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The mystery of consumer behaviour: market segmentation and shoppers’ choices of shopping centres PDF Print E-mail
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Prof. Charles Dennis


Shopping centers represent a substantial slice of the UK economy and have rightly attracted considerable research. Despite interest from academics and practitioners, little research attention has been paid to the market segmentation of shoppers. Proactive marketing management is a feature of only a minority of UK shopping centers. The marketing communications of most would appear to be aimed mainly at a homogenised consumer population, rather than attempting to target specific groups. This paper is based on an empirical investigation of six UK shopping centers, ranging in size from a small in-town sub-regional center to a large out-of-town regional center, the total number of respondents being 287. Earlier studies by the authors have described the ‘attractiveness’ and ‘distance’ aspects of shopping center choice. Here, they explore the differences in behaviour between shoppers and draw attention to differences between exemplar segments as to which attributes are critical in shopping center choice. The authors’ post hoc shopper classification based on a psychographic analysis is central to the findings. Two groups identified, ‘service’ vs. ‘shops’ importance motivation, were more effective than conventional a priori segmentation bases in modelling spending behaviour. Implications are drawn for center managements and researchers. The paper concludes with a suggestion for a greater degree of data sharing between shopping center owners and retail tenants. Introduction Despite attention given to shopping motivation, there has been little previous research into the differences in responses to shopping center marketing mixes from different segments of shoppers. This is surprising as ‘pro-active marketing’ has been demonstrated to be central to shopping center success (e.g. Capital Shopping Centers, 1996; Mintel, 1997). This paper explores the potential to apply market segmentation to shopping centers and to draw attention to the benefits sharing customer preferences data between shopping center owners and their tenant retailers. The empirical work concerns case studies of six UK shopping centers, listed in Table 1.

Keywords: Shopping centres, Shopping centers, Marketing, Segmentation, Shopper classifications, Shopper types, Customer data sharing

Citation: International Journal of New Product Development and Innovation Management, (2001) 3 (3): 221-237