Examining the interaction between the physical environment and person factors in the development of flow: cultivating consumer’s relationship in mobile applications over time
The development in technology and increased adoption of broadband services have resulted in more consumer interactions with computers and mobile devices (McLean et al., 2020). Advances in technology, especially mobile phones and mobile applications (apps), now provide a platform for improving consumer experiences (McLean et al., 2018). One factor with the potential to explain the extent and intensity of consumer experience is flow (Hoffman and Novak, 1996). Flow is defined as a highly enjoyable state in which individuals experience total involvement in a task that nothing else seems to matter (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). Flow has received considerable attention among marketing researchers because experiencing flow in computer-mediated environments (CMEs) is associated with positive outcomes for firms such as customer retention and continuance use, customer loyalty, and customer purchase intentions, as well as for consumers such as enjoyment, creativity, improved mood, and subjective wellbeing. The literature review shows that a plethora of studies has focused on exploring flow in online desktop environments, however, there has been much less attention given to examining flow in mobile contexts. The study and use of flow in the context of mobile services are complex because of the different nature of mobile environments compared to desktop environments (Hoffman and Novak, 2009). For example, mobile devices are used on-the-go, have smaller screen sizes than a computer, have inconvenient input/output methods, and have frequent service interruptions (McLean et al., 2020). These factors may affect consumer experience, thus give impetus to the necessity to deliver a compelling experience to consumers. However, research investigating these issues is limited, and therefore, investigating the role of flow and customer experience in mobile environments is warranted. To enhance understanding the role of flow and customer experience in mobile environments, apps are considered as the context of this thesis and data were collected from users of apps in Iran.