Substantial body of marketing and consumer behavior literature is devoted to the phenomenon of consumer satisfaction, its antecedents, attributes and consequences. This study, based on a survey among 160,000 car owners in five major European markets compares and contrasts product satisfaction in light of satisfaction with shopping experience. In other words, the paper addresses an important marketing question whether shopping event fosters positive product experience.
Based on quantitative analysis, the findings suggest there is no relationship between satisfaction with purchase and satisfaction with a product. The distinction between purchase and product satisfactions implies that a customer clearly differentiates between a product itself (car company) and purchase experience (dealers) not perceiving the car as a total product.
Important implications for marketing and product managers of car producers may suggest far lesser involvement in showroom and dealer development in search for satisfied customers. Similarly, the study would imply that marketing managers of dealerships can do little for improving product-related experience and should, therefore, focus on the purchase itself and surrounding services such as financing. Theory-wise, the concept of total product may need to be reconsidered.