Analysing My Narrated Experience

Epiphany are “remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life. (ELLIS et al 2011, pp2/13)

In my previous blog, I have mentioned how my 2 latest online shopping experiences went with Fashionnova and iherb. However, as I have mentioned I had slight doubt of the brands at first, if it’s just hyped up or is it really that good. According to my assumption not everyone will have a good experience while doing online shopping like I did for these 2 particular brands. “Trust in everyday life is a mix of feeling and rational thinking” (Lewis and Weigert, 1985). E-commerce became a part of consumers’ everyday life during the late 1990s and it gained wider room in consumers’ everyday life during the beginning of the 21st century. To trust is to believe that the other person will not betray oneself (Mayer et al.  1995; McKnight et al.,  2002;  Gefen,  2002).

As I haven’t mention the Research Question in my previous blog, here it is. My aim is to understand the consumers’ e-commerce experiences and their trust in e-commerce in the context of everyday life.

Some of the questions that i want to answer through my research

1. How does the consumer perceive and experience trust in e-commerce?

2. Why do online shopper prefer online shopping over in-store shopping?

3. Do consumers prefer quantity > quality ?

So for this ethnography, I can conduct it anytime of the day and anywhere, it could be restaurants, homes, workplace, in the street or on college campuses. Whenever I see consumer experiencing or interacting with the brands, products or environment, I will capture their authentic responses as it can help in understanding consumers while they are using or reacting to products or making decisions.

The observation is easy to conduct as an investigation to achieve the fruitful data. But lacking of direct communication with customers makes the findings less reflective comparing to interviews, as the interpretation is wholly on observer’s perspectives. It for sure will help me catch the first context and connection, however I have to study through a longer time spending next to consumer who does online shopping.

Observation by single designer in field is without time pressure. It will be totally up to me how to use the time to gather up all the notes and videos/pictures about what I have observed. The video documentation can be synchronized thoroughly, thus sketches or notes can be achieved. The idle time makes the observation more careful.

Also in my previous blog, in the conclusion section I mentioned that one of my friend who did shopping at www.wish.com , had a 50% good experience and 50% bad experience. I assumed that she didn’t read the reviews and that she thought the quality would be good enough for the cheap price tag. After placing the order from “wish”, she was quite impressed with the time it took for shipping, it arrived way earlier than the date they estimated for her. She was expecting the products to be that good as well. When all 4 of her products arrived, I thought of capturing her reactions, therefore I asked help from my sister to videotape it while I be sitting next to my friend listening her views on each product. In my mind I knew the clothing pieces wouldn’t be good one, because I have seen YouTube videos, where YouTubers review about “Wish” clothing/hauls, according to the YouTubers they think the pictures “Wish” puts up are just for reference of how they would remake the piece with a low budget. But my friend didn’t know about all of this, nor I told her to check beforehand as I thought she knew it or she’s trying her luck on this. 

While she was opening her packages she was excited and worried both at a time, because one of the product she planned to get was a gift for her guy friend. After she has opened that package her first reaction was if this the grey hoodie that I ordered? It is misplaced? She double checked her order, it’s the same hoodie but it doesn’t look the way its shown in the picture (stiff and expensive looking), in reality it looked like as if it’s a grey cotton school sweater. She was super disappointed and her smile disappeared.

Next thing that she opened was “Wide women’s leg Pants – in the colour black”, she was expecting it to be a cotton and soft material, but after opening the package it wasn’t a cotton material it was a stretchy knit fabric, but she was still satisfied with this product as she could still make a use out of it.

Oh, lord….. I was expecting some at least one thing which should be perfect by now, but even the next thing she opened was disappointing for her, first of all she found the material of “Women lipstick shape shaver mini electric flawless painless face epilator” very light and cheap. She told me she was expecting it to be a bigger size (size like one’s hand), I was like this is used only for face why would you want a bigger size? She said nonono, they mentioned it could be used all over the body then why is this so small? Then she tried using it over my arm to see if it works… well it worked but it would take ages to remove all of the hair, she didn’t like this product at all, as it wasn’t true to what it said in the description.

AHHHHHH, FINALLY the last package, by now she have lost all her hopes ahaha, but when she opened the package she loved the “genuine leather long wallet” It had 26 card slots, 1 zipper pocket where you can insert notes, coins and mobile phone. I remember her last reaction was “I won’t shop from wish again”.

Therefore, from her experience I can reflect that if a customer has had a bad experience in his/her first purchase from an online shopping site they might not trust them again. In my experience I did shopping 6 times from “Wish” I had very good experience with them, so I am a regular “wish” shopper, in my free time I like to read reviews and if I like something after scroll through thousands of things , I would add the best deal into my cart. Perhaps after sharing my autoethnographic experience, maybe it could help people figure out which brand to trust or how to shop. 

My friends’ experience ordering from wish:


Ellis, Carolyn & Bochner, Arthur P. (2000). Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: researcher as subject. In Norman K. Denzin & Yvonna S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd edition) (pp.733-768). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Available at: http://www.qualitative research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3096.

Paakki, M. (2008). Consumer Trust in E-commerce A Feminist Ethnographic Study. [ebook] Finland: University of Tampere. Available at: http://tampub.uta.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/67854/978-951-44-7371-5.pdf;sequence=1

YAO, X. (2013). Participatory Design for Enhancing the Shopping Experience. [ebook] Gö teborg, Sweden: CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, p.50. Available at: http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/records/fulltext/187876/187876.pdf


6 thoughts on “Analysing My Narrated Experience”

  1. I think that you have written very well by starting about trust issues on online shopping which helps us get an idea about what you will be focusing on in your research and observations, great start although I do not entirely understand the last quote about trust.

    Also, yor show that you have really spent time in observing a person who has really done online shopping so you have done your fieldwork and analysis of it is well written too. I think it can be improved by adding more specific reactions of the participant. For example, her expressions or the tone of her words. Because they can suggest a lot about a person’s mood and will help us know or believe she was disappointed in the products.

    Anyhow, I think it’s interesting to hear your experience at the end as well and I would like to see more of it in the future blogs! Really cool topic because I am an online shopper as well and want to know more about sites like Wish, which I haven’t used (: Before I go, I think you can reflect more from Ellis et al’s reading because she has some interesting things to explain about the method we use to observe and that interviews are not a major thing.

    The short clip helped me to understand more about your participants response! Looking for your next blog on this!! Good luck 🛍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea i agree with Ellis (reading), that interview might be helpful. However my main focus would be observing people doing online shopping. For this piece of blog i shared my friend’s experience and linking it with my experience from the same brand “Wish”, i could quote a saying: We recognize that people who have experienced the “same” event often tell different stories about what happened (TULLIS OWEN et al., 2009). While doing my Autoethnography I have to be reliable, valid and general, i hope to help readers communicate with others different from themselves and somehow also improves lives of participant/readers/or my own self.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First off, It’s smart of you to talk about research questions at the beginning of your post so the audience gets a clear idea on your research topic and what you are looking out for.

    Followed by the observation method you spoke about in good details and giving reasoning explaining your methodology. It was easy to understand the approach you adapted while working on your research. You also mentioned about video documentation process and how it can developed into data; this section is well written.

    Also, the data you got from observing people getting online orders is quite interesting. There’s contrast to their reactions and their review can benefit other fellow consumers as well.

    I agree with you; there is a huge issue with trusting online brands to shop from. I personally struggle with this dilemma in mind whether i can trust a brand or not or if its worth taking the risk or not.

    Perhaps, you can use the ellis reading to strengthen your arguments further which can help brainstorm your research much more in dephtly.

    All in all, I enjoyed reading your experience and the analysis were quite detailed reflecting the time and effort you paid into your research. I’ll be looking forward for more blog post of yours. Keep up the good effort. Good luck 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I am glad you were able to follow what i have written. From the ellis reading, the main thing that caught my attention was that i shouldn’t be insufficiently rigorous, theoretical, analytical, aesthetic, emotional and therapeutic (ELLIS, 2009; HOOKS, 1994; KELLER, 1995). Also to avoid criticism for my ethnography I will have to do enough fieldwork, observe enough cultural members and spend enough time with (Different) others.


  3. Great blog post and the video definitely made it easier to understand! Not only your own experience with online shopping but your participants’ experience are very interesting and I can definitely relate a lot to how they feel due to your clear explanations. The problems of trustable sites and brands are something I and probably many other online shoppers struggle with as well. Overall, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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