The importance of, and satisfaction with, store attributes when buying casual wear : a study among black Generation Y consumers
Kühn, Stefanie Wilhelmina
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Since the retail industry is marked by intense competition, retailers must examine the factors influencing the buying behaviour of their targeted consumers and ensure that they formulate a retail strategy that contributes to a pleasant consumer retail experience. Consumers' total retail experience is determined by numerous store attributes that interact, implying that apparel retailers (and stores selling casual wear in particular) should be concerned with store attributes that are important to their target market as well as their satisfaction with the current store attributes they offer. In view of the fact that consumers evaluate store attributes when making store selections, it is imperative that stores selling casual wear must be familiar with consumer behaviour, specifically the consumer decision-making process, as this process guides consumers to determine if, what, when, where, how, from who and how often to purchase products and services. Consumers enter into a retail experience with a set of expectations of what they would like to happen and what store attributes should be present. Consumer expectations influence the manner in which store attributes and other stimuli from the retail environment are interpreted. Evidently, an attractive store environment can be perceived as unsatisfactory if it fails to meet consumers' desired level of expectations. Thus, expectations influence consumers' satisfaction with the retail experience as well as store attributes offered by the store, which in turn affects consumers' overall satisfaction and store selection choices. The primary objective of this study was to determine the importance of, and satisfaction with, store attributes to black Generation Y consumers when selecting a store selling casual wear. An interviewer-administrated questionnaire was developed to determine which store attributes are important to black Generation Y 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 their casual wear from. Respondents between the ages of 16 and 24 were intercepted at a mall in Soweto by means of a non-probability convenience sample. In total, 261 respondents participated in this study. Results indicated that nine reliable Importance factors when determining which factors black Generation Y respondents consider when selecting a store selling casual wear could be identified, 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 of cell phones and accessories; Music played; Price of casual wear; and Alteration of clothing and lay-buy services. Further analysis indicated that respondents were less satisfied with Store appearance, styles, sizes and quality of casual wear than the importance of this factor to them. Results also indicated• that practically significant differences exist between various demographic variables of respondents and the importance of, and satisfaction with, store attributes offered by stores selling casual wear. It is recommended that stores selling casual wear who target black Generation Y consumers focus on the above-mentioned Importance factors and ensure that these stores attributes form part of their retail and marketing strategies. Stores selling casual wear should furthermore focus on improving customer satisfaction on those store attributes that are important to their customers. It is also recommended that stores selling casual wear conduct research to determine whether differences exist pertaining to their customers' demographic profile and their satisfaction levels with store attributes. Based on these results, customers can be grouped accordingly to identify strategies for improving customer satisfaction with store attributes. Recommendations for future research include comparison studies among different black cultures in South Africa to determine whether consumers differ regarding store attributes that are important to them in store selection as well as their satisfaction with a store delivering on those store attributes. Similar studies could be conducted among different population groups, age groups, income levels and geographic regions, as well as between consumers in developed and developing countries. It is also worthwhile to consider duplicating the study for other product categories to determine which attributes black generation Y consumers consider important when buying other products.