Today's Apparel Retail Purchase Environment: A Comparison of Retail Associates' Perceptions with Consumers' Attitudes and Opinions

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Title: Today's Apparel Retail Purchase Environment: A Comparison of Retail Associates' Perceptions with Consumers' Attitudes and Opinions
Author: Huffman, Megan Michelle
Advisors: Dr. Nancy Cassill, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Michelle Jones, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. George Hodge, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of the research is to determine the level of disconnect between retail associates and consumers through a comparison of perceptions, attitudes, and opinions of evaluative criteria within the apparel retail purchase environment. Specifically, the research examines the influence of store displays, retail associate product knowledge, retailer return policies, and product attributes on consumers' purchase decision process as described by the research framework, the Consumer Decision Process by Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel (2001). The study provides marketing implications to retailers allowing them to a) adapt marketing mixes and tailor competitive strategies to retain their current target market and b) to better shape training programs in order for retail associates to more accurately meet the needs and demands of consumers, thus leading to a higher level of satisfaction and loyalty. A two-phase methodology is used to collect qualitative perceptions from forty retail associates followed by the collection of quantitative attitudes and opinions of 800 consumers in three different retail channels, department, national chain, and specialty. Data was analyzed using analysis of variance, chi-square analysis, and paired t-tests. Results from the two phases were compared in order to determine similarities and/or differences between retail associates and consumers, as well as to validate or refute previous literature. Similarities in opinions were found in the influence of return policies on consumers' purchase decisions. Whereas, differences in opinions were found in the influence of store displays, retail associate product knowledge and importance of product attributes when making a purchase decision.
Date: 2006-04-24
Degree: MS
Discipline: Textile Management and Technology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1802


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