Impact of Retail Store Attributes on Customer Purchase Intentions: An MBA Marketing Thesis Report
1.1. Background of the study
Much research has been done on store attributes in past decades and focused on the ‘traits’ related with the tangible features of retail shops by the impression of atmosphere of retail (Martineau, 1958). Kotler (1974, p. 50) relates the term ‘store atmospheric with the attributes of store defined as a way to describe an environment of store and its physical elements, which differentiate various dimensions like visual dimensions, aura, and olfactory of a particular store and also store location. Retailers need to realize the modern retail trends and importance of store attributes to stand out in the competitive market. In general store attributes can put an impact to do transaction, action of repeat purchase and shoppers’ views of products and efforts which had put in searching the store (Swinyard, 1993). Overall, to understand and interpret the key role played by store attributes of consumer perception and decision is vital to make selection of store guaranteed and make purchase intention make it more attention-grabbing in area of research. In 1998, Bloemer & Ruyter stated that store image is the past reinforcement, overall perception in consumers’ mind held by various store attributes and most significant attributes in the context of being assessed and appraised against each other and outcomes reveals shoppers’ image of the store. To be satisfy with the experience of past makes the image of a store favorable and acceptable while unfavorable or poor experience have the opposite results (Kunkel & Berry, 1968). With the changings in modern retail trends, like retail industrialization, internationalization of brands and changing patterns of customer’s behavior leads towards changing patterns how consumers shop nowadays. Increase in level of income, transformation in lifestyle,
demographic shifts and middle-class burgeoning and its changing trends have given revolutionary free rein to retail industry. Innovation in the retail formats especially in hypermarkets and new retail start-ups features are being introduced in the country. Now retail traders are tapping and focusing new segments of consumers and offer wide range of 2products. To plan and assess the image of their store, retailers should keep that consumer’s perception about the image of store is the vital characteristics to justify. (Keaveney, 1992).
This new trends resultantly leads store to adjust their focus to standout in the market and this adjustment has encouraged recent research to figure out which store characteristics is effective to increase customer satisfaction and their intentions to purchase. (Bhukya 2016, M.S.K. 2014).
Customer satisfaction is another significant and vital notion for the retail industry. Dissatisfaction or satisfaction usually based on experience of consumers. It involves contrast and comparison of consumer’s expectations and hopes against their opinion of product, or store, which means a contrast and comparison of the reality against perceived performance (Sheth, Mitall & Newman (2001) and Hunt (1991). In the present research we study the store attributes as a sustainable strategy to influence customer satisfaction in retail industry in Pakistan. To stay in business it is very essential for retailers to actively participate to measure satisfaction of their consumers. (Hoffman & Bateson, 2003).
Purchase intention is usually described as an intent of customers to purchase an item or involve in a service and it also includes the customer’s buying time span (Lu, Chang & Chang 2014).Typically, this purchasing action is compelled by certain necessity or impulsion that emerges, or if the product’s costs reaches preferable level (Lu et al,2014).
Patronage intention is usually determined through three aspects, such as, priority, periodicity and spontaneity (Anderson et al. 2014; Ko & Megehee 2012; Moore 2014). Priority product includes highly prioritized good like food and fuel, whereas periodicity describe as how frequent customers intends to buy the item. However, spontaneity describe as the time taken by consumer’s decision and execution action to buy certain product (Moore 2014). Hypermarkets is combination of two store under one roof, departmental and grocery supermarket and offers wide range of products. The main features of hypermarkets includes it provide convenience, more variety, and have competitive pricing strategy and targets low to middle incomer consumers. Though, competition in the hypermarkets of Pakistan is very high, because of foreign retailer’s invasion (Euromonitor, 2017).With so many retail store option available in the market it becomes difficult for the consumer to decide which retail market is good to shop. As in contest to win consumer attention every retailer is trying to provide similar products at competitive prices. And this became challenge to many retail stores to compete in gaining more consumers’ attention. It is hard to compete the contest of providing best wholesale solutions. Retailers are coming up with strategic solutions of one stop shopping with convenience, variety and competitive prices. For this it is vital to examine the factors which drive the demands and changings in behavior of consumers and their choices which at the same time have played an important role in their growth. As ambience of store have a great impact on satisfaction of consumers, which leads in increase in their purchase intention. Buyers not only look upon those store which offers low prices, but also which provide the multiple benefits and many more attractive alternatives.
Consequently, having good buying experience impact the consumers purchase intention for the future. In the previous study of Wakefield& Baker (1998) claimed that atmospheric stimulus is the key which helps in determining the possibility of longer stay of consumers in a store. Environment is the stimuli and has great influence on emotions and satisfaction of customers. If store has more appealing and pleasant environment than probability is customer feels more satisfied to stay longer and shop from that particular store (Bohl, 2012).The appealing environment of the retail stores helps in enhancing and giving boosts to satisfaction level of customers and their patronage intention.(Silva & Giraldi, 2010). Many extensive studies has done to identify the impact of store atmosphere on consumer’s behavior (Russell & Mehrabian, 1978),but limited empirical study has done on effect of atmosphere on consumers attitude(Zeynep & Nilgun, 2011).
In most of the developed countries, retailing business industry is one of the biggest industry (Burt & Sparks, 1995). In past years, Pakistan retail industry had faced many challenges due to uncertainty in political situation which leads to be lack of enthusiasm in buying trends of consumers (Dawn, 2018). Now spectacular growth has been witnessed in retail industry and over many years this sector has been going through remarkable changes and has resultantly come up with new kinds of setups in retailing. Pakistan’s retail market is witnessing booming and remarkable growth, globally at exponential pace, the market is predicted to grow by annually 8.2% from 2016-2020 (Euromonitor,2016).With rapidly increase in growth, this industry is consider as the windows of opportunity for the country and its people(Kearney, 2008).
Due to present day developments, consumer have larger income to spend it freely and this increase in their income level means that they are considered more powerful in making decision where they shop and why. To remain more profitable and maintain store image in customers’ eye they are adjusting their eye on customer needs. Retailers needs to explained and measure the satisfaction of customers proactively to be remain in business (Hoffman & Bateson, 2003).As customer is considered as the main player in business and they have lethal weapon of choice that’s why it is very important in a business to understand the customer. To understand the customer is recognized as a vital requirements not only for businesses but for any companies to be market-oriented (Dubois, 1998). This research proposed correlations from physical store characteristics, service quality, and merchandise diversity to purchase intention of consumers (Sachdeva 2015).
Pakistan not only has witnessed shift from small retail chain to big wholesalers and malls for shopping, but also has gone through a huge revolution in retail and become platform to an array of foreign brands includes Next, Mango, Nine vest, Body shop, Charles &Keith, Vinci and also renowned whole sale foreign brands includes Metro, Hyper star (Carrefour). With new development in format of retail chains, trends in this sector are quiet supportive and encouraging. An exponential growth of various industries has been witnessed, like increase in number of shopping malls, cafes, cinemas and many shops around the country. Buying decision of consumers has influenced by the size of their incomes and households size. Now majority of people are quality conscious and prefer to purchase high quality goods under one roof, which has resultantly increased the number of Cash & carry stores in the country (Pakistan Economist,2018). Like other industries to invest, these days venture of different companies in retail industry is benefits the country to yield maximum
profits. Many giant retailers like Marks &Spencer are showing their interests in launching their business activities in Pakistan while many other UK retail brands like Debenhams has already declared its setup in Pakistan.
In previous years, people had few numbers of shopping malls and global brands to shop.. According to the experts of retail industry, currently in Pakistan, many big business houses are taking keen interests in constructing retails and multi-purpose shopping mall, as they claim that it will provide boost to the economy of Pakistan. According to report, retail landscape of Pakistan, is continuously emerging and evolving. With the growing consumerism in Pakistan, the lifestyle of consumer are keep changing which leads in transforming its dynamism. So Pakistan’s retail sector is contributing 8% of annual growth in the overall economic activity of country (Tribune, 2016). On a trajectory of growth the Pakistan’s retail industry has embarked, and forecasted as major hub for emerging business. As for long time, retail market in Pakistan is already exists, but its fragmented and disorganized nature gives fascination the global brands to invade the market, as they sees this as an opportunities for themselves. This craving of international brands leads in kick-started this sector, and makes the local retailers to understand the competitive threats.
Increase in Urbanization, increase in income and awareness of consumer leads towards potential increase of goods and services markets in Pakistan. Therefore in past decade Pakistan’s whole sale and retail industry has gained momentum. With the developments in new retail formats and increase in large number of foreign chain retail outlets, trends in retails sector are quite positive. Prior studies shows that there is a shift of consumers buying behavior in urban cities ,large number of households with larger family sizes likes to shops at hypermarkets. Whereas, small family sizes shops at super markets. Mass consumers seeks the options to do quality shopping under one roof for their families. This changing trend of buying behavior of consumers leads towards modern retail shopping opportunity.
From demographic elements like age, gender to domestic characteristics includes size of a family, average monthly income are considers as the factors to influence the purchasing decisions today. Particularly Size of household, discretionary income and education have great impact over shopping at retail. A prior Karachi based study (Mirza, 2011) has exposed that most with big household usually it includes 6-8 members wanted to shop at general stores however family sizes with 3to 5 go to shop at bigger supermarkets. Study with income, revealed that large families are related with lower level of income and vice versa. The past study also linked that consumer who have higher level of education were preferred to shop from big stores whereas consumers who have only intermediate level of education typically picked general store to shop. Generally, convenience to the customers at store and quality shopping has leaded buyers towards this new option of retail shopping. Large number of consumers of Pakistan looking for an extensive range of products with quality in enough quantities under one roof (Moazzam, Badar’s, 2006). Another prior study revealed that usually consumers avoid crowded places to shop and not like to stand in long queue. Consumer’s demands convenience, where whole family can shop together. With the increase in demand of quality products and convenience in shopping this ‘one stop’ shopping hypermarkets are providing solutions to them and makes consumers to do more planned purchases (Mirza,2011)
1.2 Gap Analysis
Retail sector in considered as an important factor in boosting the economic growth of any country. Much researches have been done on the attributes of store and until today many still are doing to identify the important elements of store, and its impact on satisfaction of customer and their patronage intention. (Moye, 2000; Martineau, 1958). Retail outlets has now become an opportunity to differentiate and stand out in the market (Visser et al., 2006). Ghosh et al, 2010 stated that as store attributes considered as an overall store image to enables the path of store selection, that’s why it is considered as retailer’s key success factor. As it attracts more and more consumers, which can affect their intentions of buying (Cronin et al., 2000) and consumer’s satisfaction. For that reason, the presence of hypermarkets is consider as favorable type of retail outlet to facilitates consumer with an extensive range of shopping atmosphere (Dawson, 2000), as one-stop to shop (Farhangmehr et al., 2000), everything all under one roof, provide free parking slots (Kamath & Godin, 2001), also provided wide range of assortment with comparable competitive price (Seiders et al., 2000). There exist few studies which established the relationship among these variables individually. But determine the store attributes significance with patronage intention still needed to be addressed especially. Thus aim of this study is to addressed this gap of retail literature of assortment, aesthetics, and store convenience simultaneously and its effect on selection of store especially in Pakistan. This study is intended to find out customer purchase intention (PI) and factors of selection of store in Pakistan. Research suggest that the more appealing environment of store makes customer longer to stay and accelerate their intentions to buy (Bohl, 2012).
1.3 Problem Statement
With the change in modern retail formats and induction of foreign brands in retail industry. Local brands is facing challenges to standout in market. In this highly competitive retail environment consumer have very wide range of choice in terms of store to shop. The retailer have to ponder upon the factors to make sustainable strategy to remain in business and get maximum attraction from the customers and make them to repurchase from the store. Retail industry has very great impact on economy of Pakistan. From the previous researches done in Pakistan on importance of attributes of store and its impact on selection of store is not widely discussed nor the past researches have given significance to determine the impact of attributes of store such as store assortments, store aesthetics and store convenience and consumer relation on buying. Though several prior studies highlighted the individual relationship with these variables and also revealed the paucity of knowledge which leave wide research gap about the connection with consumers patronage intention that this study could fill. To fill the gap in the literature of retail, this research aims to present that there is no particular study has done before which evaluate the influence of store assortment, aesthetics of store and its convenience and customer relations all together and its effect on preference of store, especially in Pakistan. The current research try to investigate relationship between the consumer purchase intention and selection decision determinants of store in Pakistan.
1.4 Research question
Following stated questions are the target of my research to be addressed in this particular study:
- To investigate the impact of store attributes, Store Aesthetics, Store Convenience and Store Assortment on satisfaction of customers?
To investigate the impact of store attributes on consumer’s purchase intention?
1.5 Rationale and Objective of Study
1.5.1 Rationale of study
Several studies have been carried out with reference to the impact of retail store image on customers’ intention to purchase and their satisfaction outside Pakistan. The focus of such studies have always been towards the developed countries, with very reserved of no research been carried out in developing country like Pakistan. The Pakistan retail market is very unorganised and fragmented and craves the foreign retail brand to enter into the Pakistani market which frightens the local retailers .The aim of this study is to investigate the key elements to survive in the race of competing customer attention and stand out in the retail market particularly in the grocery market. Through modern retail format an increase of corporate players has been witnessed in Pakistan –and mostly are in food and groceries. This increase demands producing, dealing and constructing differentiated brands of retail store, and differentiation in image to attract new customers and retain old consumer. This study will help to understand whether the Pakistani consumers differentiate the various retail store brand on the basis of their past experiences.
1.5.2 Objectives of Study
After studying the retailing literature research objectives were articulated to investigate all the factors which plays role to derive the process of store selection and impact of store attributes:
1. Assortment of store on purchase intention and customer satisfaction.
2. Store aesthetics on consumer purchase intention and their satisfaction.
3. Convenience of store intention of customer to purchase and customer satisfaction.
1.6 Significance of Study
This study is significantly important in current scenario also forthcoming factors of Pakistan, as this growth of retail sector will help to stabilize the economy of country, as now a day’s country’s economy is facing many challenges so it is important to notice and highlighted the new retail market trends. In today’s competitive and changing environment of business with the increase of retailer’s power and growing customer’s demand strengthen the relationship with customer and expand it for long term is important and essential for survival and to be successful. With the induction of foreign retail brands and opening up of new local brands at extensive level would help to boost economic health of Pakistan. Store attribute is a sustainable strategy to influence the satisfaction of customer and enhance their patronage intention.
1.7 Scope of Study
In the present day, retail brands are consider as success of many corporate brands. Retailer’s growth as a brand is the most important and trendy thing in the retailing (Grewal et al., 2004) as the combination of shopping facilities, opportunities to eat and entertainment have proved appealing to Pakistani urban families. Which resultantly springing up the malls for shopping and departmental stores across the country. .Parallel with the improvement in Pakistan economy the middle class also grew and people have better exposure and more money and want quality of product and prefer convenience in shopping. With this shift in retail paradigm new employment and career paths has opened up in the country. Like fast food sector retail is also creating employment in store sales, management and customer service. Before this time working in the shop is outdated and insulting to be called as dukandaar, but now perception has changed. The purpose of this investigates the factors affecting customer’s satisfaction and their purchase intention as both lead towards the increase in sales. Increase in these factors leads to increase in their satisfaction and intention. Satisfaction of customer make them to revisit the store and help to make good image in their mind.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Store Attributes:
Martineau’s (1958) concept of store attributes had been under consideration because of having its fundamentals components of store choice aspects and reason for shoppers to choose where to stop and shop (Moye, 2000; Martineau, 1958). Contemporary studies on attributes of store have generated a number of characteristics of a store (Barich & Srinivasan, 1993; Joyce & Lambert, 1996, Sirohi et al., 1998, Birtwistle et al.,1999; Severin et al., 2001; Thang & Tan, 2003). Various studies had been done on attributes of retail stores to scrutinize all those factors that affects the store selection decision (Wel et al., 2012), Image of the store and its impact on emotional and rationality of customers (Hosseini et al., 2014) the effect of store financial value, all services, facilities and ease for the customers and their satisfaction by image of store quality (Al-Ali et al., 2015), and preference of consumers towards retail setup (Terano et al., 2015). Furthermore, some have studied the internal and external elements of retail stores that directly impact on shopping enjoyment (Wong et al., 2012), while (Rana et al., 2015) examined the level of those elements which have an effect on intention to purchase of consumers to do shopping at supermarkets.
In this day and age, retail institutions has springing up in Pakistan market, and this retail ‘revolution’ has taken time to gain traction. (Baig.,2017) parallel to this rise, retailers are in extremely difficultly to achieve more benefits in terms of product, price, and place (Baker et al., 1992).some consumers are cherry pickers ,usually not loyal to a specific store and prefer to shop around for bargains (Mogelonsky, 1995). In addition, shoppers prefer to shop where they have more shopping opportunities, they feel comfortable and good above all which suits their lifestyle most.
2.2 Store Assortment:
Assortment is defined as number and variety of products carries in each store at each point in time (Fisher, 2006). To plan the store assortment is the element to identify the collection of products available in that particular store. As store it is considered as an opportunity to stand out for market differentiation (Visser et al., 2006). In fixed space of area, assortment planning requires an adjustment of basic strategic choices i.e. depth (how many SKUs (stock keeping units) do have in each category and breadth (it encompasses how different product line does the retailer have). wide range of products in a store leads to the purchase intention. Customer demands and prefer to go to that store who have large assortment and range of products. Keller (2003) investigated that because accessibility to wide range of products under one roof helps customer to gain more benefits. Greenleaf and Lehmann (1995); Karni and Schwartz (1977) analyzed that wide range of assortment helps customers to preferably shop from wide range of product and help to increase sales. large assortment helps the customer to purchase from that store by minimizing the uncertainty of that existing collection is not good enough for selection, it also eradicate the rationality of customers that available assortment is not the available range of products of any brand another store might have more product range of desired product and customer think that they should go to that store. (Bashar, 2015.)
It’s not hard to believe that for retailer, the attributes of store are the important and the KSF (key success factors), as it reflects the store image and (Ghosh et al., 2010)to get more traffic to the store and encourage customers intention to shop (Cronin et al., 2000) and please them .For that reason, the presence of supermarkets is an ideal way to facilitate consumers with an extensive array of environment to shop (Dawson, 2000),to make it more productive and beneficial it provided large variety of products with market oriented pricing strategy, place where customer can move around and pick desired product under one roof, like unrestricted parking area(Kamath&Godin,2001) i-e one stop to shop (Farhangmehr et al., 2000) .
2.3 Store Aesthetics:
To grab customers’ attention store aesthetics is a vital element. Store atmosphere and aesthetics are two components for almost all retail store. It not only helps in gaining the customer trust by convincing them to shop. Store aesthetics is not only restricted to the display and interior of the store but whole stores designed in such an organized way that influence the consumers satisfaction, their mood and motivates their purchasing behavior to explore more and find suitable products.(Spies et al., 1997).
The elements of atmosphere that enhanced the features that relate to space and structural aesthetics of the retail store are the kind, well-mannered and subtle language used in the background that attracts consumer’s emotions and attention on the assessment of product(Kotler, 1973), which leads to longer stay of customers (Wakefield & Baker, 1998). Once successful in making consumers satisfied the environment of the store and will ready to spend more time and purchasing more because of satisfying atmosphere of store stimulus (Bohl, 2012). Consumers who have a very pleasing experience, will be happier, resultantly they will shop more and frequently, which lead in increase in sale of store (Koo, 2003). The aesthetics of store favorably increases the level of consumer satisfaction, purchasing behavior and their experience (Silva & Giraldi, 2010).
2.4 Store Image:
Defining the term, store image itself is a very complex phenomena. Offer Unique store image to clientele is the way to differentiate from other store. To take the decision of selecting specific retail outlet usually consumer evaluate on their perception of store image. (Saraswat et. al., 2010; Kremer and Viot, 2012). Martineau (1958), is considered as the first Researcher who proposed the idea of store image as a vital element in separating and identified the core concepts and elements of store, which includes tangible characteristics of store like designs, architecture, layout, sale personnel and intangible factors includes colors, symbols, advertising etc. (Godey, Lagier, Pederzoli, 2008).
Literature directing on various retail layouts that originate a wide array of store attributes to construct what defined the term “image”. It is association of brands that linked to the particular store in the mind of consumers (Beristain and Zorrilla, 2011). Retail store image is the personality of the store driven substantially by physical or functional factors and intangible, that might be belief of a shopper to be available in the store. Martineau (1958) stated that it the impression on customers mind partially because of its functional qualities, and partly because of an aura of psychological characteristics of store. Dimensions of store image have been positioned on various factors such as an array of products, quality and prices of the items available at store, physical facilities to the consumers and the services provided (Sabir, 2015.) Doyle and Fenwick explained the image of store as the evaluation of all salient features and characteristics of store by the customers.
2.5 Purchase Intention:
Purchase Intention is the complex and most important factor to determine the behavior, perception and attitude of customer, which in literature is described as the state of mind in which a customer is ready to buy certain product and willingly make their mind to make transaction for a product with the retailer. It is also explained as the strength of customer’s intention to make the decision to buy specific product. Intentions to purchase the certain product is one of the most common and vital approach in acquiring an insight into consumers actual behavior and it is only possible through studying their intention (Momen,2015).Purchase intention comes into account when a consumer is intend to attempting to buy some products of service.(Gillani 2012)Forecasts Consumer’s behavior helps in guessing their intention which is highly dependent on the purchasing behavior of the customers as intentions influence and motivates consumers to make an decision of purchasing. Anticipating the consumer behavior is very tedious task but it helps to grow the royal customer base and convert customers into consumers. Some unidentified and uncertain factors leads to change in the purchasing behavior of consumers, which resultantly makes it difficult to measure. Also some external factors affects the purchase intention like available brands in the store, location of a store, convenience and timings of the store, also some intrinsic factors include satisfying a need, give preference to consumer. (Sabir,2015.)
In retail industry to grow the business, marketers should understand the relationship between the atmosphere of store and patronage intention of their customers and devise their strategies for their store accordingly. As customers are the king so their words of mouth definitely helps in maximizing the profits. Along with changings in economic and social factors, pattern of Consumer behavior change. Change in consumer attitude and behavior might not be understand and explain by one principle or model as it keeps changing with the passage of time and their needs. To gain the attention of customers these traditional 4 P’s of marketing not help much these days. Retailers should focus and make their retail stores unique in atmospheric attributes which inspire their intentions to purchase more and regular from the particular store. one of the study about the retail store of Turkey pinpoint the facts that atmosphere of the store is only be enough to make the mind of consumer to enter into the store but most important and critical is to make up their mind to purchase and make those consumer into customers by differentiating the store outlook by managing the layout, waiting time in queue (Yalcin & Kocamaz, 2003). As the one of the study has proved that internal environment of store influenced the customers mind at point of purchase (Baker & Grewal, 1994).Pana B & Gupta S. (2015) elucidated that store atmosphere does not impact the patronage intention of consumers.
2.6 Customer Satisfaction:
In retail sector, satisfaction of a customer associated with the estimation of how well and effectively consumers’ needs are met. Assortment of the store and its aesthetics satisfies the customers more and helps to gain the confidence of a customer. Gaining customer trust leads to strong customer base. Satisfaction of a customer defines whether the experience is pleasant and enjoyable which encourages consumers in making an intention of purchase (Mauer). Prior studies suggest that the long-term loyalty of consumers are the best retailers’ assets who refuse to go to shop to other store due to emotional connectivity with the store.(snaita,et al 2012).
2.7 Operational definitions of Variables:
The three independent variables and two dependent variables focused on in this research have been listed below in table along with their operational definitions.
Store assortment or may call merchandise assortment is defined as unique mix of products offered or displayed by retailer for purchase by consumers.
(Kotler & Keller, 2012)
Store aesthetics refers to perception to layout of store and is concerned with a product’s ability to please perceivers’ senses. Store aesthetics could be anything either the space, lighting, eye level, cleanliness, music, well displayed.
(Veryzer, 1995, p. 641)
Store convenience in retail business is defined as providing consumer a convenient place for quickly shopping from wide range of consumable items and services.
NACS Constitution and Bylaws
Purchase indentation refer as the possibility and willingness of consumer to make purchases about certain product.
Wang et al. (2013).
Customer satisfaction is the level of consumer experience or reaction with the store, sale representative and product.
Howard and Sheth (1969)
2.8 Theoretical Framework of Research:
It is clear from the earlier studies that significance of store attributes and its impact on selection of store is not fully covered nor the studies in the past have given ample attention to observe the impact of store attributes such as aesthetics of store, store assortment, convenience at store to their customers on purchasing. It is obvious from the past research that all prior studies has been done on aforementioned variables separately and relation with customer purchase intention leaving a void in research that this study could easily fill that gap. So purpose of this study is to fill the gap by observing that there is no study that focus on studying attributes of store, and customer relation all together and its influence on selection of store, particularly in Pakistan. The present study tries to explore purchase intention of customer and contributing factors in selecting the retail outlet in Pakistan.
For that reason the succeeding research objectives were articulated to investigate the impact of:
1. Assortment of store on purchase intention and customer satisfaction.
2. Store aesthetics on consumer purchase intention and their satisfaction.
3. Convenience of store intention of customer to purchase and customer satisfaction.
From the prior studies it is obvious that limited research has been conducted to investigate the attributes of store and its influence on both purchase intention of customer along with their satisfaction at the same time. To fill the past left out literature and conceptual gap the research conceptual framework shown below was framed and carried out to assess the attributes of store along with store aesthetics, store convenience, store atmosphere and its effect on purchase intention and customer satisfaction.
Similarly in Pakistan, no prior research has been found to examine the influences of attribution of store on intention of customer to purchase and their satisfaction. But it is significant to highlight that there are some research that has determined the influence of store attributes on satisfaction of customer. All these prior studies are summarized in the below table1:
There are some other studies which examined the influence of store attributes on purchasing intention of customers. These studies are listed below in the table 2:
Bovee & Thill (1992) explained product assortment as a product mix in differentiating unique quality of products that offered by retailers (Kotler & Keller, 2012).Wide range of product assortment put a great impact on consumers intention to purchase (Levy & Weitz, 2007).To bring foot traffic in store and sales revenue store attribute is the significant element (Tafesse & Korneliussen, 2012).In the same way Mazursky & Jacoby (1986); Zimmer & Golden (1988) established that assortment of merchandise is a key factor of image of a store in addition , store attribute is a good tool to forecast the choice of customer to shop and their intention to purchase (Oppewal et al., 1997) perceived variety of assortment also effects purchase intention (Amine, 1996). Large assortment positively affect customer satisfaction as consumer prefer to shop where they are facilitate with wide
variety of products (Seiders et al., 2000) where they have a wide range of product to select and quality of assortment (Oppewal et al., 1997) Wide range of items and uniqueness in product and increased sub categories of assortment (Kahn & Lehmann, 1991) were investigated to have affirmative and important effect on consumer’s purchase intention. Hence the further hypothesis is framed as
- H1: The Store attribute “Assortments” have positive effect on customers’ satisfaction and purchase intention.
- H2: The Store attribute “Assortments” have positive effect on purchase intention.
In retail sector specifically, store aesthetics is significant factor to assess the satisfaction of customer, frame of mind and behavioral (Spies et al., 1997). Pleasant environments of store has put great impact to enhance the positive experience which resultantly make them to purchase more, which helps in increase the revenue of store (Koo, 2003; Orth & Green, 2009). Prior studies, conducted by Silva & Giraldi, 2010 and Westbrook, 1981; Spies et al., 1997; Silva & Giraldi, 2010; Terblanche & Boshoff, 2006; Samli et al., 1998 showed that the aesthetics of store influence and helps in enhancing the customer satisfaction and their intentions to purchase from the store. Hence the further hypothesis is established as:
- H3: The store attribute “Aesthetics” have positive effect on customers’ satisfaction.
- H4: The store attribute “Aesthetics” have positive effect on purchase intention.
As customer plays important role in making the business successful (Kim & Aggarwal, 2016). Bringing comfort to customer convenience is the key element in the modern environment of the stores (Chamhuri & Batt, 2013) and satisfy the consumer more and influence their intention to purchase and their behavior of repurchase from that store(Seiders et al., 2005). Previous studies conducted by Berman & Evans (1989) suggested that location of store plays vital role in satisfying the consumers. Further the convenience of store is support by authors who mentioned the dimension of transportation available to reach to the store (Dennis et al., 2001), required travelling time (Kitamura & Fujii, 1998). Furthermore facilities provided at the store defined the convenience such as, enough number of baskets and trolleys, parking lots and nearby to other shops (Geuens et al., 2003), and shop under one roof (Kaufman, 1996; Farhangmehr et al., 2000). From prior studies by Hansen & Deutscher (1977) established that young consumers are more focused on store convenience that they are willing to pay high-price for the facilities provided at the store (Berdegué et al., 2005).Convenience can affect the loyalty, not the customers’ satisfaction (Koo, 2003). On the contrary, Chang & Tu (2005) stated that consumer satisfaction and their loyalty are correlated to store convenience and not directly related to consumers’ satisfaction which resultantly makes loyalty unrelated. Customers’ perception regarding convenience has strong impact on their satisfaction (Berman & Evans, 1989; Davis & Maggard, 1990; Berry et al., 2002; Seiders et al., 2005; Anselmsson, 2006). Therefore, the hypothesis is establish as follows:
- H5: The store attribute “Convenience” has positive and significant effect on customers’ satisfaction and purchase intention.
- H6: The store attribute “Convenience” has positive and significant effect on purchase intention.
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design
This section will aid in the attempt to properly communicate the data collection methods that were adopted. The basis for an empirical study was to examine the extent to which store assortment, store aesthetics and store convenience actually relate and influenced the customer satisfaction and purchase intention. Furthermore, after analyzing the nature of my variables and respondents, a quantitative approach was chosen as the type of study for this research. Using this approach, examined findings of this study through observations in numerical representations and also through statistical analysis. The survey method adopted was questionnaires, with the results being measured quantitatively using the 5-Likert scale.
IV1 (Independent Variable) = Store assortment
IV2 (Independent Variable) = Store aesthetics
IV3 (Independent Variable) = Store convenience
DV1 (Dependent Variable) = Purchase intention
DV2 (Dependent Variable) = Customer satisfaction
3.2 Population and Sample of the Study
Population is defined as large collection of individuals from which aim is to take samples for the purpose of measurement (Webster, 1985)
As population could be the community or part of that community of the country. For conducting the study sample is part of the population. So for intention of study people of Pakistan is selected.
3.2.2 Sample Sample is the selected group people from the targeted population for the research. . In the research framework sample can be explained as a group of respondents selected from targeted population for the sake of survey (Webster, 1985). So sample for this study was chosen from the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Thus, sampling framework of 210 respondents were used with the demographics shown in the next section of this paper.
3.3 Sampling Techniques
Convenience sampling is refer as collecting data from the population who are easy to reach and easily available for the research purposes (Sekaran, 2003).Its convenient accessibility and proximity makes this technique the best way to collect primary data.(Sekaran, 2003). Thus, a non-probability convenient sampling technique was used to obtain a convenient sample size of 210. The adopted questionnaire method included characteristics of variables based on previous research and used the 5- Likert scale to gain information. The formulated questionnaire were distributed among 210 respondents. Data collected from both male and female residents of twin city.
3.4 Sample Size
Sample size of the research are 210 people which represents the population all in all and have given vivid results of the problem. 210 responses were generated and all 210 respondents submitted their demographic information. So response rate is 100%
A questionnaire is the set of questions organized to gather information and data from participants regarding the variables that are intended to be study. 5-likert scale is used to evaluate the answers of the questions of questionnaire.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the conceptualize effect of store image attributes on the satisfaction of customers and purchase intention, generate by applying a structured questionnaire to a sample. 5- Likert scale is used in this study to measure store image and its influence on consumers’ purchase intention because it is easy for respondents to understand. In its conception, the Likert scale is a non-metric scale in which respondent have ease to answer the question at the degree of their agreement with the statements (Hair Jr. et al., 2005). In 1991, Churchill stated that scale for attitude should be based on intervals, or at least take it as consideration, marketing researches agrees with the many of psychologist. Thus on basis of this most significant report by Churchill (1991), i applied metric statistics to treat the Likert scale.
To figure out the influence of store attributes on customer satisfaction, decided to used a five-point scale, filling out questionnaire process would become easy and understandable. Therefore, framed some statements and asked the respondents to choose among the following response categories: “strongly agree”, Agree”, “neutral”, “disagree” and “strongly disagree”. The responses assigned score from 1(Strongly agree) to 5(Strongly disagree).
To figure out how often store attributes influence the consumers purchase, I used dichotomous scale that only contain two value, more likely and less likely precisely for the clear distinctions of intention and experience of respondent. This variable contained 3 items that are related to purchase intention with reference to sop from the store. This items is acquired from (Burton, et al, 1999)
3.6 Data Collection
3.6.1 Statistical Analysis
The data obtained through our questionnaires was analyzed using the SPSS statistical software (version 25 .0). The two step process was carried out:
3.6.2 Descriptive analysis:
Firstly, the descriptive statistics for demographics variables includes gender and age, education, last visits to hypermarket, number of visits were generated in the form of percentages and frequencies. Mean, standard deviation value for assortment, aesthetics and convenience and its impact on consumer purchasing intention.
3.6.3 Inferential Statistics:
Pearson correlation is a bivariate measure of strength and association(r) between two variables. Therefore, to analysis the research question a Pearson- Correlation was carried out between store attributes includes assortments, aesthetics and convenience and its impact on customer purchasing intention and their satisfaction and r2,the coefficient along with values and percentage were also recorded. Multiple regression analysis was carried out to check the stated hypothesis by find out the effect of three independent variables with customer satisfaction and then with purchase intention.
3.7 Data Analysis & Techniques
Results of this is given in the tables below. These tables show the properties of respondents who are employees and subordinates from telecom sector of Rawalpindi & Islamabad.
3.7.1 Reliability Analysis
A reliability check was performed to find the consistency of this study results. There are numerous definitions existing for reliability but perhaps the simplest of them is that reliability is the extent to which the measurements from a test result are the characteristics of those being measured (Rudner et. Al (2001)).
126.96.36.199 Cronbach Alpha
Cronbach’s alpha is used to measure the index of reliability of the internal consistency. It is considered as reliability coefficient if the value of Cronbach’s alpha is greater than or equal to 0.7 (Wieland et al., 2017).
The Cronbach’s Alpha was used in our research for checking the reliability of my statistics which showed us that my results were reliable and acceptable. This was found after looking at the threshold table for the Cronbach’s Alpha. As value of cornbach alpha with .9 is considered as highly reliable. (Field, 2013).Purchase intention (PI) (Cornbach Alpha=.764) is acceptable. According to Nunnally, cornbach alpha with 0.7 is acceptable after checking the reliability of our results, the validity of statistics was confirmed using face validity as well as content validity by the panel of marketing experts and MBA graduates.
For the data collected, correlation is essential to find out the relationship between the independent variables and the dependent variables. The Pearson coefficint,shows the strength(r) of the relationship.As correlation gives the information whether the variables are correlated to each other or not. It indicates that is any relation exist between them or not. Its value must be exist between -1 to +1.Negative value shows weak correlation and positive depicts strong correlation among them. For this study, a 2- tailed Pearson correlation test is run to analyze the relationship between the variables of attributes; assortment (SA), aesthetics (SAT) and convenience (SC) on the dependent variables; customer satisfaction (CS) and purchase intention (PI). N represent the value for total number of respondents for this test which are valid to be tested. Value +1 in the table of correlation means that they are perfectly correlated with each other whereas -1 value represents they are negatively correlated with each other.
The inter scale correlation in this table shows that the all store attribute have significant and strongly correlated with customer satisfaction and purchase intention.
From the table it is identified that r= 0.654(p<0.01) is the Pearson correlation which is greater than 0.05 and close to +1 which indicates a positive high correlation between assortment (SA) and customer satisfaction and significance is 0.000 which is less than 0.01 between the said variables. In the similar way Pearson correlation coefficient of Purchase intention r=0.174(p<0.01) indicating very weak correlation between assortment and purchase intention while their significance level is 0.012 which is equal to 0.01 which further makes this relation very weak.
Similarly, the Pearson correlation coefficient of r=.699 (p<0.01) which is greater than 0.05 indicating a positive correlation aesthetics(SAT) and customer satisfaction (CS) as significance level is 0.000 as that is less than 0.01 that indicates the positive correlation between these two mentioned variables. Whereas Pearson correlation coefficient r=.253 (p<0.01) indicate weak relation between aesthetics (SAT) and purchase intention (PI) as there significance level is 0.000 which is less than 0.01 between these two variables.
The correlation value r=.850(p<0.01) between convenience(SC) and customer satisfaction is greater than 0.05 which indicates them highly positively correlated with each other as it is close to +1 and that makes it highly significant . Pearson correlation of coefficient r=.309(p<0.01) between convenience (SC) with Purchase intention (PI) represents that shows weak relationship between the two variables. The significance level is 0.000 which is less than 0.01 indicating positive but weak relationship between said variables.
For the purpose of this study, multiple regress analysis is run using SPSS tool. The regression analysis examined the relationship between two variables and also tell us that whether hypothesis are accepted or rejected on the basis of outcomes of regress using the statistical tools.
From the above stated table it is clear that in this model for three independent variables R square was equal to .752.This indicates the moderate relation between the variables, with the store attributes variables showing 75% of the variation in customer satisfaction (Malhotra, 2001). Further, indicates that CA, SAT and SC are not the only variables that effect the customer satisfaction, there are some other unobserved factors that also influence customer satisfaction therefore variation of 26% lies. The standard error of the estimates is .365 which indicates that variance and the calculated fluctuation of the residual. Standard error decreases with the increase in sample size. The coefficient of correlation R of .857 indicates that there was a positive correlation between satisfaction and attributes of store i-e assortment, aesthetics, and convenience. With the better rating of a store attributes dimensions tended to be more satisfied. For the further verification the impact of attributes dimension on dependent variable satisfaction of customer is positive or negative and among three which variables most effect satisfaction for this analyze the regression coefficients. The statistical significant difference of customer satisfaction with respect to all independent variables SA, SAT, SC is p<0.0005. The independent variables is predicting the dependent variable CS thus the results are significant at 0.00 levels. This means hypothesis are accepted. Therefore the model is fit. The standardized regression coefficient indicates that the store attributes variables with the highest Beta is convenience (.721) and the lowest is (.002).it is vital to recall that dependent variable represent evaluation of customer to store attributes i-e assortment, aesthetics, and convenience. The same is valid for of the dependent variables, the higher they will, the more satisfied customers will be with the store. In this way, the regression coefficient’s sign and size cab be interpreted. Since, coefficient of these variables, assortment, aesthetics and convenience are positive which indicates that if value increases, the level of satisfaction also increases.
From the above mentioned table R square for the three independent variables is recorded was .098. This depicts the very weak relation between the variables. The store attributes variables indicating variance of 9.8% in purchase intention. Moreover, this indicates that variables i-e assortment, aesthetics and convenience are not only variables that has put influence on purchase intention. The standard error of estimates is .211 and this will decreases by increasing sample size. The result of R indicates that purchase intention can play mediating role with customer satisfaction that’s why purchase intention is not relate with store attribute variables. This role of purchase intention as a mediating role in customer satisfaction can be study in future. There is an empirical study that which supported the results of purchase intention. Panna B. & Gupta S. (2015) in their research found out that attributes of store does not mainly impact the purchase intention of consumers.
H1: The Store attribute “Assortments” have positive effect on customers’ satisfaction (β = .214, t = 4.266, p = .000).
As p<0.05 which indicates assortment influences customer satisfaction. The outcome of the test indicates that there is significant relation between assortment and satisfaction so H1 is accepted.
H3: The store attribute “Aesthetics” have positive effect on customers’ satisfaction. (β = .002, t = .028, p = .001)
Based upon the results of regression model, consumer satisfaction can be predicted by the store attribute variable ‘Aesthetics’ as the t value was found to be significant as p<.05, which means store aesthetics(SAT) has positive influence consumer’s satisfaction.Thus,H3 is accepted.
H5: The store attribute “Convenience” have positive effect on customers’ satisfaction. (β = .721, t = 13.418, p = .000)
On the basis of the results of regression model, consumer satisfaction can be predicted by the store attribute variable ‘convenience’ as the t value was found to be significant as p<.05, which means store convenience has positive influence consumer’s satisfaction. Therefore, H5 is accepted.
H2: The Store attribute “Assortments” have positive effect on purchase intention. (β = -.058, t = -.597, p = .551)
Based upon the results of regression model, consumer purchase intention cannot be predicted by the store attribute variable ‘Assortment’ as the t value was not found to be significant as p>.05,moreover this effect was negative so (β = -.058) which means store assortment does not influence consumer’s purchase intention therefore, H2 is rejected.
H4: The Store attribute “Aesthetics” have positive effect on customers’ satisfaction (β = .079, t =.637, p = .501)
On the basis of results of regression model, consumer purchase intention cannot be predicted by the store attribute variable ‘Aesthetics’ as the t value was not found to be significant as p>.05, therefore so H4 is rejected.
H6: The Store attribute “convenience” have positive effect on purchase intention (β = .285, t = 2.781, p = .000)
Based upon the results of regression model, consumer purchase intention predicted by the store attribute variable ‘convenience’ as the t value was found to be significant as p<.05, which means store assortment has an impact on consumer’s purchase intention therefore H6 is accepted.
The major aim of conducting this study is to identify the influence of store attributes variables on the customer satisfaction and consumer purchase intention in the hypermarket of Pakistan. Much research has been done on these variables, but mostly either done outside the Pakistan also limited research has been done with these two variables simultaneously. This study has conducted specifically in Pakistan. With the increase in modern trends in retail sectors and induction of international retail chain outlets in Pakistan local retailers are worried and difficulty in attracting customer satisfaction. As customers easily switch the retail brand on the basis of convenience, product availability at the store. This findings reflects that the impact of Store attributes variables i-e assortment, aesthetics, convenience on the consumer satisfaction as well as on purchase intention. Assortment, aesthetics and convenience has highly positive impact on customer satisfaction .Customer satisfy more if store has unique mix of products having good product quality and a clear indication of price label. If retailers in hypermarket wants to satisfy their customers and want to target more customer should incorporate these characteristics of store into their marketing strategy. Whereas, attribute variables have less impact on purchase intention. As store attributes have less impact on consumer purchase intention but this also helps in indicating and emphasizing on this perspective as well. There is an empirical study related that this purchase intention does not significantly influenced by store attributes. But this purchase intention can play mediating role in figuring out the customer satisfaction. Both impact would help the retails to make sustainable strategy to influence customer’s satisfaction and their purchase intention among these making customer satisfy is considered as key success of business. A close analysis of the results indicate that consider multiple attributes for the evaluation of hypermarket store in Pakistan. Therefore, retailers of hypermarket should take into account that by orchestrating the appropriate store attributes variables they attract more customers.
After concluding the results of this study, the findings of this research is considered suitable and convenient practical insights for owner of retail chain outlet in the wave of competition. The study indicates the fact that attributes of store effects the satisfaction of consumers. The findings of this study provide sufficient knowledge to retail outlet managers on the importance of store attributes i-e assortment of store, aesthetics and convenience from consumer perspective. The findings of this study confirms that it is study imperious for retail owners to analyze customer satisfaction and purchase intention towards the store attributes. In the competitive environment, the results of this study helps in making retail strategy, as it can create opportunity to achieve differentiation by taking account on store attributes. This study reveals that to increase the satisfaction of customers and create distinctive image department retailer have to be more focused on attributes of store. For retailer establishing the relation with customer is very important and customer this relation is only build on basis of their satisfaction and intend their patronage intention. Retailers who fail to understand their customer and make them satisfied ultimately lose their customer and face the adverse effect on their business.
Limitations and future recommendations:
This study have some limitations. As the researcher have analyzed the population of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, in future other studies can analyze the population of Pakistan entirely. Due to time constraint my sample size is small and in future researches it can be increased. Furthermore, the researcher has used small item number for variables in future the researcher can use additional number of items for the future studies. As Purchase intention has very weak significant relation with these attributes of store it might be any mediating variable is required to measure the impact of attributes on consumers purchase intentions so for the future study, any mediating variable can be used to do study.