تاثیر نشانه های محیطی فروشگاه خرده فروشی بر رفتار حمایتی مصرف کننده در سراسر فرمت های مختلف فروشگاه خرده فروشی : تجزیه و تحلیل تجربی از مصرف کنندگان اسپانیایی تبار آمریکا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1802||2009||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 16, Issue 5, September 2009, Pages 329–339
This study examined the influence of Hispanic consumers’ perceived importance of apparel retail store environmental cues and demographic characteristics (i.e., age and the number of years lived in the US) on their apparel store patronage behavior across various retail store formats. Three apparel retail store environmental cue dimensions were identified. Of the three dimensions, Customer Service appeared as a significant determinant in Hispanic consumers’ decision to shop at department stores, specialty stores, and mass merchant stores. Convenience was significantly, but negatively, related to the use of specialty stores. Physical Atmosphere appeared as significant determinants of Hispanic consumers’ use of Internet websites. The respondents’ shopping frequency at department stores, Internet websites, and catalogues was significantly different based on the respondents’ age and number of years lived in the US This study offers insights for apparel retailers in building effective retail store environments to attract Hispanic consumers.
The US population has experienced remarkable growth over the past half-century and is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse with faster population growth among minorities than Caucasians (Shrestha, 2006). The US Census Bureau (2007) reported that the nation's minority population reached 100.7 million in 2006, increased from 98 million in 2005, and Hispanics accounted for almost half of the nation's minority population growth between 2005 and 2006. A more recent report by the US Census Bureau (2008) showed that the US Hispanic population reached 45.5 million on July 1, 2007, which accounts for 15.1% of the estimated total US population of 301.6 million. The Pew Hispanic Center report for US population projections revealed that Hispanics will make up 29% of the US population in 2050, making them the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority population group in the US (Pew Hispanic Center, 2006). Moreover, according to a report released by Hispanic Telligence®, along with such substantial population increases, Hispanic purchasing power surged to nearly $700 billion in 2004, accounting for 8.5% of total US purchasing power that year, and is projected to reach as much as $1 trillion by 2010 (Broide, 2004). Although the median income of Hispanic households is much less than that of non-Hispanic white households (US Census Bureau, 2007), Hispanic households spend a greater percentage of their disposable income on goods and services than do non-Hispanics (HispanicTrends.com, March/April, 2005). More specifically, Hispanic households spent a greater portion of their income in 2004 on groceries, footwear, men's and children's apparel, gasoline and motor oil, and household textiles than other goods (HispanicTrends.com, January/February, 2005). As the population and purchasing power of this group grows, understanding Hispanic consumers and appealing to them becomes an increasingly important opportunity for retailers to capitalize on the projected hundreds of billions of dollars of annual sales potential. However, despite the mounting evidence of Hispanics’ growing impact and influence on the retail market, research has lagged behind in this area, and little has been done to investigate this group and their shopping behaviors. Furthermore, US Hispanics were found to exhibit strong ethnic identification and attitudinal differences than other ethnic groups in their shopping behaviors (Deshpande et al., 1986; Suro, 2006). Retailers should not assume that marketing products to the Hispanic population is no different than marketing to a general population (Valdez, 2000). Marketers should know the preferences of this consumer group compared to other ethnic groups and develop a differentiated marketing plan. In order to shed light on those preferences, the present study focuses on Hispanic consumers’ shopping behaviors. Over the past decades, the retail business environment has faced aggressive competition with rapid market entry of innovative store concepts and formats (Maronick and Stiff, 1985). A company's success in financial performance and market shares largely depended on the satisfied customers who are willing to purchase products or services repeatedly (Siu and Cheung, 2001; Raphel, 1999; Reichheld and Sasser, 1990; Srinivasan et al., 2002). In this vein, understanding consumers’ store choices and their patronage behavior have been identified as keys to the success of a particular retail business and have become a premier objective for marketers (Osman, 1993). Therefore, increasing consumers’ loyalty to the store has been a managerial challenge to marketers, and gaining in-depth understanding and empirical estimation of consumer loyalty behavior has been an important issue to researchers. In the face of the recent demographic movement of growing minority populations in the US, retailers are recognizing that various ethnic groups have different store choice and patronage behaviors (Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor, 2005a). According to the report released by Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor, almost 25% of Hispanics tend to shop at specialty stores and about 22% at chain stores, while Caucasians and African-Americans shop primarily at mass merchants (29% and 27%) and Asians at specialty stores (33%). Thus, retailers should abandon the one-look-fits-all strategy and try to differentiate stores that appeal to their target demographic group. More importantly, researchers found that Hispanic consumers tend to patronize the store more frequently once they develop a positive perception of it (Saegert et al., 1985). Much research showed that certain attributes of retail store environment influence store choice and patronage behavior (Baker et al., 2002; Darden et al., 1983; Darley and Lim, 1993; Hu and Japer, 2006; Pan and Zinkhan, 2006; Roy and Tai, 2003; Sherman et al., 1997; Sirgy et al., 2000; Spansenberg et al., 1996; Thang and Tan, 2003; Thompson and Chen, 1998; Ward et al., 1992). Moreover, a growing body of academic research also supports the importance of store environment as a marketing tool to affect shoppers’ approach behaviors (Fiore et al., 2000) as well as a dominant market differentiator (Reardon et al., 1995; Roy and Tai, 2003). Thus, effectively managing the retail store environment encountered by customers has been identified as a viable retail management tactic (Babin and Darden, 1995; Gilboa and Fafaeli, 2003) and has gained a growing amount of attention from both industry and academia (Smith and Burns, 1996). Schlosser (1998) noted that, in the face of increased market competition, retailers’ sole reliance on promotional techniques is inadequate; retailers’ efforts must turn from offering just price promotions to creating a pleasant shopping experience. Researchers also asserted that store environments can influence consumers’ willingness to purchase or entice them to stay in the store for a longer period of time (McDougall and Fry, 1974–75; Mano, 1999). In a survey conducted by Drug Store News, a majority of respondents, almost nine out of ten, revealed that a pleasant store atmosphere was either very or somewhat important when they chose a store in which to shop (Parks, 1998). According to Chain Store Age, retailers reported a positive connection between improving the retail store atmosphere and increasing sales (“Store atmospherics,” 2005). As consumers often infer retail store images from such environmental cues (Bloemer and Ruyter, 1998), the store environment may represent the most imperative channel through which retailers can communicate with their consumers. In fact, retailers have been spending millions of dollars every year for the design, construction, and refurbishing of their stores in order to keep their stores up-to-date and project an image that appeals to their target markets (Roy and Tai, 2003). To offer an attractive retail store environment – that is, to effectively manage the relationship between the customer and the retail store environment – retailers should know what their target consumers consider important when they chose a store in which to shop, and then design their stores to appeal to those targeted markets, thereby drawing customers into stores and developing customer loyalty. Thus, the purpose of the present study is to examine the influence of Hispanic consumers’ perceived importance of retail store environmental cues on store patronage behavior across various retail store formats. The study focuses on apparel retail stores because Hispanic consumers spend a significant share of their income on clothing items such as footwear and men's and children's apparel. According to HispanicTrends.com (January/February, 2005), Hispanic households spent, on average, $2097 for purchasing apparel items in 2004, which accounts for 6% of their annual expenditure based on an annual income of $35 k. This statistic is consistent with DRI McGraw-Hill's projection in that Hispanics are expected to drive significant growth in apparel and shoe purchases (Euro RSCG Magnet, 2002). Hispanic consumers’ substantial expenditure on apparel items may transform the existing apparel market and redefine its future. However, the apparel industry is one of the business sectors that invest the least amount of money to Hispanics, according to Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (2004). This study investigating Hispanic consumers’ patronage behaviors will provide practical information for apparel retailers to penetrate this lucrative consumer market and earn loyal customers.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The present study examined the influence of Hispanic consumers’ perceived importance of retail store environmental cues and two demographic characteristics (i.e., age and the number of years lived in the US) on their store patronage behavior across various retail store formats. The results support the overall models of regression analyses testing the relationships between aforementioned variables. The exploratory factor analysis of retail store attributes identified three dimensions: Convenience, Physical Atmosphere, and Customer Service. Of the three factors, Convenience received the highest mean value, followed by Physical Atmosphere and Customer Service. This result suggests that when Hispanic consumers shop for clothing items, they place the highest importance on the convenience of the store's location, shopping hours and store layout, and pleasant dressing rooms. However, results of this study also suggest that they value nice store displays (e.g., informative, entertaining, and neat displays) with music playing at the store, as well as customer service aspects such as assistance from the sales associates and store policies that allow for exchanging and returning items. When examining the degree of using five different retail store formats by comparing the mean values, Hispanic consumers used department stores most frequently, followed by mass merchant stores and specialty stores. As discussed earlier in the literature review (May, 1981), consumers may be involved in multiple activities when shopping and may make their store selections accordingly. Thus, the proximity to other shopping facilities might be one of the possible determinants of consumer store choice and their patronage behaviors to the store. One possible reason for Hispanic consumers’ more frequent use of department stores and mass merchant stores than other types of retail formats is that department stores and mass merchant stores carry a wide variety of product categories beyond apparel items, so consumers can accomplish multiple purposes of their shopping trip by visiting one place. This result is not consistent with the report released by Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor (2005a), indicating that Hispanics tend to most frequently shop at specialty stores. The result also shows that Internet website was the least frequently used retail format for Hispanic respondents. Enabling consumers to obtain information for potential purchases as well as making actual purchases, the Internet has become a major shopping channel. However, the Internet might be the least effective channel in reaching Hispanic consumers. Considering Hispanic consumers’ lower average income level when compared to the national average income, low computer ownership among Hispanic consumers might be one reason that Hispanics tend not to shop for clothes online. Another possible reason why Hispanic consumers do not use the Internet as a major shopping channel could be due to a language barrier; most Internet websites offer information only in English, while many Hispanics are more comfortable with information in Spanish. By offering their websites in Spanish, retailers may be able to multiply the effectiveness of selling products online. Five separate hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the influence of Hispanic consumers’ perceived importance of apparel retail store environmental cues and two demographic variables on the degree of using five different retail store formats when shopping for clothing items. In this study, Customer Service appeared as the strongest and most significant environmental cue in the respondents’ use of traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores, including department stores, specialty stores, and mass merchant stores, when shopping for clothing items. The results of the study support the previous findings that suggest the significant influences of customer service aspects, such as salespeople, in-store service and store reputation and image, on store patronage behavior (Bearden, 1977; Louviere, 1984; Thang and Tan, 2003). That is, customer service aspect is one of the most important retail store environmental cues in determining both general US consumers and Hispanic consumers’ store patronage behavior. However, being different from general US consumers, the results of the study suggest that customer service is the key environmental cue for Hispanic consumers’ frequent visits to the brick-and-mortar apparel retail stores, regardless of the store format. The findings also imply that employees’ attitudes toward their customers and store policies are crucial to Hispanic consumers’ frequent or repeat visits to apparel retail stores when shopping for clothing items. These findings could provide fundamental guidelines for department, specialty, and mass merchant store executives and managers who attempt to resurrect or improve their retail store's environment in order to attract Hispanic consumers. Sales personnel's attitude and manner toward their customers, as well as their knowledge regarding the products on sale, might be of great importance in encouraging Hispanic customers’ repeat visits to the store and eventually insuring purchase behavior at the store. To attract Hispanic consumers to their stores, apparel retail stores should provide more personal assistance with services such as ushering, locating items, explaining functions and uses of products, and carrying preferred products for them. Thus, hiring sales associates who can speak Spanish could help attract more Hispanic consumers to the store because Spanish-speaking sales associates may be better equipped to communicate effectively with some Hispanic consumers. In addition, they should offer flexible store return and exchange policies in Spanish because they prefer Spanish in their shopping environment and often read only Spanish (MarketingVOX, April 06, 2006). They also need to consider the convenience of their store location, and offer convenient shopping hours. By doing so, they may be able to give their retail stores a unique and positive image and, thus, appeal strongly to this group of consumers. In addition, Convenience was significantly, but negatively related to the respondents’ use of specialty stores for shopping clothing items, suggesting that Hispanic consumers who place high importance on the convenience features of retail stores do not tend to shop frequently at specialty stores. This finding implies that they may perceive specialty stores as less convenient than department stores and mass merchant stores, possibly due to the limited product categories carried by the specialty stores. This finding is understandable when considering the mean scores for the degree of visiting different retail store formats in the earlier discussion, which suggests that Hispanic consumers use the department stores and mass merchant stores more frequently than specialty stores. Although the lowest mean score of the degree of using Internet websites suggests that this retail format might be the least effective shopping channel to reach Hispanic consumers, Physical Atmosphere appeared as a significant predictor of the frequent use of Internet websites when shopping for clothing items. The result also showed that Physical Atmosphere was positively related to the degree of using Internet websites. The findings of the study suggest that Hispanic consumers who place high importance on the physical atmosphere of a retail store, such as window display, store layout, product display, and music playing at the store, tend frequently to visit Internet websites when shopping for clothing items. Thus, applying physical atmospheric cues from the traditional retail stores to Internet websites, thus creating a visually appealing Internet website design with well organized product display and music playing online, might be crucial for apparel retailers to increase Hispanic consumers’ repeat visits to websites when shopping for clothing items. Between the two demographic variables, the number of years lived in the US predicted Hispanic consumers’ use of department stores, Internet websites, and catalogues for shopping apparel items. The longer the respondents lived in the US, the more they tended to shop at department stores. However, the number of years lived in the US negatively influenced the use of Internet websites and catalogues. For those who just arrived in the US, communication with the people in the store and transportation might be critical deterrents in going out for shopping. Thus, it might be easier for them to stay home and place orders online or through the catalogues. Considering the language barrier for those who just arrived or lived only for a short period of time in the US, apparel retailers need to consider offering their websites or catalogues in Spanish to encourage those consumers to shop through those channels. This strategy also will be of help in attracting other Hispanic consumers because Hispanics, in general, prefer Spanish in their shopping environment and often read only Spanish (MarketingVOX, April 06, 2006). Age was another significant predictor in using Internet websites and catalogues for shopping clothing items. Age negatively influenced the frequency of shopping via Internet and catalogues. This result is understandable in that young people are more technology savvy than older people, and technology and the media are significant parts of their lifestyle (Harris Interactive, 2004). The results of this study suggest that Hispanic consumers who lived in the US for a comparatively short period of time and young people under age 20 are the major users of Internet websites and catalogues as shopping channels. However, they are vulnerable consumers in terms of their living circumstances and age. Considering the prevalence of Internet shopping and the potential for its future growth, apparel retailers should provide a safe shopping environment via the Internet and catalogues in order to protect these consumers. For example, possible dangers and risks related to online and catalogue shopping such as fraudulent credit card payments and privacy issues should be explained in Spanish on the websites and catalogues. In addition, safe and secure shopping guides such as keeping a record of transactions and checking the limit of a credit line before using it could accommodate sound consumption pattern. The results of this study, focused on Hispanics, are consistent with earlier studies of the influence of retail store environment on store patronage behavior (Bearden, 1977; Donovan and Rossiter, 1982; Louviere, 1984; Mazursky and Jacoby, 1986; Thang and Tan, 2003). This study has practical implications for apparel retailers regarding how to position their stores and how to allocate their resources in creating attractive and optimized apparel retail store environments in different retail store formats in order to attract Hispanic consumers. The findings from the study could serve as an important benchmark for retailing strategy, and retailers will be able to effectively redesign their retail stores to attract Hispanic consumers and eventually increase sales. As the results of this study suggest a strong and significant influence of customer service aspects on Hispanic consumers’ store patronage behaviors at brick-and-mortar stores including department stores, specialty stores, and mass merchant stores, further study investigating their perceptions or preferences of specific service quality features is recommended. Although this research offers insights to apparel retailers in building an effective retail store environment and differentiating their stores from others, the study has some limitations. Despite the significant results of the multiple regression analyses, only a small percentage of the variances in Hispanic consumers’ use of Internet websites and catalogues were explained by the three retail store environmental cue constructs. This result may be partly because of the Hispanic consumers’ significantly less frequent use of those retail formats than brick-and-mortar stores when shopping for apparel items. Moreover, the items used in this study to measure retail store environmental cues were more appropriate to measure brick-and-mortar stores rather than direct shopping channels such as the Internet and catalogues. Future study that investigates Hispanic consumers’ evaluations of Internet website- and catalogue-specific store environmental cues is recommended. Such research could help apparel retailers increase their retail channel efficiency in targeting Hispanic consumers. In addition, using one item scale to measure patronage behavior may raise concern for validity issue of the study. Thus, use of multiple item scale is recommended for future study. As the present study was conducted with a convenience sample in the southeastern part of the US, the research results cannot be generalized to the entire US Hispanic population. Future research is needed to gather a sample of Hispanic consumers from various areas across the United States in order to generalize their use of information sources in their apparel shopping activity.