CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 1
Consumer Decisions: How store
environments affec...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 2
Abstract
There aremany different ways to persuad...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 3
Another day, another dollar
7:00 am. Saturday mo...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 4
He finally arrives at the grocery section. Putti...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 5
“Value”, according to the Oxford Dictionaries (2...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 6
communication strategies, includingthe logo‟s co...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 7
how the other senses can impact upon aspects suc...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 8
customers' perceptions of store music cues becom...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 9
button that will make the toy move or sing. Refe...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 10
To cite all the different strategies businesses...
CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 11
References
Alexomanolaki, M., Loveday, C., & Ke...
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Daniel Simões Caldas - Research Paper - Consumer Decisions: How Store Environment Affects Customer's Behavior.

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There are many different ways to persuade consumers to buy products. From the use of a popular content such as music to trigger unconscious emotions, to the organization of products inside the store to stimulate consumerism. Equivalent strategies likewise happens regarding customer service, including the use of different colors to attract consumers, smells to make them memorize the brand, touch for a closer sensation, and taste, especially for food products. The purpose of this paper is to explain different strategies that business use to persuade its customers and how all of this aspects generate a particular environment, making consumers distinguish a specific store as one that is different from its competitors.

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Daniel Simões Caldas - Research Paper - Consumer Decisions: How Store Environment Affects Customer's Behavior.

  1. 1. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 1 Consumer Decisions: How store environments affectcustomers’ behavior Daniel S. Caldas Undergraduate, Pre-Journalism (Advertising). -- RWG Class AUTHOR’S NOTE: Daniel Caldas (or “Dan”) is an undergraduate pre-journalism student majoring in Advertising & Social sciences. He worked at Mentes Digitais as a Social Media Manager and was a member of the Strategist‟s department. Now, his focus is on traditional Advertising and Marketing strategies.
  2. 2. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 2 Abstract There aremany different ways to persuade consumers to buy products. From the use of a popular content such as music to triggerunconscious emotions, to theorganization of products inside the store to stimulateconsumerism.Equivalent strategies likewisehappens regarding customer service, including the use ofdifferent colors to attract consumers, smellsto makethemmemorize the brand,touch for a closer sensation, and taste, especially for food products. The purpose of this paper is to explaindifferent strategies that business use to persuade its customers and how all of this aspectsgenerate a particular environment, makingconsumers distinguish a specific store as one that is different from itscompetitors. Keywords Consumer Experience, Store Design, Marketing, Costumer Behavior, Five Senses.
  3. 3. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 3 Another day, another dollar 7:00 am. Saturday morning. The alarm rings and an enjoyable song starts playing.“He”gets up, goes to the bathroom and “takes care of business.” After that, he walks downstairs straight to the kitchen. Opening the fridge, he realizeshe needs to restockit for lunch. He sitsat the table, drinking coffee and watching the morning news on his favorite TV channel. There is a cut toa commercial break. One of them captures his attention. A new “microwave food” is being offered by a big supermarket franchise that is new in town. The food is presented in anappealing (even that he knows it is not that much) way and, interestingly, the ad soundtrack features the same music he woke up to. 8:00 am. He getin his car and heads to this supermarket. He turns the radio onto his favorite rock station. The radio presenterstarts talking about a song that is becoming popular nationally. Yes, it is the same song he heard in the morning and saw on TV. The presenter says that this song, “has been brought to you by STORE X, a great supermarket franchise that has this new, tasty, microwave food!” 8:30 am. He arrivesat the supermarket,parks his car, turns off the radio and heads straight to the store. Without effort, the doors opens for him. He unconsciously notices that the store smells good, like the fields of a heavenly farm.The music is relaxing, making him want to go back to bed, and the design of the place, even if it is a big franchise, reminds him of the local markets in his town. He walks all the way to the other side of the store, passing through various sections of the market: Electronic gadgets, home supplies,baby care, gun ammunition are just a few of the sections he passes. On his way, something catches his attention. A young woman with a big beautiful smile in the “microwave food” section offers him a free sample of “this new tasty microwave food” and, well, it smells good, sohe eats it. Buteven if it is very cheap, he is not interested in buying it. He turns back to his major goal: buying supplies for lunch.
  4. 4. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 4 He finally arrives at the grocery section. Putting everything that he needs in his cart, he now heads to the checkout, to conclude his adventure. Unfortunately, there is a line and he will have to wait. It is making him bored. Suddenly, “that” song starts playing although he is not conscious of it. Instead, he starts thinking about everything that he will have to doto prepare his lunch himself. He starts feeling lazy. Looking to the right, conveniently, he sees that “tasty microwave food” and starts thinking about not preparing lunch, but taking his time for something else. 9:30 am. The consumer buys the microwave food. This situation, intentionally described to point out details of behavior modification, is how brands strategically work to sell its products.As pointed out by Süle (2012), “the entire consumption process might be described as a series of stages, arranged in a hierarchical order” (as cited in Matsuno, 1997, p. 214). Consumer decision does not depend on a single offer opportunity, but on an entire chain of experiences that are related to his backgroundperceptions (culture, desires, experiences, flavors, etc). Craik 1973, Mehrabian & Russell (1974), Russell & Pratt (1980), Stokols (1978)argue, “[…] the environment is a stimulus containing cues that combine to affect people's internal evaluations, which in turn create approach/avoidance responses” (as cited in Spangenberg, Crowley & Henderson, 1996, p. 68).The role of store design is to keep the consumer engaged in its offers from the moment he arrives at the store he has heard about on the radio and seen on TV,tothe moment the money is exchanged for product. Selling happiness There was a time not so long ago that retail environments had few standards to meet. A store should be clean and organized to maximize sales per square foot. It should also be pretty… Today, though, the retail environment must tie in directly to the brand, and, in fact, speak the brand‟s value proposition. –Nancye Green (As cited in Baker, Parasuraman, Grewal & Voss, 2002, p. 120)
  5. 5. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 5 “Value”, according to the Oxford Dictionaries (2013), is defined as “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something […]”. A brand‟s value proposition is not uniquely related to its monetary aspects, but also encompasses the subjective perceptions that consumers haveregarding the businessenvironment.Normally, these aspects are communicated by thecompanies‟ branches‟ layouts,in theirproducts, through the design of the packages, and also by the use of music and scent cues. As Neisser (1976) points out, “[…] consumers gather sensory information from their environments so that they can navigate their way through them and make judgments and evaluations as they go along. Basically their multisensory input (touch, smell, hearing, taste, and sight) forms the basis for human cognition (as cited in Jansson-Boyd, 2011, p. 531).”This means the value proposition of a brand not only depends on the price of products, but also on the consumers‟feelingsregarding them. Humanity has evolved to a stage in which buying products isno longer just purchasing the physical thing that one needs, but is also purchasing the entire experience that relates to its subjective characteristics.Marketing researchers have noticed that business are changing their “product-to-consumer” strategies into humankind issues (Kotler, 2010). According to this thought, it is possible to argue that contemporary companies arenot just selling a product anymore,butare looking to sell experiences related to human values and emotional perceptions.To achieve this, businesses mustalways be rethinking or upgrading their strategies to create,or maintain, the brand‟s identity for the customer. “The concept of brand equity […] refers to the basic idea that a product's value to consumers, the trade and the firm is somehow enhanced when it is associated or identified over time with a set of unique elements that define the brand concept.” (Erdem et al. 2013, p. 302) Creating a brand concept requires effort from the company. There is no easy or inexpensive path to reach a fixed positioning in the consumer‟s mind. This is donethroughunconscious
  6. 6. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 6 communication strategies, includingthe logo‟s colors, the store‟s unique identifiable smells and sounds, the individual consumer‟sstore experience, the products‟ placements,and other specific strategies that represent the company‟s concept. Manipulating the senses “The crucial challenge for advertising, and all sponsored marketing communications about brands, is what consumers can be made to learn about the brand that transcends its transactional qualities.” (Alexomanolaki, Loveday & Bennett, 2013, p. 54) For each brand concept, companies must construct (or manipulate) different perceptionsin the consumer‟s mind.Normally, before deciding which type of strategies will be used, businessesconductPerception Research to identify how they are being perceived by the consumers according to their strategies. This is an important process since it will reveal meaningful information that is required to determine if these companies‟ ideas and strategies are on trackto achieve theirgoals. In this process, how conscious and unconscious sensations will beperceived from the moment that someone wakes up in the morning to the moment that money is exchanged for a productis considered. For that, Spangenberg et al. (1996) mention that the way the different aspects of the store‟s atmosphere combine will determine a customer‟s level of pleasure and excitement when in that store.Considering that different environments affects people‟s behavior, storesmust be perceived as places where the customers feel comfortable and, at same time, wants to buy. Because of this, business work together with architects, designers and advertisers to achieve the proper way of engaging the customers through the design of store‟s environment, which doesn‟t just take how a store looks into account. For a long time, vision dominated scientific research related to consumption. However, in the past 15 or so years there has been a gradual but steady interest in
  7. 7. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 7 how the other senses can impact upon aspects such as consumer decision-making, product evaluation, and attention.(Jansson-Boyd, 2011, p. 531) COLORS (SIGHT)–McDonalds, Burger King, KFC,Domino‟s Pizza, Wendy‟s.These companies,and others of the same type, for example, havea very specific conceptual characteristic in common: the color red. The colors red or yellow, whenin strong evidence on logos and in the infrastructure of branches, powerfully affect the subconsciousof the human brain, making people optimistic or excited toact (See image 1). As pointed out by Madden, Hewett & Roth (2013), marketers use colors as a means of creating, maintaining, or modifying brands in the customer‟s minds. Since vision is generally the first sense that is activatedwhen a person notices something, generally, the main objective for using colors in logos and in companies‟ branches is to simplifythe amount of information to consumers, so that they memorize important aspects of the brand‟s concept with minimal effort. MUSIC(SOUND)– As Baker et al. (2002) discovered, “As customers' perceptions of store music cues become more favorable, customers will perceive interpersonal service quality to be higher1 . […in addition] As 12 emphases added Image 1 –Psychology of Colors in Logo Design (2013). [Image]. Retrieved August08, 2013 fromhttp://thelogocompany.net/blog/
  8. 8. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 8 customers' perceptions of store music cues become more favorable, customers will perceive merchandise quality to be higher2 ” (p. 128). According to these assertions, sounds has great influence on customer‟s behavior. Music is commonly known as being the universal language which directlyaffects the emotions of people, influencing meaningful perceptions. For example, in fashion stores, depending on the type of store, pop music will be playing to connect the store to what is new, cool or beautiful.As discussed by Dolfsma (2013), “By consuming pop music, people want to express who they are, to which group they belong, what their identity is. […] Since the late 1950s and early 1960s pop music has become an important way for many people to distinguish themselves from others (Frith 1983, 1987a)” (p. 1020).Customers are influenced not only by the rhythm of the song, but by the entire relationship that they have with the artists, which then translates into their “favorite” products, services, which then makes the store become part of their identity.The use of sounds in marketing strategies aims to increase the rate of engagement between the customer, the products, the stores and the brand. TEXTURES (TOUCH)–The definition of “Touch”, by the Oxford Dictionaries (2013), is to “come into or be in contact with”. However, this experience is not only physical. As Jansson-Boyd (2013) pointed out: “´[…] when consumers experience a haptically pleasant product it triggers an emotional response that may be the factor that drives the evaluation of that particular product. Consequently, by making consumers feel emotionally connected to products they are ultimately making them feel closely connected to them, and this in turn increases likelihood of purchase and repeat purchase” (p. 532). Tactile strategies are commonly used for children. In a toy store, for example, a great number of products offer the possibility to experience them by touching a specificpart such as
  9. 9. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 9 button that will make the toy move or sing. Referencing Bushnell and Boudreau (1991) and Piaget, (1952), Jansson-Boyd (2013) says, “Infants and young children clearly use touch to explore and evaluate their surroundings, something that adults also do but to a lesser extent” (p. 532).This does not mean that touch strategies are less effective on adults. Generally, they are the buyers, which means that even if the strategy is directed to children, the main goal of it is to make the child complain until the parent buys it3 . SMELL & TASTE–Apart from announcing their products, the main objective of business to advertise themselves is to achieve positioning in the customer‟s mind. As pointed out by Marcel Proust, in 1913, in his “Proust Phenomenon” study, particular smells have the power of bringing back memories. The strongest and longest lasting memories are the scent ones.“[…] scents are processed in the limbic system of the brain, which is the center of emotions […] (Leukel 1976; Restak 1984) argue (as cited in Spangenberg et al., 1996, p. 69)”. Smell memories are some of the strongest memories that can transport people back to certain times and experiences. Because of this, brands, small and large, from food companies tocar companies, to clothing companies and others, artificially create a unique, identifiable smell to manipulate memory, relating the shop experience of the customers with their emotional references. For example, when the customer gets closer to a Burger King‟s kitchen, it is possible to smell that burgers are being “naturally” cooked. The scentis a complicated chemical formula that is commonly referred to the„Smell of burgers being grilled(Lindstrom, 2008)”When consumers smell these aromas, they are transported to, hopefully, positive memories of this franchise, which stimulates the desire to buy.Smells not only will make consumers rememberpositive memories, but will also increase their emotional relationship with the products. Conscious Consumption 3 For more information, watch The Corporation by Jennifer Abbot & Mark Achbar (2003).
  10. 10. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 10 To cite all the different strategies businesses use to persuade its customers would take years. However, it is possible to say that the ways to strategically stimulate people to act (buy) are extremely vast. Hence, beyond influencing impulsive consumption, Canter (1983) argues that“[…] the most important role of a space (in this case, the store) is its ability to facilitate the goals of its occupants (as cited in Baker et al., 2002, p. 122)”. “Buying” is nothing more than exchange money for a material that will satisfy a need. The role, then, of companies is to facilitate the customer‟s ability to find a specific product without effort, so that he feels “happy” about it and chooses to patronize that specific store again. There arestrong criticisms regarding how marketers usetools to “manipulate” customers‟behavior for the sake of unconscious consumption, which is, getting people to buy things that are not needed.However, what is forgotten by most customers is that conscious consumption can be achieved without effort.A simple explanation for this would be that acompany can only offer products and services that, through the power of advertising and store design, becomes desirable to a targeted audience, but still does notdeterminethe customer‟schoices. Being aware that there are strategies that businesses use to persuade people is the first step that leads to conscious consumerism.A store is nothing else but a place where “happiness” can be found in different types of products. These strategies are used not only to persuade a customer, but also to help him to make the best decision. Even if that decision is not the best for him.
  11. 11. CONSUMER DECISIONS: HOW STORE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT CUSTOMERS’ BEHAVIOR | 11 References Alexomanolaki, M., Loveday, C., & Kennett, C. (2013). Music and Memory in Advertising: Music as a Device of Implicit Learning and Recall Music and Memory in Advertising. Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, Volume 1(Issue 1), 51 - 71. Baker, J., Parasuraman, A., Grewal, D., & Voss, G. B. (2002). The Influence of Multiple Store Environment Cues On Perceived Merchandise Value And Patronage Intentions. Journal of Marketing, 66(2), 120-141. Erdem, T., Swait, J., Broniarczyk, S., Chakravarti, D., Kapferer, J., Keane, M., et al. (1999). Brand Equity, Consumer Learning and Choice. Marketing Letters,Volume 10(Issue 3), 301 - 318. Retrieved August 7, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40216541 Kimura A, Wada Y, Masuda T, Goto S-i, Tsuzuki D, et al. (2013) Memory Color Effect Induced by Familiarity of Brand Logos. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068474 Spangenberg, E., Crowley, A., & Henderson, P. (1996). Memory Color Effect Induced by Familiarity of Brand Logos. Journal of Marketing, Volume 60(Issue April), 67 - 81. Retrieved July 17, 2013, from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=9604100837&site=ehost -live&scope=site Süle, M. (2012). Can conscious consumption be learned? The role of Hungarian consumer protection education in becoming conscious consumers.International Journal of Consumer Studies, Volume 36(Issue 2), 211 - 220. Wierenga, B., & Bruggen, G. H. (2001). Developing A Customized Decision-Support System for Brand Managers.Interfaces, 31(3 - Supplement), 128-145. Jansson-Boyd, C. (2011). Touch matters: exploring the relationship between consumption and tactile interaction. Social Semiotics, Volume 21(Issue 4), 531 - 546. Dolfsma, W. (2013). The Consumption of Music and the Expression of VALUES: A Social Economic Explanation for the Advent of Pop Music. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc, 58(4), 1019 - 1046. Retrieved August 13, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3488019 Madden, T. J., Hewett, K., & Roth, M. S. (2000). Managing Images In Different Cultures: A Cross- National Study Of Color Meanings And Preferences. Journal of International Marketing, 8(4), 90-107.

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