The Importance of Store Attributes

How important is each of these attributes when customers make store choice decisions? It depends on the store type. Department store shoppers seem to be concerned about the quality of the store’s merchandise, the degree of case of the shopping process, and post transaction satisfaction. Grocery shoppers are concerned about the store’s merchandise mix, ease of the shopping process and cleanliness of the store.

The effect of store Image on purchasing:

Store image is a complex of tangible or functional factors and intangible or psychological factors that a consumer perceives to be present in a store. It is the way in which the store is defined in the consumer’s mind. The various determinants of store choice just discussed are intimately related to a store’s image and influence its attracting power. Consequently retailers need to understand what evaluative criteria consumers use in store choice, how important each criterion is, what image consumers have of the retailer’s store, and how this image compares to an ideal image and to competitors’ images. Store management must determine the unique market segments they want to attract and then develop a store image useful in influencing patronage by those segments. There is also a need to periodically review desired market segments and the consistency of store image to those segments. Such activities should prove useful in satisfying consumer needs and in maintaining the vitality of the organization.

General Shopper Profiles:

It has been found that consumers tend to shop at different stores, depending partly on their demographic characteristics and their attitudes toward shopping. Table presents a categorization of shopper types from a recent survey of US consumers. Other consumer taxonomies have also been developed on the basis of shopping orientations and research is continuing in this field.

As you readily notice, this article has been oriented towards a discussion of shoppers based upon the assumption that all people like to shop. But there is also an important segment of people who generally don’t want to shop and avoid the marketplace whenever possible. These anti-shoppers constitute about 15 to 25 per cent of consumers. There may be fewer store visits and fewer purchases per visit than the average retail customer. They apparently are relatively unattracted to advertising price deals, personal selling efforts and product package or store modifications.

Apathetic consumers or anti-shoppers shop only because they have to. Table illustrates how stressful shopping is perceived to be by married couples. Shopping is viewed as an onerous task and one to be completed quickly. Convenience of location is their crucial store selection criterion, and since they are not interested in shopping they minimize their expenditure of effort in purchasing products.

Marketers need to understand that many buyers perceive shopping as a hassle and a chore. They will seek out ways to cope with stress of shopping. Successful marketers should design in ways to facilitate shopping not only to attract anti-shoppers but also to make the shopping experience more appealing to other shoppers. They should determine how much their stores are inconveniencing customers by reviewing all customer systems and selling contact points. Procedures can be changed and personnel retrained to save customer time.

Store Specific shopper Profiles:

It has been found that consumers tend to shop at different stores, depending on tier, demographic / socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes. For instance one study has characterized those who shop most often at either traditional department stores (such as Foley’s or Abraham & Straus) national chain department stores (such as Sears or J C Penney) or discount department stores (such as Kmart) with the following results.

Traditional department store shoppers are described as singles, under and over age 35; older couples with no dependent children from higher social classes; higher in educational attainment players of bridge or golf, innovative in apparel purchases and placing high importance on store’s layout and atmosphere but less importance on merchandise pricing and the savings at sales.

National chain department store customers were found to be described as most likely to carry credit cards for this type of store, attending movies more regularly and emphasizing merchandise variety and pricing.

Discount department store customers can be described as families with children over age 6, being lowest in having traditional or national chain department store credit cards, being from the lower social classes; having low educational attainment being non-participants in social activities such as golf, bridge or movies and being most concerned with merchandise pricing and sale savings.

Excerpts from Consumer Behavior