“Store Disorderliness Effect: Shoppers’ Competitive Behaviors in a Fast-Fashion Retail Store”
by Merve Coşkun
University of Illinois
Several factors like product assortment, pricing tactics and promotional activities influence shopper decisions in a retail store. Beyond general marketing related factors, store atmospheric cues also have critical importance to impact customer perceptions, experiences and purchase decisions. Atmospherics, or the retail store environment refer to both tangible and intangible aspects of a retail store design and can alter the customer experience. When a customer enters a store, she/he first and mostly pays attention to shelves, merchandise, store layout and human crowding. So the visual complexity and clutter derived from disorganized store layout, high human and spatial crowding can influence shoppers’ cognitive and affective responses. The purpose of this research is to understand the effect of human crowding and store messiness as dimensions of store disorderliness on shoppers’ competitive behaviors as in-store hoarding and in-store hiding through perceived scarcity and perceived competition. Experimental design was adopted to manipulate the store messiness and human crowding within a shopping scenario. Results suggest when there is high crowding and messiness in a retail store, shoppers perceive scarcity in the environment and also feel competition among themselves and other customers. These perceptions influence shoppers’ competitive behaviors in the store. Results suggest a direct effect of human crowding on in-store hoarding and direct effect of store messiness on in-store hiding.