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Marketing images and consumers' experiences in selling environments PDF Print E-mail
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By Prof. Charles Dennis


In a well-functioning market, consumers exert choices not just in purchases of products but also in selections of locations to enjoy shopping. Scholarly research has demonstrated that retail atmospheres impact on shoppers’ pleasurable shopping experiences. Demonstrating the marketing concept in action, shoppers consistently respond to this empowerment by for example, spending more time shopping and spending more money in retail facilities that are perceived to offer a pleasanter atmosphere and experience. This research pivots round an in-depth qualitative study that evaluated the impact of a plasma screens and specific informational content on shopping centre user behaviour. A phenomenological study of the effects of the medium, and the way in which these systems influence behaviour, permitted a far deeper investigation of our sample group vis-àvis increased browsing time and the propensity to spend. A series of eight focus discussions were conducted with local user groups of varying age and gender. Key themes drawn from the group discussions using axial coding indicated that the influence created by the images varied with subjects and settings. The general consensus was that such ‘screens’ created a certain ambience that influenced the way our subjects felt about the selling environment under study. Moreover, for our sample groups, there was clearly a link between the screened images and modern expectations of a selling environment. The plasma screens provided added enjoyment to shoppers’ experiences, providing them with more information enabling more informed shopping choices. The research concludes with implications for strategic marketing, theory and practice.

Keywords: marketing strategy, consumer empowerment, consumer moods, atmospherics, inanimate environment, shopping malls, shopping centres, shopping centers image, digital signage, captive audience networks, plasma screen media, atmospheric stimulus

Citation: Marketing Management Journal (2006) Fall: 515-599