Assessment 1 - Assignment (40%) – Title: ‘A touching experience’

‘A touching experience’ (Overmars and Poels, 2015, p.17). Using only secondary source data obtained from credible and reliable sources, critically discuss the role of touch in both in-store and online consumer experiences. Make use of both theory and industry examples. Draw conclusions pertinent to marketing managers.

Essay form – 3000 wordsincluding in-text quotations, references and tables, but excluding the Reference List and diagrams. Please do not submit any appendices. Any appendices containing additional material beyond the word limit will not be considered. A maximum allowance of 150 words above or below the word count is permissible, however, you are encouraged to stick as closely to the word limit as possible. All pages must be numbered and the word limit shown at the end of the piece of work.

Submission date: week 9 – Monday, 11 March 2019, through TurnitIn (sign-in details will be provided) plusan email copy to


The assignment will be assessed using the conceptual equivalents scale for Level 3 undergraduate level (Appendix 1).

See below for a suggested structure and guidelines on the utilisation of the word count.

Introduction – approx. 500 words– ‘Set the scene’; overview of: the role of perception/sensorial perception for the customer experience, referring to both the in-store and online customer experience; skin as one of the five receptors; acknowledgement of touchand its role in the customer experience; acknowledgement of the key aspects that are chosen for discussion in the main body of the discussion, plus the intended approach to the discussion.

Main body of discussion – approx. 2000 words- Critical analysis and synthesis of relevant literature on touchand specifically on the aspects that you are selecting to examine and evaluate in detail. The aim here is to demonstrate depth of reading, pulling together multiple streams of literature (academic journals) in order to formulate robust arguments and support these with relevant, well researched and referenced examples. Employing evidence of wide reading (from reliable academic and industry sources) on the topic of touch as well as on customer experience, atmospherics and servicescape will enrich your understanding and potential to provide rich insights, worthy of higher marks. Useful for constructing a critical discussion is the question: ‘So what?’. In other words what are the implications of the concept(s)/ aspect(s)/ revealed throughout the discussion in the given context. Make the discussion your own by employing independent thinking and originality when drawing on the source material; this will demonstrate your own voice. Avoid long descriptive paragraphs and long quotes that tend to add little value to your answer. Using headings and sub-headings can be an effective method to structure your answer and aid then flow of the discussion.

Conclusions – approx. 500 words– What are the key conclusions and implications emerging from the discussion above? In the light of the critical evaluation conducted, what are the key considerations for marketing managers?

Allocation of marks:

Knowledge and Understanding - Content: evidence of wide reading, demonstrating critical analysis and evaluation (critical discussion) of the topic/aspects discussed – 30%

Application - Effective use of relevant examples – 20%

Independence of thought and originality - Ability to formulate key arguments (informed views) from the source material discussed and present these appropriately; ability to formulate valid conclusions – 30%

Referencing and style of writing (fluidity and quality of writing; grammar and spelling) – 20% 

A starting point for your reading required for the assignment:

Overmars, S., & Poels, K. (2015) ‘A touching experience: Designing for touch sensations in online retail environments’, International Journal of Design, 9(3).

Peck, J. and Childers, T. (2003) ‘To have and to hold: the influence of haptic information on product judgements’, Journal of Marketing, 67, pp.35-68.

Jansson-Boyd, C.V. (2011) ‘Touch matters: exploring the relationship between consumption and tactile interaction’, Social Semiotics, 21(4), pp. 531-546.

Roberto Manzano, R., Ferran, M., Gavilan, D., Avello, M., Abril, C. (2016) ‘The Influence of Need for Touch in Multichannel Purchasing Behaviour. An approach based on its instrumental and autotelic dimensions and consumer´s shopping task’, International Journal of Marketing, Communication and New Media, 4(6), pp.48-68.

Peck, J., & Shu, S.B. (2009)‘The effect of mere touch on perceived ownership’, Journal of Consumer

  • 36, pp. 434-447.

Also, as outlined on p. 14 of the Module Handbook, do please remember the key compulsory and supplementary reading that goes with topic of ‘Perceptual processes’ (the sense of touch that your assignment is focusing on does fall within this topic):

Key compulsory reading:

Szmigin, I. and Piacentini, M. (2018) Consumer Behaviour,Second Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 5.

Supplementary reading

Simons, D.J. and Chabris, C.F. (1999) ‘Gorillas in our midst: sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events’, Perception, 28, pp. 1059–1074.

Soars, B. (2003) ‘What every retailer should know about the way into the shopper’s head’, International Journal of Retail Distribution and Management,31(12), pp. 628–637.

Overmars, S., & Poels, K. (2015) ‘A touching experience: Designing for touch sensations in online retail environments’, International Journal of Design, 9(3).

Baker, M. A., Shin, J. T., & Kim, Y. W. (2016) ‘An exploration and investigation of edible insect consumption: the impacts of image and description on risk perceptions and purchase intent’, Psychology and Marketing, 33(2), pp. 94-112.

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