Elms J & Tinson J (2012) Consumer vulnerability and the transformative potential of Internet shopping: An exploratory case study. Journal of Marketing Management, 28 (11-12), pp. 1354-1376. https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2012.691526
Ten million individuals in the UK who suffer from long-term illness, impairments or disability can be considered as vulnerable consumers (Office for Disability Issues, 2010). Despite this, there are few studies on the use of the Internet for grocery shopping by the disabled and none which offers an understanding of the multiple facets of consumer vulnerability. The purpose of this study is to contextualise the use of the Internet for grocery shopping using an exploratory case to provide fresh insights into the 'actual' vulnerability of "Danni" – a disabled housewife and mother. The consumer focussed methods used here were combined multiple complementary approaches. The findings illustrate that whilst the use of the Internet reduces the impracticalities of shopping in-store, the normalcy afforded to Danni through shopping in-store (including her sense of self) was not met by the technological offerings. The paradoxes associated with using online provision and the strategies adopted to manage these by Danni demonstrate engagement/disengagement and assimilation/isolation. Policy implications and insights for retailers are provided.
Consumer vulnerability; Transformative Consumer Research; Internet; Grocery Shopping; Ethnography
Journal of Marketing Management: Volume 28, Issue 11-12