The importance of, and satisfaction with, store attributes when buying casual wear : a study among black Generation X consumers
With the rapid growth and competitiveness in the South African apparel retail industry, retailers and marketers face numerous challenges to remain competitive. Contributing to the dynamic nature of this phenomenon is the impulsive nature and individual preferences of consumers when buying apparel, which necessitate retailers to be more responsive towards consumer needs and preferences in order to attract potential, and retain existing, customers. This can be done by formulating a retail strategy that will enrich consumers' total retail experience. When developing a total retail experience, all the elements that would encourage or inhibit the consumer to buy from the retailer should be considered, which among others include the store attributes applied within the store environment. This implies that apparel retailers, and especially those selling casual wear, should identify the importance attached to store attributes of their particular target market and how satisfied they are with the attributes offered. Since consumers use store attributes during store selection, it is essential for retailers and marketers to understand consumer behaviour, and more specifically the consumer decision-making process, since store attributes are used as evaluative criteria during this process. To satisfy consumer needs, retailers should meet consumer expectations in order to generate a positive attitude towards the store, which will increase the chances of repeat patronage. Consumer expectations form an essential part throughout the consumer decision-making process, which in the end will determine whether consumers experience post-purchase satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Since consumer expectations are formed by previous experiences, marketers should ensure that they offer the necessary store attributes consumers perceive as important when purchasing products, services or selecting a store. Evidently, this will influence both consumers' satisfaction towards a certain retail store, as well as future store selection. The primary objective of this study was to determine the importance of, and satisfaction with, store attributes to black Generation X consumers when choosing a store selling casual wear. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to survey 252 black respondents at a mall in Soweto. The questionnaire aimed to determine which store attributes are important to black Generation X consumers when selecting a store selling casual wear, and how satisfied they were with the store attributes offered by the store they most often buy casual wear from. Results identified 10 reliable Importance factors when determining which factors black Generation X consumers consider when selecting a store selling casual wear, namely service provided by salespeople; check-out points, dressing. rooms, store hours and proximity to store; display of casual wear and in-store advertising; store appearance, styles, sizes and quality of casual wear; physical facilities to enhance shopping convenience; offering cell phones and accessories; music played; price of casual wear; variety of brand names and credit card facilities; and the alteration of clothing and lay-buy services. It was also found that respondents were less satisfied with certain store attributes offered by the store they most often buy their casual wear from when compared to how important these factors were to them, including service provided by salespeople, check-out points, dressing rooms, store hours and proximity to the store. It is recommended that retailers who sell casual wear to black Generation X consumers should determine which attributes are considered as important to their target market and apply it in their retail and marketing strategies accordingly. It is also recommended that stores selling casual wear should conduct research to determine whether differences exist between their target markets' demographic profile with regard to the importance of store attributes as well as their satisfaction with those attributes offered by the store. Based on these results, marketers will be able to identify the attributes consumers are not satisfied with, which gives the opportunity for improving and amending strategies and gaining a competitive advantage. Future research can focus on the importance of store attributes to black Generation X consumers or other groups in other units of analysis, such as different retail formats and industries, as well as expanding the study to include more geographic areas.