مشاهدات مصرف کننده در انتخاب کانال استراتژی رقابتی در خرده فروشی مواد غذایی فنلاندی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22522||2009||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9820 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 16, Issue 4, July 2009, Pages 260–270
This article aims at providing consumers’ observations on their choices between various grocery retailing channels. The theoretical roots are based on Porter's competitive strategies and their further developed variations, but also the retailing research concerning competition and consumer perspective will be discussed. The results of the study confirm that consumers have one primary store, which is often a hypermarket or a supermarket. In addition, they prefer to shop in several supplementary stores located close to their homes. The empirical study also reveals that all retail channels have both weaknesses and strengths from the consumers’ viewpoint.
A retail channel is a pathway from the producer to the consumers. It contains various retailers who are involved in the delivery of goods and services to consumers. The traditional perspective sees the channel as a structure with several producers, a limited number of retailers or other intermediaries and an unlimited amount of consumers as final users (Järvinen and Lehtinen, 1997). However, during the last decade traditional channels have experienced several changes when retail chains have developed bigger entities and multi-channel models have replaced the traditional channel structures. In addition, consumers have become multi-channel shoppers as a consequence of decline in channel loyalty (Gensler et al., 2007). The changing reality is about to have its effect on the topics emerging among academics working with retail channel research. The tradition in channel research has been strong since the 1960s and the variety of research conducted vast (see state-of-the-art reviews by e.g. Schwartz, 1965; Gaski, 1984; Stern and El-Ansary, 1992; Cronin et al., 1994). Relationships between producers and intermediaries from the producers’ point of view have dominated the channel studies. The most common variables in channel research have been power and conflict (e.g. Gaski, 1984), whereas channel competition and co-operation have become sources of interest only recently, and even today these topics are rare in channel research. Stern and El-Ansary (1992) (see also Weitz and Jap, 1995; Andersson et al., 1996) do not even mention the term competition in their classification of various types of channel research. However, it can be assumed that competition within the channel is one cause of the conflicts occurred. The review by Järvinen (1998) concludes that channel literature does not accept consumers as full members within the channel and there are no extensive discussions on the influence of consumers even though it is the consumers that in the end decide which retailers they buy from and which they do not. Falvey (1988, 277) reminds that: You can do almost everything wrong in business and still succeed if you serve the customer. You can do just about everything right in business and fail if you do not take care of their needs, wants, desires, and emotions. Falvey's words hold in the grocery retailing competition even today. His view is supported by Stern and El-Ansary (1992) as they encourage all channel members to keep their eyes on the most important people in the entire channel – consumers – and Hardy and Magrath (1988), who remind that one of the oldest axioms in marketing is to keep close to the consumers. Anderson et al. (1996) even suggest that channels should be evaluated with two dimensions: consumer needs and costs. In spite of the few arguments on behalf of consumers’ importance in retail channel context, consumers seem to be the most neglected factor in the channel research. Therefore, it is important to shift the focus of retail channel studies to the consumer perspective. This article aims at providing consumer's observations on their choices between various grocery retailing channels. The study was started along the lines of the research idea developed by Morganosky (1997), who has conducted studies on the impacts of structural changes within grocery retailing on grocery retailing itself and the consumers. Her special concern has been the cross-shopping patterns between different grocery retailing channels. The article endeavors to find answers to the following questions: • What are the cross-shopping patterns of Finnish consumers within different grocery retailing channels? • What do consumers regard as the strengths and weaknesses of different retail channels? • How do retail channels compete with or complete each other from the consumers’ viewpoint? Section 2 will discuss the channel competitive strategies in grocery retailing, after which in Section 3 there will be details and analysis of the research data. Section 4 will briefly touch upon the Finnish retail grocery channels as the context of the study, followed by consumer observations on these grocery retail channels in Section 5. In Section 6, the paper will concentrate on channel competition or completion from the consumers’ viewpoint, and in Section 7 conclusions and discussion were outlined.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
When consumers are shopping they use several channels, and retailers have made it easy for them to move between alternative channels. Variables that promote multi-channel shopping behavior are time poverty, satisfaction with local offerings, community attachment and shopping criteria (Johnson et al., 2006). In this study, consumers favor primarily hypermarkets and secondarily supermarkets as their main choices for grocery shopping. This is the expected result, as the market share of this kind of large retail units has grown in Finland since the end of the 1980s (Koistinen and Vesala, 2006). The most frequently visited supplementary choices are the neighborhood stores and convenience stores close to home. Other retail channels (e.g. market places, market halls, kiosks, service stations) are only used as supplementary choices. On the basis of the present study, it can be concluded that when the key criteria for choosing the primary grocery retailing channel are price, quality, selection and assortment, and shopping environment, the main choices are hypermarkets and supermarkets. If the most important criteria are service, shopping efficiency and accessibility on foot or by public transportation, the first choices of the consumers are neighborhood and convenience stores and supermarkets. The study confirms that supermarkets compete with both hypermarkets, and neighborhood and convenience stores. During the past few years, the retail groups in Finland have built new hypermarkets, expanded old hypermarkets and increased the supply of specialty products in hypermarkets. In other words, the retailing business has assumed that the consumers want to connect grocery shopping with shopping for specialty products. This study shows that this is often not the case. Supermarkets, which mainly supply groceries, proved to be the most competitive choice from the consumers’ viewpoint. Accordingly, the retail groups in Finland should seriously reconsider their store strategy, especially in connection with strategic positioning (see e.g., Yiu and Yau, 2006). Following the example of municipalities and provincial federations, also retailers should carefully consider the type and size of unit needed for each planned location. When the land use plans have provided space for large retail units, this has normally meant building hypermarkets. However, since the Ministry of Environment endeavors to make the urban structure more compact instead of decentralized, and since the size of Finnish households is constantly decreasing, and as consumers do not want to combine grocery shopping with shopping for specialty products, it might be that in the future, supermarkets will be the most competitive choice in the grocery retail markets. It is possible to plan supermarkets of the size which the consumers feel can offer them a sufficiently diversified supply of products. In addition to this, supermarkets are smaller in size than hypermarkets and thus it is easier to include them in the compact urban structure, whereas hypermarkets often need to be located outside urban centers where they are only accessible by car. It can be concluded that Finnish consumers are used to multi-channel choices and they are capable of taking advantage of channel competition strategies. In addition, the empirical results show that the cost-based strategy is not dominating, but consumers value other criteria too. Quality and assortment in particular came up in each channel. Therefore, there is room for the other two strategy dimensions, quality of performance and scope of convenience, in the retailing markets. The quality for consumers means fresh food with low or reasonable price. Extra services and long business hours are found attractive, whereas consumers’ attitudes towards location were divided; store should either be close to home or at a distance with free car parking. This study reveals quite many differences between grocery retail channels. This differs from the results of the study by Pitkäaho et al. (2005) where all five studied channel types come close to each other when choice criteria are compared. For example, location near home is the most important attribute of all channels in the research of Pitkäaho et al. (2005), whereas in this study location dominates only in connection with neighborhood stores. Hypermarkets’ and supermarkets’ locations are described with such expressions as ‘on the way home’ and ‘easy access by car’. In addition, focusing as a strategic choice seems to work very well in the Finnish market, particularly when it is connected to choosing the supplementary store, such as market places and market halls. This is quite an opposite view compared to the one in the study of Uusitalo (1998). According to our study Finnish consumers are rather loyal shoppers and they are also active in using loyalty cards. However, in reality the cards are so popular that it is usual to have two–five loyalty cards in each household. This phenomenon refers to ‘floating customers’ (see Gensler et al., 2007) and it is about time that retail chains develop their loyalty programs further in order to tie their customers in more closely. Particular attention should be paid to catering for smaller households, as their number is increasing every year. The amount of one- and two-person households is already 70 per cent of Finnish households. In addition, one of the retailers’ primary goals in today's competitive environment is to engage customers by keeping them interested in their store (Jones and Reynolds, 2006). That can be done e.g. by organizing special offers and various campaigns with special themes. Changes in working hours and leisure time are influencing the preferences of consumers, their flexibility and individualization (Cuthbertson et al., 2006). The growth of information and communication technologies in the society may lead to increasing opportunities for e-commerce and home deliveries (Cuthbertson et al., 2006). So far consumers prefer traditional shopping options because of higher prices and problems with logistic arrangements in e-commerce. One issue we did not discuss in this article is the motivation behind channel choice. Typically research in shopping distinguishes between two different orientations: economic shopping on one hand and recreational shopping on the other (Bäckström, 2006). Economic shopping refers strongly to the fact that grocery retailing is a necessity for most consumers. In recreational shopping elements like social aspects, atmosphere, store design, display and layout are associated with in-store experiences (Bäckström and Johansson, 2006). The reason why consumers shop will definitely affect which channel they choose and, therefore, this issue should be included in future retail channel studies. This is confirmed in the study by Cottet et al. (2006) that also revealed that atmosphere, service and store employees increase the shopping value most. Our study contains consumers’ opinions on service, and in some channels evaluations of atmosphere, but leaves employees outside the scope of the study. Opinions are described in terms like ‘customer-friendly’, ‘polite personnel’ or ‘familiar personnel’. On the other hand, positive atmosphere seems to contain free public facilities, free car parking, nice layout, quick shopping, café, etc.