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The IUP Journal of Marketing Management
Factors Influencing Consumers’ Choice of Retail Store format in Assam, India
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Retailers in emerging markets like India are trying to address the changing preferences of customers through the creation of new retail formats. However, most of the unorganized retailers are still reluctant to adapt to newer formats. The issue requires a deeper understanding of the factors influencing consumer behavior in the retail sector. This study is undertaken to understand the store attributes that influence the consumer choice of retail format and also to understand the effect of shoppers' demographic characteristics on such choices. The study is restricted to food and grocery retailing. The data has been collected through mall intercept survey method using a structured questionnaire. Statistical tools are used to evaluate the data collected from 290 food and grocery customers of kirana stores, convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets in the Guwahati city of Assam, India. Factor analysis revealed nine factors, namely, availability and variety, store loyalty, store location, store image, shopping convenience, store communication and offers, product price and credit, store ambience, and customer service, as the major factors influencing customer choice of retail stores. Statistical tests also confirmed that demographic factors like age, occupation, income and gender also play a significant role in influencing store format choice.

 
 
 

Retail environment has witnessed a constant change in the developed countries and now the same is being repeated in the case of developing economies. The retail environment is witnessing high growth characterized by increasing competition and emergence of new retailing formats. The paradigm shift in the consumers’ socioeconomic, demographic and psychographic characteristics is driving a visible transition in the Indian retail scene. Customers are shifting from traditional stores (kirana, etc.) to well organized retail formats like hypermarkets (Sinha, 2003; Roy and Goswami, 2007; and Prasad and Aryasri, 2010).

A store format is a mix of variables that retailers use to develop their business strategies and the mix constitutes assortment, price and transactional convenience and experience. It has also been defined as a type of retail mix used by a set of retailers. Retailers in India are now experimenting with several new formats, more or less similar to those existing in developed countries such as cash and carry stores, discount stores, hypermarkets, speciality stores, etc. Such stores have already captured the developed (tier-1) cities, and now their attention has shifted to tier-2 cities, as they are expected to reach volume and economies of scale. It is obvious that customers in these tier-2 cities are going to be different and studying their preferences is vital in offering best value to the customers.

 
 
 

Marketing Management,Understand the store attributes ,Influence the consumer choice of retail format, Shopping convenience, Store communication and offers, Product price and credit.