The following report encompasses four main parts, i.e. a literature review developing theories on the selected topic, a research methodology helping in the selection of the most accurate research method, findings following from the primary research and a discussion confronting the literature review and the findings. To start with, the literature review investigates the recent increase of the food discounter's format and tends to give a comparison with the supermarkets one, leaders of the food industry. This section mainly tackles the food retailer strategies and the competitive advantages they try to cultivate, notably the store loyalty. Thus, this part brings to light the relationships between the store loyalty and the store perception, via the example of the store environment as factor of negative or positive perception. This part finished on the highlighting of an opportunity to create store loyalty via a better store perception for food discounters. Then, the research methodology aims to determine the most accurate research design, method and technique in order to carry out properly a marketing survey. This theoretical framework shows the qualitative approach as the most suitable because of the nature of the needed information, i.e. the observation of behaviors, attitudes and habits of customers, especially in food discount stores and supermarkets. The selected approach is more precisely a mystery shopping with a questionnaire on the store environment in two food retailers: a supermarket (Asda) and a food discounter (Aldi). To continue, the findings are the results from the primary research in the form of marks, that is to say from the mystery shopping. The findings are accompanied by an analysis following from the results underlining the main similarities and differences between both food retailers in term of store environment and impact on the behaviors and attitudes of customers. This latter is mainly based on the store interior of both food retailers through the layout, the atmosphere or the merchandising principles and tends to deliver a critical picture of the differences in the elaboration and the potential impacts on the buying decision process and then the store loyalty of customers.
[...] Nevertheless, food discounters demonstrate clever ideas in term of store environment, most of the time in a save time logic but leading to convenient shopping experiences. For instance, the management of the queue, the rapidity of checkout assistants and the elaborated checkouts permit to save time not only for the discounters but also for the consumers (Cf. Appendix II-3-6). This saving time permits to create store loyalty, especially toward emerging consumers looking for convenient solutions and products just in time (Newman & Cullen: 2002). [...]
[...] The selected methodology To synthesize, the aim of the study lies in the definition of how food discounters' environment suffer from bad perception compared to the one of supermarkets and how store environments influence feelings and the wish to come back for shopping. To answer, the study will use a qualitative approach establishing a diagnostic of food discounters' perceptions and to study behavioural patterns generating by the store environment. To achieve these objectives, the study will use a quantitative tool even if this point is debated: observational data method, well structured, direct, disguised and human to answer to the necessity to simply observe and record data. [...]
[...] The competitors able to fight hard discounters are the supermarkets selling brands, large assortments and providing pleasure in shopping (Corstjens & Corstjens: 1995). The discounter strategy seems inefficient in the UK where supermarkets account for of market share (Datamonitor: March 2005). Indeed, “between 1996 and 2003, the only two markets where discounter shares have declined are Great Britain and Italy” with of market shares in the UK (Datamonitor: March 2005). According to IGD (2005) of supermarket consumers shop in the same store, against only 18% for food discounters. [...]
[...] To carry out this part, the plan follows the literature review's one, that is to say firstly a global vision via definitions, then the link between store environment and store perception and to finish the opportunity of the store environment management for food discounters. Is there any differences between the theory and the reality in terms of general and basic aspects of supermarkets and food discount stores? A. Confrontation with global definitions To start with some definitions, the concept of supermarkets has really evolved these last years, i.e. [...]
[...] A strategy to influence the buying making decision: the store environment, through examples of supermarkets and food discount stores' strategies: Retailers influence and affect emotions and behaviours of consumers to keep and make them buy more, via e.g. the store environment (Gilboa & Rafaeli: 2003). A part of the making decision process begins before the entry in the store via the exterior atmosphere conveying the positioning and attracting consumers (Cox & Brittain: 2004). Retailers play on exterior through car parking and promotional windows create an image to potential customers standing outside” (Hasty & Reardon: 1997: 36). [...]
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