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Impact of Store Layout on Customers

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Chapter 1: Introduction

In today's world market, dynamic & new era come with tough competition. In each and every sector competition is increasing. To cope up with the competition, it is necessary for everyone to make strategy for their positioning and differentiation. In business to business market, it is easy to retain earnings. But in retail sector it is very difficult because retailers have n-number of customers and to satisfy all of them is not possible, but only customer satisfaction can retain the customer and so the profit.

Individuals, having different need and wants may not satisfy with one solution. Purchasing behavior is changing with time. People don't have much time to spend on shopping. In that case one stop shopping can be helpful to them. And because of that reason retailers have to be careful in choosing the collection, place, layout of the store.

Store layout is a significant factor driving consumer response in retailing. Store layout has its own way to influence customer's shopping. It is characterized by increasing competition and more sophisticated, customers have gigantic expectations related to their consumption experiences (Griffith, 2005).

Atmosphere in retail market changing drastically. Competition increased and which lead to a sophisticated and demanding consumer segment that are well educated and with high expectations for their each and every purchase. They are expecting retail shopping experience with non retail services. Now days, consumers want everything customized e.g. Product collection, staff's involvement, easy accessibility of the store, all these factors influence the buying decision of the customers (Dabholkar et al., 1996)

This chapter will provide a brief background about store layout and its impact on purchasing behavior at convenience stores in London, UK. It will discuss the research problem of the study, the goals and objectives of the study, rationale of the study, research methodology, limitations and overview of the study.

1.1 Overview

Core concepts and terminologies help in to better understanding of the problems. Hence it is necessary to define them. All the readers may not aware about the specific terminology. Essence of the research lies there only where every normal person can understand it without the help of professional. Store layout, consumer purchasing behavior and convenience stores are defined within the context of marketing and retailing.

  1. Store layout is ease of user movement through the store to provide maximum exposure of goods and attractive display (Marketing Glossary, 2007). This includes doors, merchandise placement, shelf orientation, music, check-out counters, interior decorating, staff attitude, lighting and location of the loading facilities (Levy et al., 1995).
  2. Consumer purchasing behavior is the process by which individuals search for, select, purchase, use, and dispose of goods and services to satisfy their needs and wants. This process is influenced by the social and cultural environment (Consumer buying behavior, 2007).
  3. Convenience store is a small retail self-service store selling a limited line of fast moving food and non-food items, usually with extended hours of operation (Glencoe Online, 2004).

1.2 Backgrounds to the Study

History of the convenience store state that, root of this industry found from early in 20th century. It came out form the many types of retail establishments in existence at that time. Convenience stores grew rapidly after the Second World War alongside the idea of the "American dream". More families had more cars and lived in more suburbs, further away from shopping centers and large grocery stores. So, more convenience stores came into existence (The origin of the convenience store, 2007).

ACNielsen (2006) reports that in today's time pressured world, convenience becomes increasingly important to consumers of Great Britain. Shopper habits are constantly evolving, along with developments in retail offerings. In recent years, the convenience store industry stands as an economic powerhouse, a vibrant channel of retail trade, and an anchor business for the neighborhoods.

Many factors affect the store patronage decision, e.g. location, service levels, pricing policies, merchandise assortment, store environment and store image. However, very little research has been conducted on the actual determinants of a good store layout (Today's Convenience Stores, 2001).

The increase in dual income families and longer working hours are making general shopping a more stressful activity for many families because of time pressure and lack of response by retailers (Avlott and Mitchell, 1999).

Therefore, this exploratory research hopes to investigate if more consumers in small convenience stores are experiencing problems with different merchandise displays, narrow flow space, absence of price tags on products and absence of direction arrows and signs showing where the merchandise is being displayed.

1.3. Research Problem

In spite of many commercial and educational researches there are much confusion about the purchasing behavior and perceptions of the consumers. Today's customers are more sensitive and demanding than ever. They want fast, friendly service on their terms every time they come to a store (Andersen, 1997). If they do not get fast and friendly service, they will abandon that establishment in search of another one which offers fast, convenient and better services.

Based on the views of Shaffer and Greenwald (1996), a well defined, attractive and friendly store layout will attract potential customers to the store and, at the same time, discourage those who are not interested in the merchandise from entering the store.

As a result, the study investigates the impact of store layout on consumer purchasing behavior and intends to present suggestions to improve the quality of service delivery in London, UK.

1.4. Research Objectives

Main objective of the study is to examine the impact of store layout on customers and variables that affect the purchasing pattern of the customers. Once a topic has been identified and narrowed to the right size, the research question can be formulated to meet the objectives of the research (Saunders et al, 2007). The present research plan and its finding will answer the following questions.

The following objectives are drawn from the overall aim of the study:

  1. To establish the fundamental uniqueness of layout of convenience stores;
  2. To ascertain problems arise by customers during the shopping at the convenience stores.
  3. To examine customer's satisfaction and level of service they are getting from convenience stores in London, UK.
  4. To make recommendations to improve store layout in independent convenience stores in London, UK.
  5. .

1.5. Rationale of the Research

This study will help in to the development of the convenience stores in London, UK by providing detail knowledge of the of the need and wants of the customers. The study is also intended to measure and assess the products display and collection in stores, customer handling capacity, service levels, pricing policies, store environment and store image, staff attitude and training, impulse purchasing pressure, and the impact of store layout and problems associated with products display.

The real value of this study, however, lies in the hope that the retailer's commitment to providing efficient and improved customer service will eventually allow both the retailers and consumers to successfully uncover the mechanics of good store layout. The consumers of convenience stores in London will benefit by providing the required information on store layout to the researcher.

1.6. Research Limitations

The study was limited to a review of literature pertaining to store appearance, products display and other attributes of a good store layout. Due to time and cost constraints, the study was confined to only convenience stores in London, UK. The research was done in London area and, therefore, the results of the study cannot be generalized to all convenience stores in UK.

1.7 Outlines of Chapters

The report on this study is made up of five chapters. These chapters cover the following areas and details of the chapters are as follows:

  1. Chapter 1: Introduction - This chapter introduces the study and provides an overview of the research problem, the research objectives, the rationale behind the study and the research methodology and limitations thereof.
  2. Chapter 2: Literature Review -The literature review gives an overview of store layout theory. It also discusses consumer buying behaviors and perceptions and what retailers can do to help their customers to better overcome this phenomenon. The chapter will examine various concepts or characteristics relating to store layout which include: crowd density, staff attitude and training, store layout, impulse purchasing pressure, location, product assortment, music, and lighting.
  3. Chapter 3: Research Methodology - The research methodology chapter shows how the data has been collected and gathered. It provides insight into the sampling methods used, the questionnaire, and various other techniques used to analyze the results. It also contains a review of the validity and reliability of the research investigation, indicating areas where errors might have occurred.
  4. Chapter 4: Analysis and Results - The purpose of this chapter is to present the statistical analysis of the data obtained through the questionnaires. The data has been processed into meaningful results that the reader is able to interpret and understand.
  5. Chapter 5: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations - This final chapter of the dissertation contains the conclusions that are drawn from the findings in chapter four and also from chapter two. Recommendations and suggestions for further research in the field are made.

Brief background of the store layout and its impact on purchasing behavior at convenience stores in London is discussed in this chapter. Research methodology, research, problem of the study, the goals and objectives of the study, rationale of the study, limitations and overview of the study is also discussed. The next chapter will review the literature in more detail and cover the theme of the important aspects pertaining to this study.

Chapter 2: Theory Frame work Literature Review

2.1 Theory Framework

2.1.1 Overview

This chapter looks at the dynamics of consumer behavior and the consumer market. Consumer buying behavior- includes the buying behavior of final consumers - individuals and households that buy goods and services for their own consumption. All of these final consumers mutually create the consumer market. The world consumer market consists of about 5.5 billion people, but the billion people living in North America, Western Europe and Japan make up 70 per cent of the world's spending power. Even within these rich customer markets, customers vary immensely in age, income, education level and tastes. They also buy an unbelievable variety of goods and services. How these varied customers make their choices among various products squeeze a charming collection of factors.

The buying behavior of final consumers -individuals and households "who buy goods and services for personal consumption.

2.1.2 Stimulus response model

The innermost question for marketers is; how do consumers respond to various marketing stimuli that the company should use? The company that really identify with how customers will act in response to different product features, prices and advertising plead has a great benefit to its competitors. Hence, companies and educational institutions have researched seriously the connection between marketing stimuli and consumer response.

The starting point is the stimulus-response model shown in figure 1. It indicates that marketing and other stimuli goes in to consumer's black box and produce certain responses.

4Ps create marketing stimuli 1-Product, 2- Price, 3-Place and 4-Promotion.

Other stimuli comprise important forces and measures in the buyer's surroundings; monetary, technological, political and cultural. All these stimuli go into the buyer's black box, where they are curved into a set of visible buyer responses product choice, brand choice, dealer choice, purchase timing and purchase amount.

To understand how the stimuli changed in to response of the consumers inside the consumer's black box in two parts.

1. The buyer's distinctiveness influence how he or she perceives and reacts to the stimuli.

2. The buyer's decision process itself affects the buyer's behavior.

Let's look at buyer's characteristics as they affect buying decision and then examines the buyer decision process.

It is difficult to know what exactly is in the black box and exactly predict consumer behavior, but the above model can help us to understand consumer behavior and help the researchers in creating the right questionnaire for the influencing factor.

2.1.3 Characteristics affecting consumer behavior

Consumer buying process is subjective strongly by cultural, social, personal and psychological characteristics, as shown in Fig-2. Marketers can not control all the factors but they should have to take all of them in to consideration.

Cultural Factors-Cultural factors applythe broadest and deepest influence on consumer behavior. The marketer needs to understand the role played by the buyer's culture, subculture and social class.


Itis the mainly basic source of a person's wants and behavior. Human behavior is largely cultured, rising up in a society. A child learns fundamental values, sensitivity, wants and behaviors from the family and other important institutions health. Sometimes we take these values for granted, but they are noel cultural universals (Kotler, 2003).


A group of people with common value structure based on familiar life practice and situations. Each culture has smaller subcultures or groups of persons with shared value structure based on common life experiences and situations. Subcultures include nationalities, religions, racial groups and geographic regions. Many subcultures create positive significant market segments and marketers often aimed at products and marketing programs customized to their needs (Kotler, 2003).

Social Class

Relatively permanent and ordered divisions in a society whose members share similar values, interests and behaviors. Almost each and every society has some structure of social group formation. Social classes are society's relatively stable and prepared division whose members share similar values, interests and behaviors. The British scale with six social classes is widely used, although all big countries have their own system. In these social classes social class is not determined by a single factor, such as income, but is calculated as an amalgamation of occupation, income, education, wealth and other variables(Kotler, 2003).

2.1.4 The buying decision process

Companies have to research on consumer buying process to understand the answers of the questions about what, where and how of the consumers. But to learn it is not easy task and the answers lies with customers only. To take it out these answerers is a work of great deal. We will examine the stages that buyers pass through to reach a buying decision. We will use the model in Fig 3, which indicates the customer as passing through five stages: 1-need recognition, 2- information search, 3-evaluation of alternatives, 4-purchase decision and 5-post purchase behavior. It can be seen that the buying process starts long before actual purchase and continues long after (Kotler, 2003).

This gives confidence the marketer to focus on the complete buying process rather than just the purchase decision. This model involves that customers pass through all five stages with all purchase. But in everyday purchases, customers often skip or reverse some of these stages. To illustrate this model, we return to Anna Flores and try to understand how she became interested in buying a camera and the stages she went through to make the final choice.

  • Need Recognition This is the first stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer recognizes a problem or need. The buying process starts with need recognition - the buyer identify a problem or need. The buyer senses a difference between his or her actual state and some preferred condition. The need can be generate by internal stimuli when one of the person's usual needs - hunger, thirst, and sex - raises to a level high enough to become a drive. (Kotler, 2003).
  • Information Search: The stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer is aroused to search for more information; the consumer may simply heightened attention or may go into active information search. A stimulate consumer may or may not search for more information. If the consumer's drive is strong and a satisfying product is near at hand, the consumer is likely to buy it then. If not, the customer may simply store the need in memory or take on an information search related to the need. (Kotler, 2003).
  • Evaluation of Alternatives: The stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer uses information to evaluate alternative brands in the choice set is called alternatives evaluation. We have seen above that how the customer uses information to arrive at a set of final brand choices and how does the consumer choose among the alternative brands? It is necessary for marketers to know about alternative evaluation - that is, how the consumer processes information to arrive at brand choices. Unluckily, customers do not use a simple and single assessment process in all buying circumstances (Kotler, 2003).
  • Purchase Decision: The stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer actually buys the product is called purchase decision. In the previous, evaluation stage, the consumer position brands and forms purchase intentions. Generally, the consumer's purchase decision will be to buy the most preferred brand, but two factors come between the purchase intension and the purchase decision. The first factor is the approach of others. And Purchase intention is also influenced by unexpected situational factors. The consumer may form a purchase intention based on factors such as estimated family income, estimated price and estimated benefits from the product. The marketer must understand the factors that provoke approach of hazard in customers and must give information which support in buying decision and that will reduce the perceived risk. (Kotler, 2003).
  • Post purchase Behavior This stage of the buyer decision, process in which customers take further action after purchase based on their satisfaction. The marketer's work does not end when the product is purchased. After buying the product, the consumer will be satisfied or dissatisfied and will engage in post purchase behavior of interest to the marketer. What decide whether the purchaser is satisfied or dissatisfied with a purchase? The answer lies in the association of the consumer's expectations and the product's superficial performance. If the product falls dumpy of potential, the customer is disappointed, if it meets expectations, the consumer is satisfied; if it exceeds expectations, and the consumer is delighted and consumer deligtness is the necessity of the success in today's competition. Understanding the customer's desires and buying process is the basis of successful marketing. By understanding how buyers go throughout need recognition, information search, and evaluation of alternatives, the purchase decision and post purchase behavior, the marketer can choose many evidence as to how to meet the buyer's needs. By understanding the various participants in the buying process and the strongest influence on their purchasing behavior, the marketer can develop an effective programmed to bear an eye-catching offer to the target market. (Kotler, 2003).

2.2 Review of Literature

This chapter gives inclusive idea about the characteristics of store layout and its impact on consumers purchasing pattern at convenience store. As suggested by Paulins and Geistfeld (2003), most convenience stores are poorly perceived with respect to in-store displays and external appearance. The outside store appearance affects consumers‟ choice of a store. Hence it is mandatory for stores to focus on their external appearance. It can influence the store's performance in terms of turnover.

The objective of the literature review is not just survey of the information available but it is for the better understanding of the research. It can influence the research on many stage of its development and it can help researcher in determining the key factor which has impact on store layout.

Factors which are affecting the stores turnover can be summaries as follows.

2. 2.1 Store Appearance and Image

Half of the work can be done by just positive attitude which is true not for the human being but for the all the business. Same is applicable for the stores. It gives sustainable competitive advantage over the competitors. It gives idea about the positioning of the store. And for the positioning what strategy should be adopt by the retailers. It also helps in to differentiating the store (Birtwistle and Shearer, 2001).

A desirable retail mix can influence the consumers and store appearance has played major role in retailing. The inspiring store image is desirable for the consumers (Devlin et al., 2003).

Estelami and Bergstein (2006) are also of the same opinion that consumers typically form an overall impression of a retail store through various information processing mechanisms, such as advertising, viral marketing, or personal experience. The determinants of a good store layout are rare.

There are six major dimensions that should be considered when determining a good store appearance, are as follow:

  1. Personal communication
  2. Guiding principle
  3. Physical manifestation
  4. Location
  5. Problem solving and
  6. The convenience of a store

The physical appearance of a store has the greatest impact on the overall service quality, higher customer retention and higher future consumption, respectively (Siu and Cheung, 2001).

Thang and Tan (2003) further state that characteristic of store image and exterior affect consumers‟ inclination for the stores. The motivations that pertain to store attributes include products, store ambiance, in-store service, convenience, status, endorsement, amenities and post-sales service. Consumer's preference is based on their post-visit ranking of the stores. Hence, the quality of in-store services is likely to have a strong impact on consumer's purchasing pattern and, if not liked or unsuited with the standards or the attitude required by the target consumers, might restrain appeal. Below is a diagram with mechanism of a good store appearance.

As shown in Fig 4, the stimuli that pertain to store attributes include products, store atmosphere, in-store service, accessibility, reputation, promotion, facilities and transaction service. The A S-O-R Model of consumer retail purchase pattern emphases on the most important factors to succeed with store appearance and image. In becoming a customer oriented business, management needs to be well-known with all the elements of the model (Thang and Tan, 2003). Memery et al. (2005) Note that store appearance is obtained through practice only.

2.2.2 Store Traffic Flow and Crowd Density

The store layout is the basis for procedure. Therefore, conducting a traffic flow analysis is a vital action to take when the object is to develop store performance. This instrument is helpful when development of a reorganization of the current collection. The analysis is also useful when the motive is to fine tune after a remodel.

By ascertaining customers' shopping behavior, a retailer can inspect the strengths and weaknesses of the layout. The analysis is simple to carry out and can be done on a huge or little scale, surrounding of the whole store or one department. The results will be clear and make decisions simple to arrive.

The main goals of carry out a traffic flow analysis is to decide traditions to make shopping and managing the store in a simple way by using layout and merchandising techniques to develop sales, improve the store's exterior and make shopping more pleasurable (Quinn and Stewart, 2007).

Shopping is one of the most exciting activities in life. As the taste and the preference of shoppers change constantly, retail facilities have evolved in response. It is universally accepted that in-store traffic flow plays an important role in the success of a retail facility (Hui et al., 2007).

Dion (2004: 250) states that crowding is not simply a matter of density in a given space. Crowding appears to arise through the juxtaposition of density with certain social and personal circumstances which sensitize the individual to the potential constraints of limited space. The sensitivity of such limitation leads to a familiar inequality between the total of space required, or measured to be sufficient, by the person, and the total of space accessible to them.

Emberson et al. (2006) are of the opinion that recent projects, such as professional consumer reaction, have raised the profile of in-store merchandising as a possible solution. Store group collection policies, stock organize; staffing levels and the amount of customer traffic were identified by merchandisers as affecting their activities.

Cottet et al. (2006) strongly suggest that practical importance of shopping is basically obtained through simple admission to products or information. The useful value depends on the way of utilization and need, primary to the shopping behavior.

2.2.3 Products Display

Merchandise display, according to Zentes et al. (2007), is a term repeatedly used in the circumstance of in-house marketing. It refers to the way products are accessible in a retail outlet. While this appearance has been used with a focus on merchandise display (e.g. the choice of fixtures to be used and the method of product presentation), it communicate on the whole store design, store layout and other aspect of the store environment.

Two basic objectives of in-store marketing are:

1. To design the store for simple in-house direction; and

2. To construct a positive store ambiance.

Attractive displays by retailers can lead consumer to let go the time and attempt required to go further to more distant stores. This technique advises that consumers shop at the stores where they can get maximum satisfaction, considering both retail characteristics and shopping expenses. Pleasant shopping atmosphere positively affects the shopping time and the money that customers spend in a store as well as the emotion of shopping (Kim and Jin, 2001).

Sinha and Banerjee (2004) contend that convenient store's consumer append more significance to merchandise display. These shoppers prefer to visit those stores that have depth and width of products. The importance of relationship/comfort level with the retailer is stressed with regard to grocery stores.

Fig 5 Framework for examining store preferences in an evolving market. Source: Sinha and Banerjee (2004).

The above framework is tested and it demonstrates that the basic drivers of the store loyalty can be deriving in 3 groups.

  1. Risk Reducers
  2. Choice Enhancers
  3. Shopping Experience Enhancer.

Products displays have significant effect on retailing where self service is applicable. The displaying strategy helps to the consumers and most of the time it result in to increase in the sales. And higher sales mean higher the profit.

Merchandising consists of the following elements:

  • Correct strategic placement in the store;
  • Eye-catching and appealing display;
  • Appropriate point of sale support media (e.g. labels, signs); and
  • Legal requirements satisfied.

The purpose of the best product display collection requires information about feature such as:

1. Market value of the place available for particular product and

2. Market assessment for sustainability of the available products.

2.2.4 Product Assortment

Efficient merchandising approach can collect large plunder in today's marketplace. Effective category management is essential for retailing. It is difficult that stores improve their service by enabling consumers with the products they demanded. Adopting a more strategic approach to merchandising can collect big rewards by increasing sales, increasing step and ultimately increasing turnover (Clark, 2003).

Halepete et al. (2005) recognized that, in the past, when competitors were not much strong, a store could object a broad range of consumers. But retailing trends indicate that it is becoming significant to make happy consumers needs. Assortment management is one of the significant factors in merchandising.

For a business to attain consumer loyalty, the steps in the below diagram need to be followed.

This model can be utilized by retail outlet's managers to get an idea about different factors that should be considered while merchandising. Importance on the each factor should be given based on area of the store. Information received from this model can help in to increasing the sales.

Normally customer doesn't like to go home with empty hand if their first choice product is not available or out of stock, consumer's go for the substitution with in the same product category, but for different size, color or brand.

In spite of enormous hard work of suppliers and retailers in the fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) channel to adopt the efficient consumer response practices, lots of have not realized expected benefits. Traditional retailers are not able to give price benefits, collection verity to the consumers and it is difficult for them to fulfill the each and every customers need. Because of that customers normally switch over to the other retailers where they can get the satisfaction. Whereas convenience stores have advantage of the consumer centric assortment which improve their performance. Some loyal customers can make store profit making unit. It is possible that not all the categories they have are profit making but out of that one or two may be cover the profit of all the categories. Category management will boost consumer loyalty to the retailer and to the brand, since the plan consumer will be able to without any difficulty find their preferred brands at a fair price in one outlet during each shopping experience (Dupre and Gruen, 2004).

2.2.5 Store Floor Space

Floor space should be utilized in such a way that it make easier shopping experience and make possible easy communication between staff, staff and consumers. The core requirements are enough space to move around the store, ease of access from outside the store and clear navigation and displays. Stores can make their branding by this way and make it memorable window displays etc. utilizing better point of sale, personal touches to encourage customer loyalty, graphics, highlighting prices and age ranges in busy areas (Cowles, 2002).

In the above figure it is shows a number of huddle have appeared on consumers' psychological associations. Major, four leading motivational prototype emerged which include frictionless shopping, shopping pleasure, value seeking, and quality seeking. These motivational prototype can be attributed a leading role because they report for the majority of cognitive links. Moreover, the respective functional consequences represent the most highly desired shopping benefits from the consumers' point of view: finding the right products easily, fast shopping, fun to shop, shopping convenience and inexpensive shopping (Wagner, 2007: 569).

The key drivers are the shares of consumer shopping space, areas for storage, distribution and retail. These drivers must be taken into consideration when assessing the store floor space (Stoy and Kytzia, 2005).

2.2.6 Store Ventilation System

Ventilation of buildings depends considerably on the utilized criteria for the inside atmosphere, which in turn has influence on productivity, health and comfort of the consumers.

The measures should not sacrifice customer's placate and wellbeing during shopping. There is a necessity for ventilation of the in house atmosphere of the retail design, and to develop shopping environment (Olesen, 2006).

According to Hayter et al. (2000), the retail sector has been slow in to the adoption of sustainable building performance for a multiple reasons and these include a aspiration to build retail spaces quickly and the vagueness of the non-traditional building envelopes and systems will affect sales.

Retailers have significant practice in scheming lighting levels and other store related fundamentals to make sure that stores remain profitable. Due to the risk of reduced profits, most retailers are reluctant to incorporate ventilation systems into their stores. Improving the ventilation systems provided the greatest opportunities to reduce energy costs and results in improved shopping confidence.

2.2.7 Store Entrances

Most of the stores are not considering store entrance as a significant factor a and retail sector companies often fail to notice the constructive involvement that store entrances and exit points could make to their success. At a time when more decisions than ever are made in-store, any media must present a way to the purchase that is subconsciously prompt. Hence it would be a prudent step to use maximum below the-line and through-the-line strategies. A major dispute is to make an atmosphere where the buyers believes a one-to-one relationship with the store; to maximize the buyer's time; to construct it so that it can come out as if the variety and categorization of products have been personalized only for the customers. And by providing attention to it, retailers can deliver an experience the buyers would like to repeat (Soars, 2003).

Moerloose et al. (2005) shows that result propose that retailing can be execute fruitfully with up to three easy-to-use entrances to the store permit for enhanced in-store traffic density. In the retail sector, ease-of-use with straightforward store entrances and attractive exterior are optimistic features that endorse rendezvous from consumers.

2.2.8 Store Accessibility

The most significant feature in relation to the location of a store. It should be extremely available to the object. The target market must be capable to appointment the store with not creation any special effort. The store's ambiance establishes, to a large extent, consumers experience and performs in a shop, and they anticipate the same ambiance to do fairness to the products or services which they intend for buying. (Terblanche, 1998).

Findlay and Sparks (2008: 375) sustain to be flourishing retailers, one has to attract and retain customers' expenditure profitably. Customers always like to change their shopping behavior. And customer's changes tend to switch between retailers or stores. The capability to create change in behavior and then try to retain the switched consumer is a significant long-term sensation factor of the retailers. And the competitive advantage is the ability to reduced switching of the valuable consumers to the rival retailers. Higher the accessibility of the store, higher the profitability in terms of sales. Viral marketing is the best tool to know about the second or future purchase or repurchase. Service quality is a significant factor in store's performance. A high service quality positively affects the customer's behavior and hence results in to high sales.

Easily accessible location is also a significant factor in the performance of the store. Once the location is established it is difficult to change it. Selection of the right place is also a strategic move in to retailing and it become step for problem solving without considering the decision factors globally (Kuo et al., 2002).

2.2.9 Music and Lighting

Background music improves the ambiance of the store and it motivates the customers and sales persons both. Type of music also plays a major role on the customer's behavior. Peaceful music is shown, as predicted, to enlarge movement when other cognitive motivation is low However, retailers are advise that attractive activity is not universal remedy as it is found that superior cognitive activity is associated with lower attitudes. It is proposed that music fit with the store may explain such results. Music fit and cognitive processes triggered by store music are strongly suggested as avenues of store atmospherics (Chebat et al., 2001).

The model reflects the method in which music affects customer reaction and afterward planned behaviors in a retailing context. The model suggests that music affects performance through its effect on cognitive processing as well as emotional condition (Sweeney and Wyber, 2002).

Apart from the understandable commercial issues, the role of music in customer research is of substantial hypothetical attention. Music is capable of evoking complex affective and behavioral responses in consumers. Although the impact of music on consumer emotions and shopping behavior has attracted considerable attention among marketing researchers, empirical evidence of the impact of the physical characteristics of music is mixed (Mattila and Wirtz, 2001).

2.2.10Staff Attitude and Training

Communication is the effective tool in any sector or any business. Successfulness of the retailing is depending on their communication. In retail and other service atmosphere, the interaction between customers and frontline staff is likely to significantly affect customer sensitivity of the shopping and consumption experience. High quality interactions with service providers often result in customer satisfaction despite problems with other aspects of service delivery, whereas dissatisfying experiences with service providers have the potential to ruin otherwise pleasant service encounters.

Service providers need to focus on the consumer's perception and their attitudes, verbally or non-verbally may leave long impression that affects satisfaction, repeat buying, and financial performance. (Brown and Lam, 2008).

Gerstner and Libai (2006) state that recent reports in the popular media suggest that service quality and customer satisfaction are declining. Poor service results from poor selection of employees, lack of training, service process failures, or misalignment of incentives and, more generally, gaps in organizational knowledge and perceptions.

An alternative to increasing customer retention and profits is improving customer satisfaction and improving staff morale which leads to improve staff attitude towards customers.

Good training is based on having fully answered the following questions:

  • Is there actually a need for training? What is the need?
  • Who needs to be trained?
  • Who will provide the training?
  • What form will the training take?
  • How will the training be transferred from the session to the job?
  • How will the training be evaluated?

2.2.11 Impulse Purchasing Pressure

Impulse buying pressure can be defined as an immediate purchase with no pre-shopping intentions. There has been a link of accidental purchase to customer feel and enjoyable atmosphere and that shows that employee behaviors forecast customer assessment. Apart from that, prior work point out that goodwill of salespeople in assisting customers influences customer's readiness to purchase. A high level of excitement in a store enhances the loss of self-control, and high arousal reduces people's ability to think through the suggestion of their actions. It's also likely that many people's ability to resist excitement is at its lowest level at the end of the day, resulting into increased impulse purchases (Mattila and Wirtz, 2008). Below is a diagram showing environmental stimulation on impulse purchasing.

Fig. 9 Environmental stimulation on impulse purchasing, Source: Mattila and Wirtz (2008)

Mattila and Wirtz (2008) suggest that customers hold arousal-level expectations.

Level of stimulation (i.e. both over- and under-stimulation) lead to lower in-store approach behaviors (including spending time and money). Strongly held arousal-level expectations results in impulse buying. From a managerial perspective, it is better to stimulate and excite customers in a store environment to the extent to over-stimulation to increase impulse purchases. Store managers can look at a number of environmental design variables to increase stimulation in their shops.

Moreover, they can reduce enablers by only shopping when they need specific purchases and only carrying enough cash or credit for necessary purchases. Retailers should go for all that products which can satisfy the customer's need and demand. Ambiance of the store layout should be such so that buyers are motivated to buy more compare to that which they have planned originally.

Only actual purchase can increase the sales. And actual purchase takes place only when it is buyer trust seller. That trust only can retain the loyal customers and increased the profitability of the store. (Miranda et al., 2005).

The chapter reviewed literature on store appearance and image, store traffic and crowd density, merchandise display, product assortment, floor space, ventilation system, store entrances, store accessibility, music and lighting, staff attitude and training and impulse purchasing pressure. The review shows that consumers are faced with many complex situations while shopping around for convenience goods. Babakus et al. (2004) suggest that both service and merchandise quality exert a significant influence on store performance, measured by sales growth and customer growth, and their impact is mediated by customer satisfaction.

The next chapter will discuss the research methodology employed in this study.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1. Overview

This chapter describes research method and the approach utilized for this study. It shows the broad framework to understand the problem and it gives answers of the research questions. There are three types of business researches.

  1. Exploratory
  2. Causal
  3. Descriptive

The type of research is based on the method and rational of the problem. (Zikmund, 2003).

Questionnaire was made with the use of explanatory method to get the information about awareness, attitude, objective of the purchase etc.

3.2. Explanatory Research

To know the traits of the indefinite problems explanatory research is used. It shows interconnected fundamentals like the analysis the problem characteristics; the evaluation of thoughts; concept testing, which includes the viewing of options or finding the optimum solution; the development of original ideas and hypotheses generation. It helps in to finding out the finest research method and system of data collection for specific research question. This findings may not used for decision making process but it can give detail of a given circumstance.( Zikmund, 2003).

In the Explanatory research, an experience survey technique is used. In this method individuals are educated about research problems. Surveys can be categorized in to the method of communication, level of construction and the time frame in which data is collected. It most of the time taken through collusive negotiation, interviews or questionnaires and targeted to get the information of characteristics, believes, approaches or past experience.

Secondly, secondary data study can be utilized to calculate problems found in the premature stages of a research project. One objective comprises fact discovery which is to be determined at collecting expressive information to maintain decision-making process. An additional objective, model construction, tries to show relationships based on secondary data. Secondary data comprises of information collected from sources other than the project at hand. These contain propriety data, books and periodicals, government sources, media sources and commercial sources (Zikmund, 2003).

In the 3rd step, a case study method used to examine circumstances that similar to the researcher's problem atmosphere. Depending on the circumstances, there are different case projects to choose from. Some of these comprise critical examples, program effects, and prospective, cumulative, narrative and embedded studies. Cases donate with a systematic way of collecting data, analyzing information and reporting results. They have the advantage of being highly purposeful which may lead to the identification of patterns or relationships among variables (Zikmund, 2003).

In the last, pilot study defined as a small-scale practice that relies on sampling to create primary data. Pilot projects consist of focus group interviews, projective techniques and depth interviews. All of these methods are utilized as originator to full-scale studies and are conducted with smaller sample sizes. Pilot studies are performed to refine research methodology, test investigational procedures, to ensure if sampling techniques are acceptable or to elucidate other experimental constraint. in addition, pilot projects are useful for disclosing errors such as sampling bias and order effects. Poorly planned studies may generate unexpected quantities of data which are either useless or incomprehensible (Zikmund, 2003).

Explanatory research generates insight and clarification of the business problems for the future hypothesis testing is the major benefit of it. It may be lead to incorrect decisions is the limitation of it. The majority techniques provide qualitative information, and are therefore subject to judgmental or analyst bias. Accurate quantitative measurements are hardly ever provided and the ability to take a broad view results is often limited (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005; Zikmund, 2003).

3.3. Casual Research

The rationale of causal research is to recognize cause-and-effect relationships between variables. While designing researcher may think about many possible factors or variables that influence a particular circumstance. An effort is then made to manage all variables, except those whose effects are the focus of examination. Variables that influence others (the cause) and that are directly manipulated by the researcher are known as independent variables. Variables that are influenced by others (the effect) are called dependent variables (Zikmund, 2003).

The establishment of causal order or chronological sequence relating to many variables may be tremendously difficult in complex atmosphere. Furthermore, confusing variables make worse this issue by making it difficult to find the cause(s) of any given experience. Internal validity or accurate conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships may therefore be limited. To manage for this, researchers use a number of different strategies. Common approaches include keeping some variables constant, including a control group, assessment of equivalence with one or more pre-tests and statistical control (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005).

3.4. Descriptive Research

Descriptive research is considered to describe the characteristics of a population or experience. Not like exploratory research, it is based on some previous understanding of the research problem. Descriptive research includes diverse strategies, specifically observational studies, relationship research, developmental designs and survey research (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005). Observational studies deal with the objective evaluation of a particular characteristic of behavior. Behavioral dimensions are time and again rated according to accuracy, intensity and maturity. To maintain objectivity, a number of guidelines have been established:

  1. Behavior should be exactly clear so that it is simply identifiable
  2. Observation periods should be divided into many sections so that behavioral frequency can be determined
  3. Behavior should be rated in terms of specific dimensions using a rating scale
  4. Behavior should be rated independently by two or three trained individuals

Correlation studies collect data of two or more variables for particular element of study. The degrees to which differences in one variable are related to differences in another are inspect. A correlation exists when differences in the variable ‘movements' are predictable. However, researchers may use techniques such as structural equation modeling to examine dynamics of cause-and-effect relationships within correlations. To study how particular group personalities change over time, researchers may use developmental designs. In a cross-sectional study, data is sampled from unusual groups at a time, whereas in a longitudinal study, data is collected from a one group at different time periods. In the second approach, participants may be lost along the way. Further disadvantage of a longitudinal design is that dimensions are likely to improve with practice, even when the characteristic in subject has not changed. Cross-sectional studies pose two drawbacks. First, the different groups may have been exposed to different ecological circumstances, which may lead to distorted decision-making. Second, correlations cannot be computed between variables from different groups. A survey is a research method that involves collection of data from a sample of individuals by asking them questions. The main goal is to draw conclusion about a population based on responses from the sample. Surveys provide a number of advantages. They are quick, inexpensive, efficient and an accurate means of gathering data. The quality of survey-based research is dependent on two important considerations. Therefore, conclusions drained about population variables over a longer period of time must be extrapolated and may be ambiguous. An extra concern is that surveys may be prone to two major sources of error, namely random sampling error and systematic error (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005; Zikmund, 2003).

Random sampling error signifies statistical fluctuations that take place by chance during sample selection. Statistical problems are usually inevitable but may be enhanced by increasing the sample size. Systematic error or non-sampling error consequences from limitation in research design or mistakes during project execution. These errors generate sample bias, a tendency for sample results to stray from true population values. Errors may be categorized under two categories- respondent error and administrative error. Respondent error takes place when persons fail to participate in a survey. Respondents that answer questions in a definite direction create a particular error known as response bias. Examples of this include compliance bias, extremity bias, interviewer bias, auspice bias and social desirability bias. Administrative error's reason by indecent administration or execution of a research task. This is categorized into four types: data-processing error; sample selection error; interviewer error and interviewer cheating. The end result of both types of error is a deformation of measurements and misrepresentation of the truth (Zikmund, 2003).

Researchers have to deal with two major criteria when designing questionnaires. First, a questionnaire must be relevant and no unnecessary information is collected. Second, a questionnaire must be precise in that the information is reliable and valid. Reliability refers to the level to which measures are free from error and yield consistent results. Validity is the ability of a questionnaire to measure what it is intended to measure.

To attain these objectives, the following questions require to be answered (Zikmund, 2003):

  1. What questions should be asked?
  2. How should each question be phrased?
  3. In what sequence should the questions be arranged?
  4. What layout will be selected for the questionnaire?
  5. How should the questionnaire be pre-tested?

3.5. Research Design

Descriptive research by a survey plan was executed in this study to deal with specific objectives and hypotheses. A sample of 50 people was obtained from a working population the sampling frame was representative of consumers belonging to consumers. A self-designed questionnaire was designed to determine the participant's awareness, general approach and purchase intentions.

3.6. Questionnaire Layout

Premium survey results are reliant on superior questionnaire design. Questions should be simple to follow, reasonable and avoid vagueness. besides, researchers should avoid double-meaning items and questions that mislead respondents (Zikmund, 2003). Questionnaire consists of close-ended questions, which intended to extract biographical information from the respondents. Close-ended questions are also recognized as fixed alternatives and provide responses from which a precise choice has to be made (Zikmund, 2003). This section focused on details relating to gender, age group, ethnic group and highest academic qualification attained. Questions to determine the respondent's awareness, knowledge of product collection, staff's involvement etc. are asked for the detailed research.

3.7. Sampling

Non-probability samples include elements from the population was selected in a non statistical manner. Therefore, convenience sampling was used whereby a non-statistical approach is used primarily because it is easy to collect data. This approach is practiced because almost everybody is a grocery customer, and samples are easier to setup, cheaper in financial terms, and are adequate in their representativeness within the scope of the defined research (Schmidt and Hollensen, 2006).

Sample size is defined as the number of elements to be included in a study. In this case the sample size is 50 respondents as they are consider providing sufficient input to ascertain findings. There are many grocery stores and out of them 10 stores are selected in terms of their convenience and accessibility. Five questionnaires were administered at each of the ten selected stores.

The objective of the qualitative method to use is to get information on the impact of customer's buying pattern on store layout and store design to examine the influence of factors that make people behave in a particular way (Cohen, 1990).

To get the answer of how and why change in consumer behavior, qualitative method is useful. (Chambers and Smith, 1991). Questionnaire was designed on the base of research requirement and pre-tested suitability is checked. (Mulenga, 2009).

Data is collected by means of self-designed questionnaires given to the sample population to discover consumer's views about the impact of store layout and their purchasing behavior in convenience stores (Mulenga, 2009b). After collection of the data, data was enter and analyzed using suitable program. Analyzed data was used to draw the final conclusion of research.

Data collection is based on the self designed questionnaires taken from the sample population to determine customer's view about the stores and their purchasing pattern in the convenience stores at London. The nature of the study is quantitative. Samples were taken form the conveniences store because almost everybody is a grocery customer, and samples are easier to setup, cheaper in financial terms, and are adequate in their representativeness within the scope of the defined research (Cohen et al., 2000).

3.8. Ethical Considerations

In planning and conducting research, it is necessary to follow the code of conduct and ethical consideration. The experimenters have to fulfill several obligations in order to meet the ethical standards set forth by the APA. First, the research must be designed so that the chance for ambiguous results is diminish. Second, the project must be designed so that it meets ethical acceptability. Any confusion the researcher may have regarding questionable ethical procedures or methods must be resolved through peer review or through discussion with suitable parties such as the IRB. Third, steps must be taken to protect and make sure the decorum and interests of all participants, as well as those who may be affected by the results of the research project (Suanders et al 2007).

When conducting a research study, the results might appear to be accurate, but may contain errors. Therefore, it was important that, while conducting research, precautions should be taken to minimize the possibilities of errors. Numbers were used to code the data in order to eliminate errors while recording data into the computer. The questionnaire was designed to be brief and easy so that the questions were easy to understand to avoid errors. The interviewers were well briefed about the aim of the study and it was make sure that they were understood the questionnaire and was able to explain any questions for clarity (Leedy and Ormrod, 2001).

3.9. Reliability

In an ideal situation, the observed score should correspond perfectly with the true score. However, because research does not occur in a perfect situation, measurement error is not usually zero. The real issue was not whether there was error, rather the issue was what potential was there for error, and what had the researcher done to reduce error in the study, and, therefore, to increase the validity and reliability of the findings.

Reliability of a measure indicates the extent to which it was without bias (error free) and so ensures consistent measurement across time and across the various items in the instrument. In other words, reliability of a measure was an indication of the stability and consistency with which the instrument measures the concept and helps to assess the goodness of a measure. Reliability was concerned with the consistency, accuracy, and predictability of the research findings. However, if a measure was not reliable, it cannot be valid, and if it is reliable, then it may or may not be valid. Reliability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for validity. Consequently, the validity of a measure was of main concern since it deals with both systematic and random errors (Denzin and Lincoln, 2003).

In order to increase the reliability of the findings, the sample was fairly large up to 50 respondents participating. In order to standardize the conditions under which the questionnaire was be conducted, the author was well trained and briefed on the topic. (Saunders et al, 2007).

To prevent inconsistency in coding, all questionnaires were pre-coded. It was very important to select a sample that would not bias the results of the study and that was representative of the population with respect to the characteristics or variables of interest. (Mulenga, 2009).

3.10. Validity

In an ideal situation, the observed score should correspond perfectly with the true score. However, because research does not occur in a perfect situation, measurement error is not usually zero. The real issue was not whether there was error, rather the issue was what potential was there for error, and what had the researcher done to reduce error in the study, and, therefore, to increase the validity and reliability of the findings.

When conducting a research study, the results might appear to be accurate, but may contain errors. Therefore, it was important that, while conducting research, precautions should be taken to minimize the possibilities of errors. Numbers were used to code the data in order to eliminate errors while recording data into the computer. The questionnaire was designed to be brief and easy so that the questions were easy to understand to avoid errors. The interviewers were well briefed about the aim of the study and it was make sure that they were understood the questionnaire and was able to explain any questions for clarity (Leedy and Ormrod, 2001).

Chapter 4: Results and Discussions

In this chapter gives insight of the detailed analysis of the data. It gives the idea about the findings of the study, with numerical and graphical presentation of the data and interpretation of the presentation. All the interpreted data taken from the questionnaires designed for the customers of the convenience store in London, UK.

The graphs presented in this section are extracted from Microsoft Excel to further clarify the findings.

4.1. Frequencies

According to Malhotra and Birks (2006), a frequency distribution refers to a mathematical distribution whose objective is to obtain a count of the number of responses associated with different values of one variable and to express these counts in percentage terms. A frequency table is easy to read and provides basic information; therefore, frequencies in this section will be presented in the form of bar charts and pie charts.

4.2. Analysis of Data

In this part of data analysis present the data on demographic part of the research.

Fig 10 represents the ratio of male and female that covered under the survey. From the above graph we can say that female consist of 67% and male consist of 33%. Hence we can say that females play a dominant role in buying behavior and .

Fig 11 reveals the age group dispersion of the respondents from the sample. From the above graph we can see that age group below 20 years consist of 15%, age group between 20 to 35 years consist of 31%, age group of 36-50 years consist of 36% and above 50 years age group consist of 18%. So from the above chart we can say that age group of 36-50 years have its impact on the convenience store.

Fig 12 shows the education level of the respondents. In the our research major area covered by the bachelor people and it was about 48% of total respondents, where as persons having master or more are consist of 19% only. Persons having degree of secondary high school are only 17% and high schools are 16%.

Fig 13 shows the employment status of the respondents. It is observed that 46% respondents have part time job and 29% have full time job whereas 25% were unemployed.

Fig 14 shows the income group of the respondents. It was observed that 41% have income below 10K, 32% respondents have income between 10 to 20K, 18% respondents have income about 20 to 30 K whereas only 9% respondents have income more that 30K. It was seen that most of the respondents have an average income.

Frequency of shopping

Fig 15 portrays the frequency of shopping by shoppers in a month. Above graph shows that 37% persons buy four times in a month. And 23% people buy more than four times in a month, so we can say that on an average they are buying once in a week. 19% persons buying two times in a month and 16% persons buying three times in a month whereas only 5% buyers buys once in a month. So we can say that very less persons buy at least once in a month.

Vrechopoulos et al. (2004) further contend that shopping is habitual to customers. Good floor layouts are extremely important because they strongly increase store visits, in-store traffic patterns, shopping atmosphere, shopping behavior and operational efficiency. A well designed store layout encourages shoppers to visit stores regularly and creates a shopping atmosphere that contributes towards shopping efficiency (Lewison, 1997). Therefore, the results tend to agree with the literature.

Preference of buying place

Fig 16 shows the preference of respondents for buying place. From the above pie chart we can conclude that 19% Persons would like to buy from

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