Many incumbent retailers face increasing levels of competition from new retailers, some with advanced online and multi-channel offerings. How retailers compete on the basis of offering improved customer experiences to consumers is therefore increasingly important to the survival of different retailers.

Understanding why store designers propose new creations and why consumers may like new designs remains poorly understood in the marketing literature to date. Retailers have consequently few verifiable approaches to help them to confidently develop store atmospheres that produce approach behaviours.

Research by Dr. John Murray (Massey University, New Zealand), Professor Christoph Teller (Surrey University, UK) and Professor Jonathan Elms (Massey University) in the Journal of Marketing Management examines how consumers perceive store designs and the effectiveness of retailers’ efforts to create attractive store atmospheres.

Consumers visiting two stores of a large, rapidly growing European fashion retailer were surveyed to establish some of the ways that consumers perceive the introductions of new store designs across a store network. Comparisons were made between consumers’ perceptions of a recently remodelled fashion store and that of an older, established store prototype.

Our results show some of the processes that consumers use to incorporate new designs in their appraisals of store atmosphere, and that some consumers who place a greater value on the importance of design in their lives evaluate store designs differently from consumers with a lower design value orientation.

Out theoretical discussion and empirical findings reveal:

  • the role of design variables in consumers’ in-store behaviours; and
  • consumers appraisals of new store designs and atmospheres.

The practical benefit arising from this research is to assist retail managers by developing an approach that examines the effectiveness of retail design strategies, summarised in improvements to consumers’ perceptions of store atmospherics and higher levels of store approach behaviours.

More research related to this topic can be found on the authors’ own websites (see links below) and of course in the Journal of Marketing Management

Read the original research article: Murray, J., Teller, C. & Elms, J. (2019). Examining store atmosphere appraisals using parallel approaches from the aesthetics literature. Journal of Marketing Management, 35(9-10) 916-939.

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John Murray

Dr John Murray is a co-director of the Centre for Advanced Retail Studies (CARS), Massey University, New Zealand, and has a number of teaching and research interests in: retail branding; consumer and environmental psychology; retail location; the competiveness of retail economies; retail strategy; omni-retailing and design/architecture. His primary research interest considers the role of consumers’ perceptions of design and architecture in retail brand building.

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Christoph Teller

Christoph Teller

Professor Christoph Teller is Chair in Retailing and Marketing at University of Surrey, UK. His current research foci are the antecedents of supply chain management execution, boundary-spanning activities of store managers, co-opetition in service delivery networks and determinants of food waste occurrence on the distribution stage in the food supply chain.

Jonathan Elms

Jonathan Elms

Professor Jonathan Elms is the Sir Stephen Tindall Chair in Retail Management at Massey University, New Zealand. His research interests broadly encompass the interrelated themes of ‘Retail Change, Power and Competition’ and ‘Consumer Behaviour and Choice in a Retail Context’.

Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this posting are the views of the Author(s), and are not necessarily the views of the JMM Editors, Westburn Publishers Ltd. or Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.