The Impact of Shopping Motives on Store-Assessment

ABSTRACT - In this article the question will be analyzed as to whether different shopping motives influence expectations from a store and whether these shopping motives affect consumers’ in-store behavior. We assume that the point-of-sale assessment depends on the consumer’s perceived shopping motives before entering the store. A thorough review of the literature shows that shopping motivations represents a fairly mature rea of research. However, in previous studies one aspect is missing or has been considered insufficiently: the idea of Asmart shopping.@ Many retailers consider Asmart shopping@ as a remarkable trend of the late ’90s. ASmart shopping@ comprises high sensitivity on prices; smart shoppers are always keen on getting a discount. In this study, we paid special attention to this shopping motive. The empirical investigation was conducted in an Austrian furniture store. Customers were interviewed on several shopping interests and their impressions of the store. Using Cluster Analysis, homogeneous groups with different emphases on specific shopping motives were found. One cluster can be characterized as very price-oriented. Further results show that there is a significant difference between the clusters concerning emotional and cognitive evaluation of the store. We also discuss whether the furniture store meets the different consumer needs in an appropriate way, and to which extent our method can be used to detect strong and weak points in a retail setting.



Citation:

Andrea Groeppel-Klein, Eva Thelen, and Christoph Antretter (1999) ,"The Impact of Shopping Motives on Store-Assessment", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, eds. Bernard Dubois, Tina M. Lowrey, and L. J. Shrum, Marc Vanhuele, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 63-72.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, 1999      Pages 63-72

THE IMPACT OF SHOPPING MOTIVES ON STORE-ASSESSMENT

Andrea Groeppel-Klein, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt

Eva Thelen, Leopold Franz University, Innsbruck

Christoph Antretter, Leopold Franz University, Innsbruck

ABSTRACT -

In this article the question will be analyzed as to whether different shopping motives influence expectations from a store and whether these shopping motives affect consumers’ in-store behavior. We assume that the point-of-sale assessment depends on the consumer’s perceived shopping motives before entering the store. A thorough review of the literature shows that shopping motivations represents a fairly mature rea of research. However, in previous studies one aspect is missing or has been considered insufficiently: the idea of "smart shopping." Many retailers consider "smart shopping" as a remarkable trend of the late ’90s. "Smart shopping" comprises high sensitivity on prices; smart shoppers are always keen on getting a discount. In this study, we paid special attention to this shopping motive. The empirical investigation was conducted in an Austrian furniture store. Customers were interviewed on several shopping interests and their impressions of the store. Using Cluster Analysis, homogeneous groups with different emphases on specific shopping motives were found. One cluster can be characterized as very price-oriented. Further results show that there is a significant difference between the clusters concerning emotional and cognitive evaluation of the store. We also discuss whether the furniture store meets the different consumer needs in an appropriate way, and to which extent our method can be used to detect strong and weak points in a retail setting.

THE RELEVANCE OF SHOPPING-MOTIVES FOR IN-STORE-MARKETING

In 1972, Tauber was one of the first to ask the question of "Why do people shop?" and declared: "The most obvious answer because they need to purchase something' can be a most deceptive one and reflects a marketing myopia which management has been cautioned to avoidBa product orientation. This answer considers only the products which people may purchase and is but a partial and insufficient basis for behavioral explanations. It implicitly assumes that the shopping motive is a simple function of the buying process" (Tauber, 1972, p.46).

To test this "simple function," Tauber carried out an explorative study using in-depth interviews. Thirty Americans from Los Angeles were asked to describe their last shopping trip and to talk about their activities, feelings and experiences. Tauber identified various types of consumers with different shopping motives. Four of these are of particular interest. Self-gratifying consumers, as a first group, try to alleviate depression by spending money. The shopping process is motivated not by the utility of consumption but by the buying process itself. Secondly, those people living in a congested urban environment welcome the opportunity to walk in spacious and appealingly laid-out centers and malls. Members of the third category "sensory-stimulation-seekers" enjoy the physical sensation of handling merchandise, the pleasant background music and the scents. Finally, the motive "pleasure of bargaining" is recognized. These consumers enjoy negotiating ("bazaar atmosphere").

Although Tauber’s investigation was based on a very small sample and although in-depth interviews belong to the criticized methods concerning reliability and validity, Tauber was able to show that consumers also buy products for other than supply motives. Tauber inspired many researchers to analyze shopping motives. Furthermore, Tauber¦s 25 year-old idea is still relevant: "Retailers may find that these hypothesized shopping motives offer additional opportunities for market segmentation and store differentiation." The following article deals with this hypothesis. However, we will first present an overview on important empirical studies based upon Tauber¦s typology.

Taking Tauber’s findings into consideration, Westbrook and Black (1985) define seven major dimensions of shopping motives for an empirical study. These dimensions vary substantially across individuals and shopping situations. Westbrook and Black describe motives as "hypothetical and unobservable psychological constructs postulated to explain both the energized and directive aspects of human behavior." Accordingly, motives are "forces instigating behavior to satisfy internal need states" (Westbrook and Black, 1985, p. 89). hus, shopping motives are fundamental, target-oriented forces occuring in the organism, which can be satisfied by shopping activities. In addition, Westbrook and Black emphasize that shopping motives can be independent of the product to be purchased, representing "enduring characteristics of individuals" (p. 87). Hence, shopping motives can also be interpreted as person-specific causes of involvement. Westbrook and Black differentiate the following seven shopping motives:

"anticipated utility"

desire for innovative products, expectation of benefits or hedonistic states which will be provided by the product to be acquired through shopping

"role enactment"

culturally prescribed roles regarding the conduct of shopping activity, such as careful price and product comparisons

"negotiation"

motivation to seek economic advantages through bargaining interactions with sellers, "bazaar atmosphere"

"choice optimization"

desire to buy the "absolute optimum"

"affiliation"

motivation to affiliate with friends, other shoppers, or retail merchants; shopping is understood as a social process

"power and authority"

desire to be superior to the retail personnel

"stimulation"

motivation to seek novel and interesting stimuli from the retail environment, shopping just for fun

Westbrook and Black (1985) developed a statement-battery to register the shopping motives mentioned above and interviewed 203 adult female shoppers, who were classified into six groups by means of a cluster analysis. With regard to demographic criteria, these groups were identicalBwith regard to their attitude toward the shopping motives, the groups were different. Thus, following Westbrook and Black, one can identify highly-involved consumers, who try to satisfy all kinds of shopping motives, as well as apathetic, indifferent consumers who regard shopping as a "necessary evil" to be conducted as quickly as possible. Two additional clusters are characterized by the fact that they especially stress one of the described motives. Westbrook and Black call these two "choice optimizers" and "economic shoppers," according to their preferences.

Against the background of the environmental psychology-based behavior-model of Mehrabian and Russell (1974) [For more details, see Groeppel (1991).] and of Westbrook’s and Black’s shopping motives, Dawson et al. (1990) conducted an empirical study to investigate the connection between pre-existing shopping motives on the one hand and reactions (retail choice and preference) and emotional states at the point of sale on the other hand. The largest American arts and crafts market was chosen for data collection. At this market only original, hand crafted items are sold. Furthermore, entertainment such as live-music and live-shows is offered.

Dawson et al. (1990) interviewed nearly 300 visitors of this spectacular market concerning their shopping motives and their emotional impressions and cognitive evaluations. An exploratory Factor Analysis applid to the statements used to measure the shopping motives revealed two dimensions. The first factor comprises statements representing product motivations such as finding a variety of new products, unique crafts and food at reasonable prices. The second can be described as the "stimulation" factor according to Westbrook and Black (1995). This factor captures experiential motives such as watching other people, enjoying the crowds, seeing and hearing entertainment and experiencing interesting sights, sounds and smells. In a second step, Dawson et al. (1990) examined the impact of these two shopping motives on emotions and on retail preference and choice. Their results show that consumers who are strongly motivated by "stimulation" and "product interest" (the desire to obtain as much information about the product as possible) experience the most pleasure and the highest level of activation in the marketplace. Likewise, shopping motives influence the duration of staying in the store as well as the desire to explore the shopping environment. Examining the influence of the two shopping motives on the dependent variables shows that those consumers who had high scores on the "stimulation factor" above all enjoy the overall atmosphere of the market. Whereas those consumers who primarily focused the product-oriented factor appreciated by the quality of the crafts. They bought more items than those who only wanted to be stimulated by the market atmosphere. These results suggest that consumers focus on different aspects of the shopping environment according to their pre-existing shopping motives.

The investigation by Babin et al. (1994) can also be cited in this context. The authors investigated whether consumers evaluate shopping as "work" or "fun." They developed a comprehensive scale to measure these two diametric point of view. The main study was conducted in a shopping mall delivering more than 400 respondents. Using a confirmatory factor analysis, Babin et al. were able to show that it is useful to distinguish between utilitarian and hedonic shopping motives. The first factor describes a particular consumption need and is called "utilitarian shopping value" comparable to the "product interest" dimension in Dawson’s (1990) study. This factor comprises all functional aspects of shopping behavior and can be seen as task-related and rational. The second derived dimension, the so-called hedonic value, is similar to Dawson’s stimulation factor, but is more comprehensive. According to Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) Babin et al. (1994, p. 646) define hedonic value as "more subjective and personal than its utilitarian counterpart and results more from fun and playfulness than from task completion. Thus, hedonic shopping value reflects shopping’s potential entertainment and emotional worth. ... Increased arousal, heightened involvement, perceived freedom, fantasy fulfillment, and escapism may all indicate a hedonistically valuable shopping experience."

Babin et al (1990) emphasize that shopping trips can have a hedonic value irrespective of whether something is purchased or not. The results of Babin et al. reveal that consumer behavior does not always satisfy functional or economic needs (Sherry, 1990; Fischer and Arnold, 1990). Shopping motives and their impact on the perception of store atmosphere and merchandise concept should therefore be of major interest to both, retailers and researchers.

Groeppel (1995) examined whether shopping motives influence the acceptance of different retail categories. More than 500 consumers were interviewed as to their evaluation of diverse furniture retail categories as well as possible furniture shopping motives. The shopping motives were operationalised according to Westbrook and Black (1994). However, Groeppel stresses the importance of "price orientation." Groeppel’s study revealed that the diverse furniture retail categories satisfy different shopping motives. The "specialty store" is mainly preferred by consumers who are not price-oriented but strongly emphasize the importance of counseling and the stimulating shopping atmosphere. With increasing price orientation, the practical asect also becomes more important. At the same time such consumers lower their choice-optimization. In this case the discount store will be preferred.

If consumers are purely price-oriented they are willing to take the trouble to shop (e.g., stand in line in front of the cash register, in a narrow store or shop out of cardboard boxes) in order to satisfy their shopping motive. These consumers usually neither demand high quality assortment nor are they interested in checking the quality carefully. It can be summarized that successful retail categories specialize in different shopping motives.

Conclusion: All quoted empirical investigations prove the relevance of shopping motives for understanding consumer behavior at the point-of-sale. Shopping motives can influence perceived emotions at the point-of-sale, cognitive assessment of the merchandise, as well as the desire to stay in order to explore the store and purchase products. Furthermore, these studies show that consumers have different requirements of and expectations from the store depending on their pre-existing shopping motive. However, in most empirical investigations, price-orientation as a motivational factor was disregarded, except for Groeppel’s (1995) study, which included the idea of "smart shopping." Nonetheless, Groeppel did not analyze the problem that may arise for a store with customer groups with different pre-existing shopping motives. The following research questions therefore arise:

1.Is it possible in one store to identify different consumer groups which are either interested in an utilitarian or in a hedonic shopping value (Babin et al. 1990) or are more or less price-oriented?

2.Will the perception of a retailer differ significantly among these clusters?

3.Do members of the diverse clusters have different expectations?

According to the empirical studies which were discussed above, the following hypothesis can be derived:

H1a:If in one single store, different customer segments with different shopping motives can be identified, we can assume that these clusters will evaluate the store differently and that the perceived mood at the point-of-sale will also differ.

Hypothesis 1b is to establish why the store evaluation might differ among the clusters. From research in consumer satisfaction, it is clear that customer satisfaction can be measured as the gap between pre-existing expectations of a product or service and its actual evaluation.

H1b:If customer segments with emphasis on different shopping motives can be identified, the store assessment of the segments will depend on the fulfillment of each customer group’s expectations.

In order to analyze this thesis, the pre-existing shopping motives, expectations of customers concerning the store before entering it and the evaluation of perceived performance at the point of sale need to be measured. Before examining these hypotheses, the shopping motive "price orientation" will be discussed from a theoretical point of view so as to explain the relevance of this construct.

CONSUMERS’ PRICE INTEREST

As mentioned in the first chapter, there seems to be an increasing tendency towards price-oriented strategies in retailing. In many industrialized countries discount stores are the winners of the century. For example, discount food stores in Germany were able to increase their market share from 8.9 to 15.5% within ten years (1983-1993). According to Nielsen, a market share of about 20% is likely for the year 2000. The triumph of the discount stores, being not only restricted to the food branch, is achieved particularly at the cost of the traditional specialist stores. During the past years, the latter lost much of their market share (1980: 55.4%B1995: 35.4% in former West Germany). One possible explanation for the success of discount stores is the so called "smart-shopping" phenomenon.

"To shop for clever bargains" is a shopping slogan which can be observed internationally and is relevant for all income classes. Compared to the ’80s, consumers are more price-oriented, also when it comes to branded products. "Bargain-guides" with addresses of factory-outlets that sell branded products with massive price reductions find a ready market. A representative, empirical study on German consumer behavior has shown that 34% of the interviewed persons go for special offers and regard themselves as "smart shoppers." Many practitioners believe that smart shopping will be the predominant consumption trend. To explain the background of this phenomenon the "price interest" construct should be analyzed in detail.

Diller (1991, p.86) defines price interest as consumers’ motivation to search for price cues and to consider these cues in their buying decisions. According to this definition, "price interest" consists of three components:

* Intensity of searching for price information (intensity dimension)

* Objects, accuracy, and extent of price interest (content dimension)

* Manifestation of price interest (consequences of the price interest).

Whereas Diller considers visible consequences of price interest, Mnller-Hagedorn (1983, p.994) emphasizes the intensity dimension and defines "price interest" as a consumer’s desire to gain information about prices. From both definitions, a common motivational character of the price interest-construct can be derived. This is also the topic of this paper. Price interest is not regarded as an innate, but as a secondary, motive depending on learning processes. The origin of price interest may lay in:

* the desire to be supplied with goods

* desire to fulfil social expectations (e.g., the role of the well-informed consumer)

* performance-oriented causes (cleverness, consumers’ pride in being efficient)

However, the searching for relief is contradictory, especially when price-oriented behavior requires enormous effort in information seeking.

The intensity of the price-interest differs from situation to situation, and from person to person. There are many empirical investigations attempting to find out variables influencing this behavior. Although the results are indeed inconsistent, they show however the general importance of the price-interest construct. Earlier empirical studies most often investigated only demographic and product oriented features as possible determinants of price interest. Wimmer (1982 established that, in Germany, elderly people and those of lower social status showed less price interest than expected. By contrast, American studies show that the lower the social class, the higher is the price interest (except for the lowest social class; Simon, 1992, p. 594). Kroeber-Riel (1980, p. 522) remarks that at the beginning of the ’80s especially members of the social middle class showed strong price interest. This is deduced from their achievement motivation. In the late ’80s and at the beginning of the ’90s this attitude changed in favor of an emotional benefit oriented consumer and a higher demand on quality (Kroeber-Riel, Weinberg, 1996). Today "value-for-money" assessment becomes more and more important, since an increasing number of consumers are willing to buy high quality brands without higher expenditures. Karmasin (1994) reports that "price interest" has become a new dimension to characterize a new life style. Such consumers are regarded as clever and trendy, having an excellent price knowledge, and being able to use special discounts.

Furthermore, studies of the ’70s (Diller 1991) showed that the level of price interest depends on the possibility to get price information on a particular market. Price interest was higher on markets with great transparency. If this thesis holds today, price interest should increase during the following years through greater availability of price information via Internet.

Another explanatory variable for the intensity of price interest could be product involvement. Diller (1991, p.89) found that products affecting the ego of a person do not gain as much price interest as convenience goods. However, this result is only valid under the assumption that price interest is defined as a construct encompassing the motivation to buy the cheapest product. Nonetheless, we recommend a characterization of the price interest-construct by the intensity and content dimensions only. A high-involvement consumer will be interested in the prices of interesting products anyway, since the price is one remarkable product feature.

Yet, that does not imply the consumer’s desire to buy the cheapest product. According to Diller’s definition, such consumer behavior would not be regarded as "price interested," though the high-involvement consumer might know many prices. Therefore, in this article, price interest is defined as the desire to gain price information. For instance, it can be achieved by reading leaflets or by searching for value-for-money cues. The consequences of this search for information, e.g., the wish to buy products at a reasonable price ("price orientation"), are not covered by this definition. Although price interest and price orientation might be correlated, we still operationalise both dimensions separately for customer segmentation. In the following, price interest is considered as a shopping motive. We examine whether consumers who describe themselves as being highly interested in furniture prices make better estimations of such prices than those with low price interest. At this point the second hypothesis can be deduced:

H2:If consumers regard themselves as very interested in prices, they have a significantly more realistic price awareness than consumers with low price interest.

TABLE 1

FACTOR ANALYSIS ON SHOPPING MOTIVE-STATEMENTS (PRINCIPLE COMPONENT METHOD, QUARTIMAX ROTATION)

EXPLORATORY STUDY: METHOD AND SAMPLE

The data base for the present study was generated in 1997 by graduate participants in a market research class at the Department of Marketing and Retailing (Leopold Franz University Innsbruck). The study was conducted in one of Innsbruck’s largest furniture stores which offers a broad product assortment of medium o high quality level. All students attended a training session. Four students interviewed customers just before they entered the store and gave each one a personal ID-number identical to the number on the questionnaire. All interviewed shoppers were asked to present themselves again after shopping, behind the cashiers’ zone for further questions. They were identified by their ID-number. Both pre- and post-shopping interview lasted about 15 minutes. 150 valid questionnaires were finally analyzed.

In the pre-shopping interview customers were asked some initial questions such as: whether they already knew the store and if so, whether they come to that store more or less frequently; whether they search for something special; how they became first aware of the store. The persons were also asked standardized questions about their shopping motives and price interest. In addition they were asked to rate several statements on their expectations of the store concerning the assortment, store design, service, advice offered by sales personnel, and price level. Picture scales were used to derive insight into preferred furniture and living-style.

Shoppers also participated in a "price-test" before entering the store: a photograph of a seating furniture of the retailer’s assortment was presented to estimate the price. It was of the type that is often found in Austrian kitchens. To finish the pre-shopping part of the interview, the time upon entering the shop was recorded.

At the beginning of the post-shopping interview, the time was noted in order to calculate how long the customer had stayed in the store. All statements on the marketing-mix of the retail outlet were presented again to determine the extent of agreement. In the pre-shopping interview, the customers’ expectations on certain criteria were checked. However, in the post-shopping part, evaluation of the same criteria was of special interest. Also, the "price-test" about the corner bench was repeated. Furthermore, the candidates were asked about their mood during shopping, and which products they had bought. Finally, demographic data was recorded.

TABLE 2

RESULTS OF THE CLUSTER ANALYSIS (FINAL CLUSTER CENTERS)

ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

All statements concerning shopping motives were first examined by means of Factor Analysis in order to exclude implicit weighing and to extract dimensions on a higher level. With a Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy of 0.50953 the sample delivers only a "poor" adequacy just above the critical value of 0.5. The Bartlett Test of Sphericity, however, shows high significance. Therefore, Factor Analysis can be used to comprise the statements on shopping motives. Using the principle component method, four factors were extracted explaining 58.1% of total variance (Table 1).

The results after Quartimax Rotation can be interpreted as follows: the first factor explaining 19.4% of total variance comprises statements on price-oriented shopping motives. Particularly the statement "I am above all interested in low budget offers" as well as "I am searching for a special price offer" load extremely high on that dimension. The factor is therefore labeled "Price-orientation." The statements "I like the fascinating atmosphere of furniture stores and enjoy browsing furniture outlets just for fun" and "I am looking for some new ideas for the decoration in my flat/house" show high values on the second factor. It is thus labeled "Stimulation Seeking." The third factor still explains 13% of variance. It comprises "I am intending to have a close look at certain products" and also "I definitely want to buy something." The third statement of that factor "I am searching for something special that I could not find in other stores" needs to be excluded from further analysis because of its low factor loading. The third factor is marked "Actual Buying Intention." The last factor with high loading on "I expect detailed advice by the retail merchants" represens the desire for advice.

Three further statements on the subjective price interest have also been examined by Factor Analysis:

* "I gain most of my perceptions on product prices from leaflets.

* "I can make a pretty good guess on the price from how the product is finished and from the material."

* "I am very interested in furniture prices."

Analysis of Variance showed that the first and the second statement each load on a separate factor. "I am very interested in furniture prices," however, loads extremely high on both other factors. It is thus excluded from further analysis. To summarize the results drawn from Factor Analysis, six dimensions can be named: price-orientation, desire for stimulation, actual buying intention, desire for advice, interest in prices of leaflets, as well as price knowledge based upon quality.

Subsequently, a Quick Cluster Analysis was conducted over the factor values derived from the six dimensions stated above. Of the 149 interviewed persons 141 were classified into three groups. The remaining 8 questionnaires could not be used for missing values. Table 2 shows the final cluster centers.

The Cluster Analysis reveals three groups that differ in desire and need with respect to the furniture outlet. Members of the first cluster can be described as stimulation seekers. These consumers especially seek an animated atmosphere and enjoy browsing through furniture stores in order to get ideas for home decoration. They prefer "sneaking" through the shop without necessarily seeking advice from sales personnel. The second cluster emphasizes qualified advice and can therefore be called "advice-oriented consumers." It is remarkable that both characteristics "search for a special price offer" as well as "interest in prices stated in leaflets" show negative values. The latter has a diametrical outcome in the third group. These customers are extremely interested in prices and thus similar to the "Smart Shopper" described above. In their own opinion, they also have a thorough knowledge of prices. Since they are always looking for special price offers, they are interested mainly in the prices stated in leaflets. As for the rest, it seems that the remarkable price interest of this cluster does not depend on total household income, number, or age of household members. Analysis of Variance on these demographic variables does not show a significant difference. These persons are not interested in prices because they need to save money, rather, they want to save money. We will show later how close their price estimation conforms to the actual prices. However, we will first examine whether members of these groups differ in their evaluation of the store.

TABLE 3

THE THREE GROUPS' STORE EVALUATION

Hypothesis 1a: If in one single store, different customer segments with different shopping motives can be identified, we can assume that these clusters will evaluate the store differently and that the perceived mood at the point-of-sale will also differ.

First, the scales measuring the store-performance were standardized in order to test this hypothesis first. Obtained standardized values were then used as dependent variables and the previously extracted clusters were used as independent variables. The SPSS procedure was "oneway" with the extra command to compare the group mean values of the three clusters by t-tests (SPSS-Procedure: Contrast) (Table 3).

The results show that the price-oriented consumers assess the furniture store significantly more positively than members of the other two consumer groups. It thus seems that the furniture store meets especially the expectations of this cluster. With regard to stimulation and advice-oriented cosumers, no significant difference in store assessment was found. Also, contrary to the other two clusters, the positive store image among the price-oriented consumers influences their willingness to spend more money. The following average price was stated in answer to the question- "Can you remember roughly how much money you spent last time you came here to shop?"- Price-oriented consumers spent an average of ATS 15,489; whereby advice searchers and experience-oriented consumers only spent ATS 10,888 and ATS 12,265, respectively.

TABLE 4

FACTOR LOADINGS "MOOD"

At this point, the question emerges as to whether price-oriented consumers experience a better mood at the point-of-sale than others (see Table 5). To find the answer, Explorative Factor Analysis was run on items used to operationalise mood. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy (0.844) was positive and the Barlett-Test of Sphericity showed high significance. After Quartimax Rotation, two factors remained. These two factors explain 51.8% of total variance. Table 4 shows the rotated factor loadings.

The results of the Analysis of Variance show that price-oriented consumers experience a significantly better mood at the point-of-sale than members of the other clusters. They feel more amused, cheerful, relaxed and also more dominant. The secure, free, and superior items were used to operationalise the dominance construct. Concerning the price image, particular interest should be paid to the dominance dimension. An empirical investigation (Groeppel, 1998) has showed that dominance in extremely exclusive shop surroundings has a strong influence on the value-for-money assessment. When consumers feel dominant at the point of sale, they rate the store higher on value-for-money than those who feel inferior. In the current study, Analysis of Variance shows that price-oriented customers perceive themselves as dominant at the point-of-sale. These customers also have the most positive value-for-money image of the Innsbruck furniture store. Table 6 shows how the three clusters perceive the furniture store in general.

Conclusion:

The customers of the Innsbruck furniture store can be divided into three groups, each with different shopping motives. Our first hypothesis stated that the customers’ store assessment depends on their shopping motives. Concerning demographic indicators, no significant difference among the obtained three clusters was found. Analysis of Variance shows that price-oriented customers appraise the store more positively, and that they experience a better mood at the point-of-sale than members of the other groups.

Hypothesis 1b tries to explain why there may be different evaluations among different clusters.

H1b:If customer segments with emphasis on different shopping motives can be identified, the store assessment of the segments will depend on the fulfillment of each customer group’s expectations.

In order to analyze hypothesis 1b, we need to examine the extent to which the furniture store meets the customers’ expectations through pre- and post-shopping interviews. A pre- and post-shopping design might sensitize the respondents and thus lead to biased results. Since respondents spent an average of more than one hour in the store prior to the second interview, we believe that such bias can be neglected for our purposes.

It is important to note that visitors had a relatively clear picture in their mind of what they can expect at the point-of-sale. This fact might be due to the high number of regular customers in the sample (almost 95% had been visiting the furniture store within the last six months prior to our investigation). Nonetheless, there were still some significant differences between the "befoe entering" and the "after leaving" values. These differences may explain the poor ratings among the advice-oriented consumers and the most positive judgements among the price-oriented ones (Table 7).

The results of the T-Test show that statements referring to special knowledge, courtesy of sales personnel and quality of the assortment do not fulfil the customers’ requirements. The assortment’s quality and the specialist knowledge of the sales personnel was rated significantly lower after leaving the point-of-sale than before entering it. This negative result might explain the poor store assessment among the advice-oriented consumers. Concerning the store design, the results of the comparison have a positive outcome. Also, the most important expectations of price-oriented consumers (affordable furniture, cheap articles, and "do it yourself" furniture) were met. This fact might explain why price-oriented consumers assessed the store more positively than the others.

At this point we refer again to our second hypothesis as to whether price-oriented consumers have a more realistic awareness of prices. For this purpose, the mentioned price test was used. Consumers were supposed to estimate the price for a typical Austrian seating furniture, which you can find in may kitchens (L-formed bench with a table) before entering and after leaving the store. The real price for this "corner bench" was ATS 9,998. Table 8 shows the average price estimation of each cluster.

The results reveal that only the price-oriented-customers were able to make the best estimation of the price. This result has especially implications for marketing recommendations that will be discussed below.

TABLE 5

PERCEIVED MOOD AT THE POINT-OF-SALE

TABLE 6

THE THREE GROUPS' STORE EVALUATION IN GENERAL

TABLE 7

"BEFORE ENTERING" EXPECTATIONS VS. "AFTER LEAVING" ASSESSMENT (RESULTS OF 2-TAILED T-TEST)

TABLE 8

RESULTS OF THE PRICE TEST

RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF THE RESULTS

To measure the reliability of the survey, it was determined whether the answers from the shoppers depend on the student responsible for the interview, on the date of the survey (Friday and Saturday), or on the time when the questionnaire was administered (morning or afternoon). There were no significant differences between the groups or, in other words, neither the interviewer nor day, nor time influenced the answer behavior. So we can assume that the results can be characterized as reliable.

Discriminant Analysis was applied to the cluster solution for test validity. The previously established clusters were taken as given and the "Eigenvalues" (factor values) of the shopping motive dimensions used as independent variables. In order to achieve a three-group case division, two discriminant functions were necessary. The clarity with which the three groups can be divided is the point at issue. High validity for these functions means that people within the groups are very similar (homogeneous), whereas between the groups they are highly differentiated (heterogeneous). The Canonical correlation coefficients had values of 0.818 for the first function and 0.736 for the second function. The transformed Wilk’s Lambda values showed high significance (0.000). The Eigenvalue of each Discriminant function was greater than 1. The percentage of "grouped" cases was correctly classified at 95%. These results show that the validity of the discriminant functions, and therefore the validity of the cluster solution, may be regarded as a given.

SUMMARY AND SOME MARKETING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE FURNITURE STORE

To a large extent, Tauber’s (1972) 25-year-old advice to consider shopping motives for customer and retail market segmentation is still of considerable importance. This is especially true in the case of tough competition.

The analysis supports the thesis that consumers differ in their assessment of a particular store, according to ther shopping motives. The retail setting analyzed in this study, will appeal mainly to price-oriented consumers who have a strong interest in prices. These group members are also best informed about prices. As the study shows, the group’s satisfaction arises from the fact that consumers expectations are met. To keep these customers satisfied in the future, the retailer should place particular emphasis on price policy orBas seen from the customer’s viewpointBa positive value-for-money image should be emphasized. This competitive advantage must be anchored in the price-oriented customers. The more difficult question is, whether the retailer should target the other two clusters to gain more customers. In the present case the retailer should aim at gaining additional advantage by differentiating either in competent counseling or in stimulating furniture presentation without sacrificing the positive price image. However, the retailer needs to keep an eye on the fact that price-oriented customers with a thorough awareness of prices would quickly notice any change in prices for trading-up activities.

With respect to aiming for additional advantages through targeting additional consumers expectations, the outpacing strategy towards stimulation-oriented customers can be recommended. As the study shows, the hedonistic customers not only deliver the larger cluster, but already assess the store more positively than advice-oriented ones.

REFERENCES

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Authors

Andrea Groeppel-Klein, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt
Eva Thelen, Leopold Franz University, Innsbruck
Christoph Antretter, Leopold Franz University, Innsbruck



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4 | 1999



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