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COMMENTARY Enhancing Consumer Empowerment PDF Print E-mail
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Prof. Charles Dennis


Purpose of this paper Much of the literature on consumer empowerment focuses on consumers’ efforts to regain control of their consumption processes from suppliers. Our purpose is to argue that many suppliers achieve success by trying hard to empower consumers. The mechanism by which this takes place consists of researching and providing what consumers want. Consumers feel empowered when they are able to enjoy the consumption process. This is of particular note in shopping, which is not simply obtaining products but also experience and enjoyment. Design/methodology/approach Research is examined into the links between firms’ efforts to understand what consumers want, atmospheric stimuli, emotions and buying behaviour. Findings We find that successful firms’ try hard to understand what consumers want and to improve consumer satisfaction and empowerment by providing pleasant marketing environments and apt, relevant information. Research limitations/implications The approach is based on prior literature. We examine marketing to consumers in company locations, e.g. stores, malls, restaurants and banks to examine specific evidence of the effects of atmospheric stimuli such as aroma, music and video screen media. Practical implications We contend that firms can and do become successful in a competitive arena by providing pleasant environments and information that people want. What is original/value of paper? We show how consumer empowerment is an important concept. This paper contributes since there is a dearth of writings specifically about consumer empowerment in the marketing literature. Far from the popular view of consumers being manipulated by firms, successful firms try hard to and succeed in empowering consumers in their marketing activities.

Keywords: Empowerment, Consumer empowerment, Enhancing consumer empowerment, Power, Consumer choice, Atmospherics Images

Citation: European Journal of Marketing, 40 (9/10): 925-935 (2006): Original Version at