Jason A. Gabisch
Kholekile L. Gwebu
Online virtual environments have been identified as emerging marketing channels, whereby consumers can learn about brands through experiences that involve both functional and social interaction. This research examines the impact of virtual experiences on attitude formation, and offline purchase intentions, and identifies three types of channel congruence (perceived diagnosticity, self-image congruence, and behavioral consistency) that help explain the cross-channel effects. The findings from this study indicate that multichannel effects exist between virtual brand experiences and real-world purchasing decisions. These effects depend on the extent to which the virtual shopping experience is believed to be accurate and useful for evaluation, shared self-concept with other users of the brand, and perceived behavioral consistency across marketing channels.