Beyond Goods: The Rise of Experiential Consumption in International/Global Markets

Submission deadline date: 15 April 2025


In this changing consumption landscape, consumers across the globe are increasingly seeking meaningful, immersive encounters as well as authentic and unique experiences so that they resonate with brands (Fan et al., 2022). To accommodate consumers’ appetite for experiential consumption, the quest to create bespoke experiences has become a strategic priority for brands in various industries such as luxury, retailing and hospitality and across emerging and developing markets. Relevant examples include the rise of experiential retail stores that transform customers’ journey into a memorable experience (Shankar et al., 2021); the delivery of superior, personalized, and exclusive hospitality services (e.g. fine-dining, space tourism) to cater to the preferences of the “connoisseurs” and wealthy clientele (Yang and Mattila, 2016); the offering of personalized, digital, shared experiences from sharing economy platforms (e.g. shared luxury accommodation – Boukis et al., 2024); and, the use of immersive/Web3 technologies in the design and delivery of experiences to customers that transform customer journeys (Hoyer et al., 2020) and augment (or substitute) service employees’ role in shaping customers’ experience (Larivière et al., 2017).

At the heart of this dematerialized consumerism era lies the notion of the customer experience that captures a series of interactions between a customer and a service provider. Customer experiences are conceptualized as “holistic, comprised of multiple interactions across touchpoints involving the customer’s cognitive, affective, emotional, social and sensory elements” (p. 778, Bolton et al., 2018). Prior research in marketing investigates experiences at various levels (e.g. ordinary and extraordinary – Heinonen and Lipkin, 2023) and dimensions (e.g. consumer, service, offline/online, brand level); it focuses on the changes caused by new technologies on their various elements (e.g. physical, social, digital elements – Brakus, Schmitt, and Zarantonello, 2009) as well as how experiential value can be created for customers via seamless omnichannel experiences.

Recent technological developments like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and blockchain-enabled products further blur the boundaries between physical, phygital and digital customer experiences (Zarantonello and Schmitt, 2023) and pave the way for consumers towards dematerialized and digital consumption while accelerating global convergence (Ozturk et al., 2021). Despite the accelerating pace at which these technologies are globally deployed, research on how these technologies serve culturally diverse groups of consumers is rather sparse. For instance, the departure from consumption-related values like materialism and the on-demand availability of digital experiences could strongly affect the establishment, maintenance, and expression of cultural identity (Cleveland et al., 2022) as well as accelerate various acculturation dimensions in emerging cultural contexts (e.g. cosmopolitanism - Cleveland and Laroche, 2007). At the same time, we know little about how the digitalization of consumption transcends national boundaries and enables the design and launch of customer experiences for global brands in various industries in different cultural contexts (Katsikeas et al., 2020).

In this context, understanding consumption differences among cultures and how they affect consumers’ reactions to dematerialized, digital, access-based services and experiences becomes a prerequisite for the long-term success of global brands (Kozlenkova et al., 2021; Cleveland et al., 2022). This special issue points that cross-cultural perspectives should be taken into consideration when it comes to designing customer experiences among ethnically and culturally diverse consumer groups. We are interested in conceptual, empirical and methodological papers especially papers deploying multi-method studies that aim to advance our understanding of the challenges involved in staging experiences that appeal to international/global consumers.

List of topic areas

  • International market entry strategies for retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences.
  • Pricing strategies for retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences across countries.
  • Metrics to measure the effectiveness of retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences in cross-cultural contexts.
  • Cross-cultural differences in consumer responses to retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences across countries.
  • Balancing between global vs. glocal vs. local strategies in the design of retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences.
  • Designing omnichannel customer experiences for culturally diverse consumer groups.
  • Cross-cultural challenges in the delivery of retail/tourist/luxury/digital experiences from the service provider's (or the employee’s) perspective.
  • The impact of culture on consumer co-creation in the design and delivery of retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences across borders.
  • Failure and recovery strategies in retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences for culturally diverse consumer groups.
  • The impact of international retail/tourist/luxury/digital experiences on brand attitudes, perceptions and behaviours.
  • How to best distribute international retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences.
  • Digital vs phygital (hybrid) international retail/tourist/luxury/digital/brand experiences.

Submissions Information

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Author guidelines must be strictly followed.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to "Please select the issue you are submitting to".

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

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Key deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions (if agreed with publisher): 15th January, 2025

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 15th April, 2025

Email for submissions: [email protected]


Bolton, R. N., McColl-Kennedy, J. R., Cheung, L., Gallan, A., Orsingher, C., Witell, L., & Zaki, M. (2018). Customer experience challenges: bringing together digital, physical and social realms. Journal of service management, 29(5), 776-808.

Boukis, A., Christodoulides, G., Semaan, R. W., & Stathopoulou, A. (2024). What drives consumers towards shared luxury services? A comparison of sequential versus simultaneous sharing. Journal of Business Research, 177, 114634.

Brakus, J. J., Schmitt, B. H., & Zarantonello, L. (2009). Brand experience: what is it? How is it measured? Does it affect loyalty?. Journal of marketing, 73(3), 52-68.

Cleveland, M., Papadopoulos, N., & Laroche, M. (2022). Global consumer culture and national identity as drivers of materialism: an international study of convergence and divergence. International Marketing Review, 39(2), 207-241.

Cleveland, M., & Laroche, M. (2007). Acculturation to the global consumer culture: Scale development and research paradigm. Journal of business research, 60(3), 249-259.

Fan, X., Jiang, X., & Deng, N. (2022). Immersive technology: A meta-analysis of augmented/virtual reality applications and their impact on tourism experience. Tourism Management, 91, 104534.

Heinonen, K., & Lipkin, M. (2023). Ordinary customer experience: Conceptualization, characterization, and implications. Psychology & Marketing, 40(9), 1720-1736.

Hoyer, W. D., Kroschke, M., Schmitt, B., Kraume, K., & Shankar, V. (2020). Transforming the customer experience through new technologies. Journal of interactive marketing, 51(1), 57-71.

Katsikeas, C., Leonidou, L., & Zeriti, A. (2020). Revisiting international marketing strategy in a digital era: Opportunities, challenges, and research directions. International Marketing Review, 37(3), 405-424.

Kozlenkova, I. V., Lee, J. Y., Xiang, D., & Palmatier, R. W. (2021). Sharing economy: International marketing strategies. Journal of International Business Studies, 1-29.

Larivière, B., Bowen, D., Andreassen, T. W., Kunz, W., Sirianni, N. J., Voss, C., ... & De Keyser, A. (2017). “Service Encounter 2.0”: An investigation into the roles of technology, employees and customers. Journal of business research, 79, 238-246.

Ozturk , A., Cavusgil, S. T., & Ozturk, O. C. (2021). Consumption convergence across countries: Measurement, antecedents, and consequences. Journal of International Business Studies, 52, 105-120.

Shankar, V., Kalyanam, K., Setia, P., Golmohammadi, A., Tirunillai, S., Douglass, T., ... & Waddoups, R. (2021). How technology is changing retail. Journal of Retailing, 97(1), 13-27.

Yang, W., & Mattila, A. S. (2016). Why do we buy luxury experiences? Measuring value perceptions of luxury hospitality services. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(9), 1848-1867.

Zarantonello, L. and Schmitt, B.H. (2023). Experiential AR/VR: a consumer and service framework and research agenda. Journal of Service Management, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 34-55.