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University of Exeter Business School

Consumer Behaviour in the Digital Environment

Module titleConsumer Behaviour in the Digital Environment
Module codeBEMM780
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Jingqi Qiu (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will examine the development of consumer behaviour in the online environment to reveal how new platforms and new digital business models are transforming our understanding of the traditional buyer/seller relationship. Drawing from the disciplines of psychology, economics and data analysis, this module will provide you with an introduction to this fascinating and dynamic area. Insights from research, both historic and emerging, will be used to critically evaluate consumer behaviour principles and understand the growing role of online communities in marketing. Most importantly, you will consider the role of marketing in helping you to deliver a seamless, omni-channel customer experience that supports both engagement and ongoing loyalty.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Understanding your audience is at the heart of successful marketing and this module aims to equip students with the foundation knowledge and skills required to interpret, evaluate and select strategies designed to generate audience engagement and build ongoing customer loyalty. By taking an inter-disciplinary approach, the module will expose students to a broad range of core principles and ways of working designed to enable future marketers to respond effectively to the dynamic marketing environment and deliver measurable value to their organisations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Apply concepts and theories associated with online consumer behaviour
  • 2. Explain and interpret the role of effective marketing practice in securing customer loyalty

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Critically evaluate the impact of the digital environment on consumer behaviour and the marketplace
  • 4. Understand how to best engage specific audiences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Appraise the value of collaboration in achieving objectives
  • 6. Recognise the social, ethical and environmental factors that influence organisations.

Syllabus plan

Core themes considered in the module will include:

  • The ‘paradox’ of choice
  • Attitudes and persuasion
  • The self and the digital self
  • Online communities & influencers on social media
  • Cultural influences and global perspectives
  • Understanding audiences and developing persona
  • Segmenting Targeting, Positioning & personalisation
  • The customer journey, loyalty and marketing funnel approaches

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities10 hours10 x 1 hour whole cohort session
Scheduled learning and teaching activities8 hours8 x 1 hour seminar
Guided Independent Study132 hoursCore and supplementary reading, individual assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar exercisesVia 8 hour seminars1-6Verbal and/or written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group assignment301000 word equivalent1,4,5Written feedback
Individual essay702500 words1-3,6Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group assignment1000 word individual reflection1,4,5Referral/Deferral Period
Individual essay2500 word individual essay1-3,6Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

There is no ‘set text’ for this module and further guided reading will be provided in advance of lecture via the ELE pages. Indicative recommended reading will include:

Smigin, I., & Piacentini, M. (2022). Consumer Behaviour (3rd edition). Oxford University Press Academic UK.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Additional reading will also be detailed on the module ELE pages.

Key words search

Online consumer behaviour, choice and persuasion theory, customer journey, brand loyalty, cognitive, affective, and behavioural aspects of consumer behaviour

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

This module is restricted to MSc Digital Marketing students only

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date