انتقال تصویر مجلل از مراکز خرید به فروشگاه: یک توضیح تجانس خویشتن بینی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|26595||2006||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 59, Issue 12, November 2006, Pages 1288–1296
The social class image of a mall influences the quality perception of stores housed within the mall; this effect is explainable using self-congruity theory. A 3 × 2 × 2 factorial design experiment tests this explanation. The independent variables are store type (department store versus chain store versus secondary store), mall image (upscale mall versus downscale mall), and shoppers' socio-economic status (high SES shoppers versus low SES shoppers). The dependent measures include store image (two dimensions: look and “services”) and self-image congruence. Some 200 shoppers were exposed to their randomly assigned experimental treatment conditions that involve a video presentation of mall image and a store type. The study includes measuring informants socio-economic status. The findings confirm the mediating effect of self-congruity. The article discusses managerial implications of the self-congruity effect.
Mall managers and retailing research tradition converge on the opinion that shopping malls have no intrinsic image, whereas stores are supposed to have a “personality” or image and that image transfers to the mall. Could it be that shopping malls have an image of their own? If yes, can this image be transferred to the stores within the mall? Store image is a key concept in the retailing literature (e.g., Martineau, 1958 and Mazursky and Jacoby, 1986) that reflects shoppers' perception of a store in terms of functional and psychological attributes. Functional attributes are concrete, tangible, and observable (e.g., type and quality of the store's merchandising, the hours of operation, or the location convenience of the store), whereas psychological attributes are abstract, intangible, and not directly observable (e.g., the store's ambience and the type of people shopping at the store). Some studies have focused on the impact of store image on product perception (e.g., D'Astous and Gargouri, 2001), store satisfaction, store commitment, word-of-mouth, purchase intentions, and price insensitivity (e.g., Bloemer and Oderkerken-Schroder, 2002), and store loyalty (e.g., D'Astous and Levesque, 2003). Other studies (e.g., Bearden, 1977, Downs, 1970, Finn and Louviere, 1996, Hauser and Koppelman, 1979 and Lindquist, 1974–75) have shown that shopping malls have an image. However, the literature is silent about the influence of mall image on store image. Our study makes an attempt to address this issue. Traditionally, mall managers strive to enhance the mall image through substantial advertising (e.g., Cardona, 2003) to increase mall patronage (e.g., Parsons, 2003 and Parsons and Ballantine, 2004). Mall image captures shoppers' perception of the mall along a variety of dimensions such as price, layout, ease of reaching the mall and parking, visual appearance, reputation, merchandise, services, hours of operation, and atmosphere (Downs, 1970). Several studies have identified different dimensions of mall image. For example, Hauser and Koppelman (1979) identified five dimensions (variety, quality, satisfaction, value, and parking), and Finn and Louviere (1996) identified six dimensions (quality, selection, services, price, and trendiness). Does the social class image of a mall influence the quality image of a store within that mall? This report is the first to address this question. Only two retailing studies on image transfer are indirectly relevant, namely Burns (1992) and Kirkup and Rafiq (1994). Burns (1992) conducted a study demonstrating that the images of major stores affect the image of smaller stores-positively by department stores and negatively by discount stores. Thus, image transference of anchor department stores may occur sometimes in malls to secondary stores. Malls perceived to have stores with quality merchandise and service likely attract shoppers. Conversely, discount stores, perceived to have low quality merchandise and service, are likely to transfer their image to the malls housing them and other secondary stores within those malls. This explanation illustrates image transfer. Kirkup and Rafiq (1994), who analyzed how the tenants' mix affecting the occupancy rate in shopping malls, have shown that the lowest occupancy levels were observed for malls with no major anchor stores. Malls with anchor stores tend to absorb the image of the anchor stores. Malls with department stores as anchor stores are likely to reflect an image of quality merchandise and service—an image that appeals to shoppers seeking high quality merchandise and service. Conversely, malls with discount stores as anchor stores are likely to reflect an image of bargains, value, and savings. This image is likely to appeal to bargain hunters. That is, a mall with a highly defined image is likely to be successful in attracting shoppers that may identify themselves with the kind of shoppers that patronize the mall and its stores. They see themselves as being the kind of person that the mall is designed to cater to, and therefore feel attracted to that mall. One can explain this finding using the concept of self-image congruence (or “self-congruity” for short). Based on the concepts of image transfer and self-congruity, this article develops a model positing social class image of a mall interacts with shoppers' socio-economic status (specifically, the extent to which shoppers see themselves as upscale or downscale), and store type (department store versus chain store versus secondary store) to create a self-congruity experience. The self-congruity experience affects store image. This article describes the logic of the self-congruity explanation in the context of our hypotheses coming up shortly. The marketing and consumer behavior literatures demonstrate the effects of self-congruity on brand preference, choice, satisfaction, and loyalty (e.g., Ericksen and Sirgy, 1989, Ericksen and Sirgy, 1992, Sirgy, 1982, Sirgy, 1985a, Sirgy, 1985b, Sirgy et al., 1991, Sirgy et al., 1997, Sirgy et al., 2000 and Sirgy and Johar, 1999). Studies show that congruence between self-image and store image affects store preference and loyalty (e.g., Bellenger et al., 1976, Sirgy and Samli, 1985 and Sirgy et al., 2000). Shoppers select cues from a store environment (e.g., quality of the neighborhood) and infer from these cues the personal characteristics of the typical shoppers (e.g., shoppers' social class). Shoppers then compare store image with their own self-images. Thus, the selected cues help the shoppers experience self-congruity. In turn, self-congruity influences shopper's attitude toward a store. The theoretical model this paper proposes offers a self-congruity explanation to the research question—does the social class image of the mall influence the quality image of a store located within the mall? This article reports an empirical test of the model. The article articulates three sets of hypotheses, each set having a competing hypothesis building from a self-congruity explanation. Hypothesis 1 Hypothesis 1a versus 1b. H1a: store image (or perceived store quality) is a direct function of the social class image of the mall. Specifically, stores in upscale malls are more likely to be perceived to have high quality than stores in downscale malls (see Fig. 1).An alternative hypothesis is that store image (or perceived store quality) is an indirect function of the social class image of the mall mediated by self-congruity. This alternative hypothesis (H1b) deals with the mediating effect of self-congruity. In other words, we explain the effect of mall image on store image using self-congruity theory (Sirgy, 1986). Shoppers have a tendency to see themselves as more upscale compared to reality (e.g., Centers, 1949, Coleman, 1983, Fisher, 1987 and Jain, 1974). This bias stems from the need for self-esteem. People like to see themselves in a more positive light than actuality. Doing so boosts their self-esteem. Therefore, shoppers (irrespective of their socio-economic status) are likely to experience higher levels of self-congruity with upscale malls than downscale malls. This self-congruity bias makes shoppers not only evaluate upscale malls more positively than downscale malls but also the stores within. Hypothesis 2 Hypothesis 2a versus 2b. H2a: Store image (perceived store quality) is a direct function of the interaction between the social class image of the mall and the socio-economic status of shoppers. High socio-economic shoppers are likely to perceive stores housed within an upscale mall to have high quality than low socio-economic shoppers. Similarly, high socio-economic shoppers are likely to perceive stores housed within a downscale mall to have low quality than low socio-economic shoppers. H2b addresses the alternative hypothesis—the mediating effect of self-congruity (see Fig. 1). H2b: Store image (perceived store quality) is an indirect function of the interaction between the social class image of the mall and the socio-economic status of shoppers mediated by self-congruity. Specifically, high socio-economic shoppers are likely to experience high self-congruity with upscale malls. The self-congruity experience biases them to evaluate the stores housed within upscale malls as very positive. Low socio-economic shoppers are likely not to experience high self-congruity with upscale malls. Because they do not experience self-congruity with upscale malls, low socio-economic shoppers are likely to evaluate upscale malls less positive than their high socio-economic counterparts. The same self-congruity bias is likely to be evident in relation to downscale malls. Specifically, high socio-economic shoppers are likely to experience low self-congruity with downscale malls. The self-congruity experience biases shoppers to evaluate the stores in downscale malls negatively. Low socio-economic shoppers are likely to experience a certain degree of self-congruity with downscale malls. Because they do experience self-congruity with downscale malls, they are likely to evaluate downscale malls more positive than their high socio-economic counterparts (see Fig. 2).Hypothesis 3 Hypothesis 3a versus 3b. H3a: Store image (perceived store quality) is a direct function of the interaction between the social class image of the mall, the socio-economic status of shoppers, and store type. Specifically, the pattern articulated in H2 should be most evident for secondary stores and least evident for department stores. H3b captures the alternative hypothesis. H3b: Store image (perceived store quality) is an indirect function of the interaction between the social class image of the mall, the socio-economic status of shoppers, and store type mediated by self-congruity. The same self-congruity explanation applied to H2b applies here with a further qualification, namely that the self-congruity effect is most evident in relation to secondary stores and least evident for department stores. Department stores are likely to have a more established store image due to significant marketing efforts (e.g., significant advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and word-of-mouth communications). Therefore, store quality perceptions are likely to be pre-determined and may be not subject to the influence of the social class image of the mall. However, this case is different for secondary stores. Typically, secondary stores do not have an established image, and therefore quality perceptions of these stores are subject to the influence of the social class image of the mall. Chain stores are considered to be in the middle of the road. On the one hand, they have an established image due to significant marketing efforts, but perhaps their image is less well-established compared to department stores.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
While the data analyses provide support for the hypothesis stating that stores in upscale malls are more likely to be perceived to have high quality than stores housed in downscale malls (H1a), the support for the alternative hypothesis (H1b) is even stronger (i.e., shopping at upscale malls is likely to generate high levels of self-congruity than shopping at downscale malls). In other words, the higher the self-congruity the more likely the stores would be perceived as having high quality. The hypothesis stating that high socio-economic shoppers are likely to perceive stores housed within a downscale mall to have low quality than low socio-economic shoppers (H2a) is not supported. However, the alternative hypothesis that high socio-economic shoppers should experience high levels of self-congruity with upscale malls than low socio-economic shoppers was supported. Furthermore, the higher the self-congruity the more likely the stores would be perceived as having high quality. The empirical support for H2b reinforces the robustness of the self-congruity explanation. The study further hypothesizes that the pattern in relation to H2a and H2b (as Fig. 2 shows) should be most evident for secondary stores and least evident for department stores. H3a focuses on the direct effect of the interaction between mall image, socio-economic status, and store type on store image, whereas H3b focuses on the indirect effect reflecting the mediation of self-congruity (see Fig. 1). The data analysis fails to support H3a but provides some support for the mediation effect. However, that support is not entirely consistent with the hypothesis. While the study includes the expectation that the interaction pattern between mall image and socio-economic status to be most evident for secondary stores, less so for chain stores, and least so for department stores, this was found in relation to secondary stores and department stores. This discrepancy can be explained as follows. Department stores' image may be not substantially stronger than that of chain stores. Future research should further investigate this assumption by incorporating an image strength measure in the survey instrument. 3.1. Managerial implications Mall management should realize that the mall's image is likely to affect the image of the stores within. Management should strive to enhance the mall's image in every way possible. Stores within the mall are likely to benefit directly from the mall's image campaign. Mall management should take into account these benefits in their rental pricing. The findings indicate that stores significantly benefit from improvements in mall image (i.e., better atmosphere, competitive prices, less crowding, and better services), particularly secondary stores. In other words, stores that do not have an established image are most likely to benefit from the image building efforts of the mall. From the perspective of store management and store location decisions, store managers should study the mall image profile of various malls before making a decision to locate within a given mall. Managers should identify malls that have images consistent with the image of their store. Furthermore, store management should cooperate with mall management in strengthening the mall's image. This action is useful because doing so benefits both the mall and all the stores in the mall. Moreover, store management should pressure mall management to closely monitor the mall's image and take corrective action when findings warrant such action. The findings regarding the effects of self-image congruence should also convince mall managers to pay attention to the degree to which the mall's image fits with the culture and identity of the target market. More precisely, they should pay attention to the individual elements of the mall and their meaning for specific target segments. The elements of the mall that constitute a positive image in the context of one subculture (e.g., Miami Hispanics) may not be the same in another subculture (e.g., upscale Bostonians). A general recipe of what constitutes a positive mall image does not exist. The management of a local mall working for a chain firm receives pressure from the headquarters to adhere to standard guidelines of what constitutes a positive mall image (e.g., ambient music, décor). Local studies are necessary to ensure that the guidelines apply in the local context.