Impact Of Digital Marketing On Consumer Buying Behaviour: SportsDirect Case Study


The proposed research is considered to be performed on the potential impact of digital marketing on consumer buying behaviour. The major purpose of the research is to investigate how contemporary digital media marketing approaches influence consumer buying behaviour of the customers in today’s dynamic market environment. In order to make the analysis relevant to the real-world facts and findings, the study will consider the organization Sportsdirect, located in United Kingdom. Sportsdirect produces variety of clothing and sports apparel through its offline and online selling channels.  Due to persistent invention in the digital marketing environment, marketers are in the rush of adopting the trends in business. However, emerging digital marketing trends have also increased the use of online channels for both social interaction as well as business interaction. It is worth mentioning that marketers gain the maximum advantages of digital marketing as digital marketing have made it easier for them to access and approach the large market in the shortest possible time. Therefore, the proposed study will investigate how the entire process is implemented and how marketers approach the audiences or rather it influences the customer buying decisions. This proposal statement will discuss how the entire research work will be implemented with the research techniques presented in the following. The statement also provides a brief rationale for choosing the context of digital marketing.

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According to Solomon et al. (2014), digital marketing is usually defined a buying as well as selling of information, products and services through a vast internet network. Pappas (2016) mentioned that marketers vastly use the internet or digital network to reach the customers and promote its productsand services in a large market in time effective and cost effective manner. As there is an increasing and dynamic trends associated with such wide networks, internet and e-commerce technologies are rapidly transferring the whole economy as well as changing the business models, revenue streams, customer base and the supply chain network of the business. When exploring the factors of such rapid change, Ioan?s and Stoica (2014) in their study, found that digital marketing has reached the new heights with the boom in smart phones and tabs in a close manner that the individuals who were not even close to this field are intended to use their for their business promotion. According to this author such increasingly developed field of technology entails everybody with a social media networking account as well as individuals without such networks tend to look down upon for significant business purposes. Therefore, the concern of studying consumer buying behaviour in the era of digital marketing.

Literature Review

With emerging digital marketing, it is never an easy job anymore to persuade consumers; so the things look good to them is what really convinces them to go ahead with the purpose. The consumers could make comparison of the brands with the competitors and eventually they may choose the one that gives them the best with respect to the elements. Thus, to create a match of consumer-set standards, every brand needs to ensure to stand on their toes an every brand has maintained its presences on the social media platforms. Thus, it is essential to identify and understand how brands influence those knowledgeablecustomers to make purchase of their products.

Although, digital media marketing has been adopted by every business in almost every industry but apparel industry is probably is a step ahead in this context, as with the unique technology features provided by digital media platforms, the marketers are able to demonstrate the latest trends of clothing and designing, while the customers also have the opportunity to try the latest ones that are not available in the offline channels. Therefore, it is necessary to know how an organization in the clothing sector is managing the entire dynamic process. Moreover, online purchasing practices allow customers to study the product and compare the benefits with other brands and make an effective choice. All these are done by internet connectivity when sitting at home with a pillow. However, it is unclear what marketers do or what do the online selling platforms provide? So that the people stopped crowding at the mall and adopt the trend of online purchasing. This study will help to understand how the marketers are influencing buyers to stick to the online purchasing practices. In addition, the study will also reveal how and what factors are influencingconsumer purchasing decisions. Managing such wide digital platform is challenging, while the online media platforms could be risky when buying a tangible product, but the trend has gained an immense popularity. Therefore, it is highly important to perform a study on this field.

According to Stephen (2016), human interactions have changed significant because of the involvement on digital media platforms; the increasing development of virtual platforms havepositively influencedbehavioural changes associated with the activities and interaction. On the other side, consumer buying behaviour changes also requires businesses to apply strategies for managing their marketing activitiesin the digital environment. So, the business should understand how digital as well as social media marketing influences consumers’ decisions making techniques. Conversely, the business also have to be aware of how customers’ attitudes, values and beliefs influence their digital media marketing campaigns.

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Research Objectives

The major aim of the study is to examine the potential impact of digital media marketing on consumer buying behaviour. The study particularly aims to investigate the customers of SportsDirect.  The following are the key objectives, set to meet the stated research aims.

  • To examine the emergence of digital media marketing
  • To analyse the factors that influence consumer buying behaviour
  • To investigate the impact of digital media marketing on consumer buying behaviour

Research Questions

  • How does digital media marketing influence consumer buying behaviour?
  • What are those particular factors of digital marketing influencing the purchasing decisions of consumers?

Research Hypothesis

H0-Digital marketing has no impact on consumer buying behaviour

H1-Digital marketing has no impact on consumer buying behaviour

As put forward by Balakrishnan,  Dahnil and Yi (2014), over 170 million people around the world are active in social media regularly and it is expected that every professional individual is quite familiar with core principles of digital media marketing. Generally, digital media marketing the activity or practice of marketing the products over the internet with any channel of electronic media. In the same context, a study performed by Blázquez (2014), mentioned that marketing activities in the digital platform typically include the digital channels or tools to market the products and reach the customers. As the consumption of digital content increases on a regular basis. Soon, the conventional marketing environment could disappear and the digital market could fully take over. More specifically, Thakur and Srivastava (2015) mentioned that the term digital media was first introduced in 1990s and then approach covered a wide area with the emerging appearance of internet and web 1.0. This newly developed platforms back then provided the users with the opportunity of searching information. However, the platforms did not have the featured of sharing information over the internet. On the other side, the businesses in the global enthronement were not sure about the sustainability of internet in business(Pappas et al. 2014). According to the author, businesses could not rely on their strategies as the web did not show its rapid nature of spreading across the globe back then. However, the study performed by Lemon and Verhoef (2016), explained what happened when web 2.0 was first introduced in the market.

According to the author, due to the growing emergence of web 2.0 back then people changed in respect to the perspectives of internet as they have become more active participants instead of remaining passive users. For example, Web 2.0 enabled users to interact with other and businesses and then the major labels like “Super internet information highway” started to be incorporated into to the internet. Consequently, the range of information flow with the inclusion of channels applied by digital marketers increased in number. Finally, by 2004, the internet advertising as well as the marketing in United State brought inabout 2.9 billion. The social networking sites started to come into the existence and MySpace was known to be first social networking site to appear and then followed by Facebook (Solomon et al. 2014).


A study performed by Pappas (2016), digital media marketing is usually defined as the implementation of digital media channels to make promotion of the brands. The author of this study has also mentioned that in digital media marketinggeneration of demand is typically driven by internet, further remaining as an interactive channel for the exchange of currency and value. This study has provided the following table including the definition of digital media marketing channels.

A study performed by Stephen (2016), mentioned that digital media marketing performance particularly on consumers influence is measurable through metrics such as conversion rate, involvement rate as well as click rate. The author has also mentioned the fact that conversion can be defined as a significant at ion the online portal want the users to take, which further leads to the generation of revenue for the websites. In the context, Pappas et al. (2014) mentioned that to be in the top 25% of business a marketer needs to have a conversation rate of 5.31%, while the top of 10% of all businesses have a conversation rate of greater than 11%. On the other side, Lemon and Verhoef (2016) mentioned that the digital involvement with consumers plays a great role in developing advocates, which can be done through online or the offlinecommination mediums. Hence, rate of engagement is a metric that help to measures the degree of engagement that digital platforms receives from the audience. The overall engagement for digital content builds elements like comments, shares, clicks, video views and followers. A research performed by Balakrishnan, Dahnil and Yi (2014), have mentioned that digital marketing outpaced the advertising procedures that used to take place traditionally, in the recent time. According to this author, it is supposed to remain a high growth sector. This study also reveals the fact that this can be considered as the form of a marketing and advertising which conveys promotional marketing messages to customers through internet. Such form may include marketing through email, SEO and social media marketing with the inclusion of display advertising.

According to Ioan?s and Stoica (2014), marketing could create opportunities for the consumers as well as one of those opportunities is known as the evolution of digital marketing. A successful business find a great role of consumers’ behaviour and this role has an overreaching influence in online marketing. On the other side, Stephen (2016) performed a study and mentioned that word of mouth practice largely affect consumer buying behaviour and decisions. It is also identified that millions of people across the globe tend to spend most of their time on social networking sites which is treated as the action of exposing to the digital media. Such trends also influence their buying behaviour. In this context, Balakrishnan, Dahnil, and Yi (2014) commented that a majority of the users tend to remain online for social interactions but Blázquez (2014) argued that the users in the digital environment have turned into online customers as the outcome of emergence of online shopping; so, here consumer behaviour is the ultimate buying actions that are influenced by observations about other users and marketing activities presented by business in the digital platforms. Another study performed by Pappas et al. (2014), provides a similar fact that consumer buying behaviour is the summation of overall customers’ attitudes, preferences and the decisions about consumers’ behaviour when buying a product or service. The study also reveals the fact that marketers must have to understand what exactly influence consumers’ purchase behaviour like consumers’ buyer process and effective advertising. Conversely, a study performed by Lemon, and Verhoef (2016) has mentioned the fact that consumers can be influenced by a brand or a business that has a strong or dominating digital presence.  This means identifying the web experience elements and understanding their role as inputs in online customers’ decision-making techniques are considered as initial but significant step of in buildingand creating effective online presence that further create a strong impact on the consumers.

Expected Outcomes

This section of the report discusses the types of research methods and approaches that will be applied to the proposed study. The study will include both primary and secondary data analysis as secondary data is required to identify the existing facts and findings regarding digital marketing, while the primary data will help to identify the real-world impact that business observe through their digital marketing activities. Primary data will be collected particularly from the customers and employees of Sportsdirect.

Research philosophy particularly pertains to the development of knowledge as well as the nature of the knowledge. According to Flick (2015), research philosophy that one adopts in the study is the significant assumptions regarding the way one considers the world. Such assumptions could underpin the research strategy as well as the methods as the part of that strategy. There are three different types of research philosophy namely positivism research philosophy, interpretivism and pragmatism (Lewis 2015).Positivism research philosophy is mainly about the philosophical grounds of the natural scientists; hence the researcher usually prefers to work with an observable social reality and outcome of such research could be generalizations which is quite similar to physical and natural scientists. On the other side, interpretivism considers social science as different from the natural science and the process cold engage a focus on different objects of research. However, in the proposed study, positivism research philosophy will be selected.

Justifying the positivism research philosophy in the proposed study

In the study, positivism research philosophy will be selected because it creates statistical modelling to generate quantifiable conclusions. This can be done by emphasizing the numbers and digits. As the proposed study is required to investigate the impact of digital marketing consumers and their purchasing behaviour, it is necessary to collect views of customers. Thus, the chosen philosophy will help to calculate the quantifiable impact of digital marketing on the consumers. On the other side, interpretivism research philosophy will not be considered in the study because

There are two different types of data collection methods such as primary data collection and secondary data collection methods (Alvesson and Sköldberg 2017). In the proposed study, both primary and secondary data collection methods will be used.

Primary data collection

Primary data collection method is categorized in two ways namely quantitative and qualitative data collection. Quantitative data collection mainly includes the mathematical calculation in different formats namely digits and numbers, statistical formats such as regression, mean, median and others. In the study, this quantitative data will be collected by performing a survey among the customers of Sportsdirect who are involved in online shopping activities on a regular basis, while the qualitative data will be collected by carrying out an interview among employees, managers and executives of Sportsdirect.


Secondary Data collection

Secondary data is a kind of data that has already been taken and used by others and secondary data is usually published in books, newspapers, journal articles and wide reading sources. In the study, secondary data will be collected from books, journals and case studies of the organizations that use the digital platforms.

The proposed study will be performed in UK, as headquarter of Sportsdirect is located in UK and business observes its highest impact in UK market. Thus, for collecting the primary data, each respondent will be informed about the purpose of data collection. The consent of each respondent will be taken before engaging them into the data collection process. The types of respondents include the customers and employees of Sportsdirect.

There are fundamentally two types of data sampling method such as probability and non-probability sampling(Brinkmann 2014). Both sampling methods follow the target population to determine the number of respondents. Target population consists the customers and the employees of Sportsdirect. The sampling frame includes 100 customers and 5 managers of Sportsdirect, UK.

The sampling frame set for the selection of the respondents is small compared to the vastness of research context. In addition, existing literature used for review lack intensity in terms of the digital impact on consumers. The studies did not say much about the relevant social media tools creating impact on the consumers. In addition to this, the proposed study does not include a comparative analysis, which would have increased the efficiency of the study with the inclusion of another organization.

Ethical consideration could be defined as one of the most significant element of the study and dissertation may not fulfil its goals if the ethical grounds are not acknowledged properly (Alvesson and Sköldberg 2017). Therefore, in the proposed study, to avoid the ethical issues, the researcher makes sure that respondents selected for survey and interview are not supposed to face any troubles in ways whatsoever. When the performing the interview, respect for the dignity of each research respondent will be prioritized. The researcher ensures that full consent of each respondent will be taken before engaging them into the data collection process. Consent form will be authorized by the University will be sent to the managerial heads of the organization. In order to keep the data and identity confidential, the guidelines of Data Protection Act 1998 will be followed.


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