Exploring consumers' references with regard to department and specialist food stores
Van Der Merwe, Magdalena D
Jacobs, Sunelle Agnes
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Consumers' lifestyle changes and striving towards better time management have resulted in the greater choice they are offered with regard to store formats. Therefore, this study was undertaken to identify the factors that influence consumers in their patronage of a particular store format and to categorize department and specialist food store consumers according to their preferences in store layout and product range in a South African context. A qualitative research approach was used and data were collected using semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions. Purposive sampling recruited participants shopping for food in a department store in Johannesburg. Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted before data saturation was reached. Store-related factors such as store location, appearance and hygiene, service quality, convenience of trading hours, and consistency in store layout predominantly influenced participants in their patronage of a specific store format. Furthermore, product-related factors such as quality, price, product range and convenient packaging enhanced consumers' store preference. Department store consumers were orientated towards one-stop shopping and time-saving strategies, while specialist food consumers were focused on food shopping and the trading hours of the store. Although similarities in participants' preferences with regard to department and specialist food store were found, different preferences were found regarding the placement of specific items within the store. Participants had similar preferences regarding the product range of a food store. However, department store participants emphasized the provision of convenience food and non-food items. The findings of this study are valuable in providing department and specialist food store retailers with guideline recommendations regarding store layout and product range in order to effectively respond to the needs and preferences of consumers within an emerging economy.
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