of perceived human crowding on perceived competition, emotions, and hedonic shopping value. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 29(4), pp.284-297.
[10] Machleit, K. A., Eroglu, S. A., & Mantel, S. P. (2000). Perceived retail crowding and shopping satisfaction: what modifies this relationship?. Journal of consumer psychology, 9(1), pp. 29-42.
[11] Mehta, R. (2013). Understanding perceived retail crowding: A critical review and research agenda. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20(6), pp. 642-649.
[12] Miao. Li, Mattila S. Anna (2013),” the impact of other customers on customer experiences: A psychological distance perspective”, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 37)1(,pp. 77-99.
[13] Kim Jae Eun, Kim J. (2012) Human factors in retail environments: a review, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 40(11), pp. 818-841.
[14] Brocato, E., Voorhees, C. M., & Baker, J. (2012). Understanding the influence of cues from other customers in the service experience: A scale development and validation. Journal of retailing, 88(3), pp.384-398.
[15] Kumar, A., & Kim, Y. K. (2014). The store-as-a-brand strategy: The effect of store environment on customer responses. Journal of Retailing and Consumer services, 21(5), pp. 685-695.
[16] Argo, J. J., Dahl, D. W., & Manchanda, R. V. (2005). The influence of a mere social presence in a retail context. Journal of consumer research, 32(2), pp. 207-212.
[17] Verhoef P.C., Lemon K.N., Parasuraman A. Parsu, Roggeveen A.L. (2009) Customer Experience Creation: Determinants. Dynamics and Management Strategies, Journal of Retailing, 85(1), pp.31-41.
[18] Puccinelli Nancy M., Dhruv Grewal and Anne L. Roggeveen (2014). Store Atmospherics: A Multisensory Perspective Charles Spence, Psychology and Marketing, 31(7), pp. 472–488.
[19] Tynan, C., & McKechnie, S., (2009). Experience marketing: a review and reassessment. Journal of marketing management, 25(5-6), pp. 501-517.
[20] Dennis, C., Newman, A., Michon, R., Brakus, J. Wright, L. (2010). The mediating effects of perception and emotion Digital signage in mall atmospherics. Journal of Retailing and Consumer services, 17(3), pp. 205-215.
[21] Maclaran, P., & Brown, S. (2005). The center cannot hold: consuming the utopian marketplace. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(2), pp. 311-323.
[22] Gilboa Shaked, Yavetz. Iris Vilnai (2013).Shop until you drop? An exploratory analysis of mall experiences. European Journal of Marketing, 47)1/2(, pp. 239-259.
[23] Rosenbaum, M. S. (2006). Exploring the social supportive role of third places in consumers' lives. Journal of Service Research, 9(1), pp. 59-72.
[24] Blascovich, J., Mendes, W. B., Hunter, S., & Salomon, K. (1999). Social facilitation as challenge and threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, pp. 68-77.
[25] Grewal, D., Baker, J., Levy, M., & Voss, G. B. (2003). The effects of wait expectations and store atmosphere evaluations on patronage intentions in service-intensive retail stores. Journal of retailing, 79(4), pp. 259-268.
[26] Nicholls, Richard (2010). New directions for customer‐to‐customer interaction research. Journal of Services Marketing, 24)1(, pp. 87-97.
[27] Pons, F., Giroux, M., Mourali, M., (2016). The relationship between density perceptions and satisfaction in the retail setting Mediation and moderation effects. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), pp. 1000-1007.
[28] Brookes Maureen, Levent Altinay, Judie Gannon, Richard Nicholls, (2011). Customer to customer interaction (CCI): a cross cultural perspective. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 23)2(, pp. 209-223.
[29] Klaus, P. P., & Maklan, S. (2013). Towards a better measure of customer experience. International Journal of Market Research, 55(2), pp. 227-246.
[30] LeBaron, C. D., & Jones, S. E. (2002). Closing up closings: Showing the relevance of the social and material surround to the completion of interaction. Journal of Communication, 52(3), pp. 542-565.
[31] Lee, M. L., & Pace, R. K. (2005). Spatial distribution of retail sales. The journal of real estate finance and economics, 31(1), pp. 53-69.
[32] Tombs, A., & McColl-Kennedy, J. R. (2010). Social and spatial influence of customers on other customers in the social Servicescape. Australasian Marketing Journal, 18(3), pp. 120–131.
[33] Dahl, Darren W., Rajesh V. M., Jennifer J. Argo (2001).Embarrassment in Consumer Purchase: The Roles of Social Presence and Purchase Familiarity. Journal of Consumer Research,28)3(: 473–81.
[34] Clendenen, V.I., Herman, C.P., Polivy, J., (1994). Social facilitation of eating among friends and strangers. Appetite, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 1–13.
[35] Jang. Yeajin, Ro. Heejung, Kim. Tae-Hee(2015).Social Servicescape: The Impact of Social Factors on Restaurant Image and Behavioral Intentions, International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, Vol.16, pp.290–309.
[36] Andajani, E. (2015). Understanding customer experience management in retailing. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 211, pp.629-633.
[37] Latané, B. (1981). The psychology of social impact. American Psychologist, 36(4), pp. 343–356.
[38] Nemeth, C., Swedlund, M., & Kanki, B. (1974) Patterning of the minority's responses and their influence on the majority. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 4, pp. 53-65.
[39] Griffit, W., & Veitch, R. (1971). Hot and crowded: influence of population density and temperature on interpersonal affective behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 17(1), pp. 92-98.
[40] DeWall, C., Twenge, J., Bushman, B Williams, K. (2010). A little acceptance goes a long way: applying social impact theory to the rejection-aggression link. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(2), pp.168-74.
[41] Kwon, H., Ha, S., & Im, H. (2016). The impact of perceived similarity to other customers on shopping mall satisfaction. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 28, pp. 304-309.
[42] Zhang, J., & Bloemer, J. M. (2008). The impact of value congruence on consumer-service brand relationships. Journal of Service Research, 11(2), pp. 161-178.
[43] Puccinelli, N., Ronald C., Grewal D., Robert P., Priya R., Stewart D. (2009). Customer Experience Management in Retailing: Understanding the Buying Process. Journal of Retailing, 85 (1), pp. 15–30.
[44] Smith J. Brock (1998) Buyer–Seller relationships: Similarity, relationship management, and quality, Journal of Psychology and Marketing, 15(1), pp. 3-21.
[45] Brendl, C. M., Chattopadh, A., Pelham, B. W., Carvallo, M. (2005). Name letter branding: Valence transfers when product specific needs active. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(3), pp. 405-415.
[46] Berry, Leonard L.; Carbone, Lewis P. (2007),” Build Loyalty through Experience Management”, Journal of Quality Progress, Vol. 40, No. 9. pp. 26-34
[47] Gierl, Heribert & Huettl, Verena. (2011). a closer look at similarity: The effects of perceived similarity and conjunctive cues on brand extension evaluation. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 28, pp. 120–133.
[48] Zehrer, A., & Raich, F. (2016). The impact of perceived crowding on customer satisfaction. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 29, pp. 88-98.
[49] Alishari, Bahram; Alboneimi, Ebrahim and Adabi, Masoumeh (1397). The Impact of Customer Experience on Loyalty and Their Purchasing Share in the Retail Industry Study: Customers of Hyperstar Chain Store, 3rd Scientific Conference on New Approaches in Iranian Humanities, Tehran.
[50] Tashakkori, A., and J. W. Creswell (2007) "The New Era of Mixed Methods", Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Vol. 1, No.1, pp.1- 37.
[51] Alwani, Syed Mahdi; Budalai, Hassan (1389). Phenomenology in Entrepreneurship Studies. Iranian Journal of Management Sciences, No. 45, pp. 33-61.
[52] Friese, S. (2014). Qualitative data analysis with ATLAS. ti. SAGE Publications Limited.
[53] Heidarzadeh, Kambiz and Abqari, Maryam (2012). Investigating the Impact of Store Diversity and Indoor and Outdoor Environmental Conditions on Customer Satisfaction with Shopping Centers, Quarterly Journal of Development and Transformation Management, No. 11, pp. 7-15
[54] Khodaei Gargari, Mohammad Taghi; Amiri, Mojtaba and Abbasi Esfanjani, Hossein (1396). Analysis of Customers' Shopping Experiences from Tabriz Shopping Centers with Phenomenological Approach, Quarterly Journal of Modern Marketing Research, Year 7, Issue 2, pp. 63-88
[55] Tawakul, Najma; Sardari, Ahmad and Ghazizadeh, Mustafa (1393). Investigating the Effect of Electronic Banking Acceptance Factors on Word of Mouth Advertising with Emphasis on the Mediating Role of Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty, pp. 49-60
[56]  Albrecht, C.M., Hattula, S., Lehmann, D.R., (2017).The relationship between consumer shopping stress and purchase abandonment in task-oriented and recreation-oriented consumers, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,pp. 1–20.
[57] Hosseini, Seyed Samad; Faryabi, Mohammad; Gholizadeh, Mohammad Reza and Gholizadeh, Morteza (1399). The effect of service quality and fair price on customer satisfaction with the mediating role of the company image (, International Business Management, Third Year, No. 3, pp. 135-150
[58] Haghighi, Mohammad; Karami, Massoud; Hamidi Kolaei, Arezoo and Maleki, Mohammad Mehdi (2015). Investigating the Relationship between Cultural Values and Immediate Purchasing Behavior of Iranian Consumers, Business Management, and Volume 8, pp. 301-316.
[59] Sanobar, Nasser; Haqvardizadeh, Abolfazl; Ghasemi, Akbar and Khani, Saeedeh (1399). The effect of population congestion on the level of tourists' satisfaction in urban destinations), Bi-Quarterly Journal of Social Tourism Studies, Year 8, Issue 15, Spring and Summer, pp. 70-91.
[60] Bakhshizadeh A., Asadollahi. M.R., Kordnaeij. A., Khodadad Hossein S. H., Ahmadi P., (2016).Explanation and Design of a Success Model for Shopping Malls Based on Grounded Theory, International Journal of the Humanities Vol. 23 (3), pp. 97-120.
[61] Choo, H., Moon, H., Kim, H. and Yoon, N. (2012), “Luxury customer value”, Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 81-101.
[62] Shafiee, M. M., Sadiq Es-Haghi, S. M., (2017) , “Mall image, shopping well-being and mall loyalty”, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 45, No. 10, pp. 1114-1134.
[63] Horton R., M., Kirchner, J. (2008). Is actual similarity necessary for attraction? A meta-analysis of actual and perceived similarity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(6), pp. 889–922.
[64] Velitchka D. Kaltcheva, Barton A. Weitz (2006). When Should a Retailer Create an Exciting Store Environment?” Journal of Marketing, 70)1(, pp. 107-118.
[65] Forough, A., Heidarzadeh, K., Vazifeh Doost, H., and Zaboli, Ruhollah (2020). Phenomenological Analysis of the Role of Brand Animation in Stimulating the Visitor Relationship with the Brand of Shopping Malls and Finance, Modern Researches in Decision Making, 5(3), 127-157.
[66] Eyvazpour, J., Rezaei Dolatabadi, H., and Mohammad Shafiei, M., (2020). Investigating the Ethics of Electronic Retailers and Its Impact on Buyer Behavioral Tendencies and the Image of Retailers, Management Research in Iran, 24)3(, 144-167.
[67] Zarehpour N. E., Khodadad Hosseini, S. H., Kordanaij, A., and Mansouri Moayed, F., (2019). The Impact of Gender Identity on Brand Loyalty with Emphasis on Personal Identity, Consumption Pattern, and Purchasing Decision Styles. Management Research in Iran, 23 (3), 188-208.
[68] Azizi, M., Azar, A., & Dehghan, N.M. (2020). Participatory decision making in the post COVID-19 period. Modern Researches in Decision Making, 5 (2): 165-192.