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Consumer perception and behavior in the retail foodscape – A study of chilled groceries
University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business. RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. (SIIR/ Sustainable consumption research group)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8323-4459
University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business. (SIIR/ Sustainable consumption research group)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9159-4593
University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business. (SIIR - Swedish Institute for Innovative Retailing)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2219-1525
Kristianstad University, Sweden/ University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
2018 (English)In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, ISSN 0969-6989, E-ISSN 1873-1384, Vol. 40, p. 1-7Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
The publication has keywords that indicate "Sustainable Development"
Abstract [en]

In the retail grocery business, new competitors such as pure e-commerce players are growing fast, and, in order to compete, ‘brick and mortar’ stores such as supermarkets need to become more professional at providing excellent customer service, and to use the physical servicescape as the main competitive advantages. However, supermarkets also face a challenge to offer consumers high quality products while at the same time providing a pleasant and functional servicescape. Products like groceries often need to be stored in cabinets due to strict regulations and in order to maintain correct temperatures. Some of these cabinets have doors which make them more energy-efficient (Evans et al., 2007 ;  Faramarzi et al., 2002), reduces costs, and contributes to grocery quality, but it can also affect the perceived servicescape, and risk a negative impact on sales (Waide, 2014; Kauffeld, 2015). For example, moisture from the atmosphere that condenses on the inside of the door glass (Fricke and Bansal, 2015) may make the cabinets less transparent, and doors can obstruct consumers from passing by. Thus, having chilled groceries in cabinets with doors can be both beneficial and problematic. However, no studies have been conducted on how open (no doors) or closed (with doors) cabinets for chilled groceries impact consumer perception and behavior. Hence, the purpose of the study is to contribute to an understanding of how consumers behave and what they perceive when shopping chilled groceries from cabinets with doors and without doors in the supermarket.

Based on a qualitative research approach, combining in-store observations and focus group interviews, and focusing on Bitner's (1992) three environmental variables in the servicescape, i.e. (1) ambient condition, (2) space and functions, and (3) signs, symbols and artifacts, the study investigates the question: do open or closed cabinets for chilled groceries in the supermarket impact consumer perception and behavior, and if so, how?

Our results indicate that consumers’ behavior and perceptions of the foodscape differ when there are doors or no doors on the cabinets. The paper thereby contributes to servicescape research by focusing on a particular part of supermarkets – the foodscape for chilled groceries–and by enhancing the understanding of environmental variables in the servicescape. The results further show how doors lead to different forms of approach or avoidance behavior in terms of accessibility and that consumers’ vision, olfaction and tactility all influence consumers’ perceptions of freshness and cleanliness in relation to doors or no doors. Our results also have practical implications for retailers who are designing new stores or considering changes in existing store layouts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 40, p. 1-7
Keywords [en]
grocery retail, consumer behavior, consumer perception, servicescape, foodscape
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Resource Recovery
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-12572DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2017.09.001ISI: 000416655400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-12572DiVA, id: diva2:1141075
Funder
Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development CouncilAvailable from: 2017-09-13 Created: 2017-09-13 Last updated: 2018-11-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exploring barriers to energy efficiency in supermarkets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring barriers to energy efficiency in supermarkets
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Energy efficiency activities in sections of grocery stores for chilled groceries are subject to particular challenges as this is a complex indoor environment given that the goal of store owners is to offer consumers chilled groceries of high quality in a comfortable environment while at the same time trying to reduce energy use. Consequently, it is important to maintain the right temperature in the right place and to be aware of the consumers’ shopping situation. The way chilled groceries are displayed, the form of refrigeration, the building size, and business and merchandising practices may differ between retail stores, impacting energy efficiency. Finding a balance between being energy effective and efficient, i.e., doing the right things or doing things right, is therefore important. This particular environment, where consumers interact with store staff, other consumers, chilled groceries, and other environmental factors, is a surprisingly unexplored part of retail, especially when it comes to consumers’ behaviors and perceptions. This thesis is multidisciplinary, and the research has been broadened from studying measured and perceived comfort parameters in supermarkets to incorporating qualitative studies with a clearer and deeper interest in consumers’ perceptions and behaviors. In this thesis, findings from the cold environment of chilled food display cabinets, either with doors or without, are discussed and tangible commodities are used to illustrate how ‘details’ such as doors on cabinets matter to consumers. The consumers are of the main interest since they make up the businesses. The aim of this thesis is to gain knowledge of how to improve energy efficiency and the store layout for chilled groceries by adding consumer insights. Four specific papers contribute to this thesis’ aim of overcoming specific challenges faced by retail grocery stores as regards energy efficiency. The results show how details such as doors can affect consumers’ perceptions and behaviors. The details that matter concern how consumers perceive and behave in relation to having doors or no doors on cabinets, with different forms of approach or avoidance behavior in terms of accessibility, both beneficial and problematic. Moreover, the results also show that knowledge of how to provide service to the consumer, in particular in the foodscape and with doors on cabinets, can affect the store’s energy use in a positive way and contribute toward more sustainable and energy efficient retail grocery stores. By elaborating these results in relation to “foodscape”, this thesis contributes to research on servicescape. The thesis also contributes to research on in-store energy efficiency in relation to four challenges that retail grocery stores face: building design, retail context, consumer insights, and management. The perspectives of the consumers may help to overcome barriers to energy efficiency, aid in the design of a functional foodscape and facilitate technology change for sustainable and efficient energy use in supermarket buildings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2018
Series
Skrifter från Högskolan i Borås, ISSN 0280-381X ; 90
Keywords
retail, servicescape, foodscape, chilled groceries, energy efficiency, barriers, refrigerated display cabinets, consumer behaviors, consumer perceptions
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Resource Recovery
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15059 (URN)978-91-88838-04-9 (ISBN)978-91-88838-05-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-30, M404, Borås, 13:15
Opponent
Available from: 2018-11-08 Created: 2018-09-04 Last updated: 2019-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Lindberg, UllaSalomonson, NicklasSundström, Malin

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