The Indian retail industry is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors in the world. Visual merchandising performs a key role in enticing the customers in the retail store, thereby. helps in increasing the sales of the store and to succeed in the competitive marketplace. Impulse buying is an important factor in visual merchandising. It arouses the consumers’ desire to buy the product which has been presented in an exciting & impressive manner.
In this investigation, the impact of visual merchandising on the impulse buying behavior of consumers is studied in the Coimbatore region, Tamil Nadu, India, and the results are interpreted statistically to understand the significance of various factors affecting the attitude of the customers in buying. The results of this work suggest that all the elements of visual merchandising – window displays, store interior, mannequin display, and signage have a positive impact on impulse buying according to the perceptions of the people in the Coimbatore region, Tamil Nadu, India. Among all the four elements, store interior has the highest positive impact on impulse buying behavior.
CUSTOMER BUYING PROCESS
Visual merchandising has a great role by converting passersby to spenders and ultimately converting them to loyal customers. According to the customer stickiness progression, model loyal shoppers will become spenders who contribute more to the profit of the organization [Soundariya S., Sathyan S, 2015]. Stopping Power – If displays are built full of familiar items, the chances are that the customers will not stop and have a look. The familiar products must be displayed with the unfamiliar, not only will they stop and look, the chances are they are more likely to purchase the familiar items.[ Jain Vinamra, Sharma Ashok, Narwal Pradeep, January 2012].
Consumer behavior can be defined as the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impact that these processes have on the consumer and society. Consumer behavior also includes the consumers’ expressive, psychological and social responses that lead, establish or follow these responses [Yolande Hefer & Michael.C.Cant, 2013]. A typical consumer behavior model is depicted in Figure 1.
Sources: Adapted from Kardes, F. R., Cline, T. W. & Cronley, M. L. (2011). Consumer Behaviour: Science And Practice. China: South-Western, p.8.
The figure indicates that consumer behavior consists of consumer activities and consumer responses, that both influence each other. Therefore, a consumer’s expressive, psychological and social responses will have an influence on their buying, using, and disposing activities, and vice versa. An expressive response reveals a consumer’s passions, feelings, and frame of mind. The psychological responses consist of a consumer’s thought processes, judgments, attitudes, and values and could include a consumer’s feeling toward a specific apparel retail store [Yolande Hefer & Michael.C.Cant, 2013].
Impulse buying refers to unplanned, sudden buying behavior, which is often accompanied by a feeling of excitement and pleasure and/or a powerful urge to buy [Gudonaviciene Rasa & Alijosiene Sonata, 2015]. “All impulse buying is at least unplanned, but all unplanned purchases are not necessarily decided impulsively.” [Laurent Hubrechts & Beyhan kokturk, 2012]. Surveys have shown that impulse buying makes up 27-62 percent of the total buying at shopping centers [Gudonaviciene Rasa & Alijosiene Sonata, 2015]. Impulse buying is subdivided into four categories :
- Pure impulsive buying – Refers to a purchase that cannot be categorized in the planned purchasing at all. This is a purely spontaneous way to buy is strongly linked to emotional factors.
- Suggestion impulsive buying – Which is a need triggered by the encountering of a new product for the first time, that can only be fulfilled by getting it.
- Reminder impulsive buying – e. an item that remembers the consumer he/she needs it as soon as he/she sees it. Unlike suggestion impulsive buying, the consumer has knowledge about the product when it comes to reminder impulsive buying, but it is still considered as an impulse purchase.
- Planned impulsive buying – This paradoxical category can be explained by the fact that when the impulsive buyer goes into a store with the intention to buy a specific item. e.g. clothes, but the choice about the specific item, brand, size, and the price hasn’t been decided before. The purchasing decision is made at the point of sale.
This last category can be seen as the boundary between planned and unplanned buying [Laurent Hubrechts & Beyhan kokturk, 2012]. The purchasing process starts with need recognition – the buyer recognizes a need. This recognized need can be triggered by internal or external stimuli. Once the need is identified, the consumer will start seeking information. At this level, the consumer will process the information and may take the buying process to the next level, which is the purchase decision. Finally, he will assess his satisfaction or dissatisfaction toward the purchased product. This final step is crucial for the store because a satisfied customer may develop loyalty towards the store where he bought the item. The process will start over, as the consumer needs another product [Laurent Hubrechts & Beyhan kokturk, 2012].
No systematic study is reported on the impact of visual merchandising on the impulse buying behavior of consumers in the Coimbatore region in India. Thus, we thought it worthwhile to investigate the impact of visual merchandising on impulse buying behavior of consumers in the Coimbatore region in India, the relationship between the impulse buying behavior (Dependent variable) and each of the four visual merchandising techniques i.e. window displays, store interior, mannequin display and signage (Independent Variables) and the factor among the four techniques greatly influences the consumers impulse buying behavior.
The nature of the research approach chosen was explanatory since this method is used to determine the effect that a variable has on another (cause and effect relationship). The method included a survey containing close-ended questions since it allows the respondent to choose from among a given set of responses and the results obtained will be easier to analyze.
Questions were developed and adopted from the literature review. The questionnaire is made up of six major categories. The first category consisted of questions to determine the respondents’ demographic profile, such as name, age, gender, occupation, and income.
The second category contains six questions that measure the customers’ impulse buying tendencies.
The other four categories similarly have six questions each which determine the customers’ buying behavior towards the four visual merchandising practices such as window display, store interior, mannequin display, and signage.
The survey was administered using a structured questionnaire among 100 people in Fun Republic Mall, Coimbatore, and in Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam. Out of the 100 respondents, 42 were male and 58 were female in the age group of 18 to 30. Respondents were asked to select the choice that best characterized their answer. A five-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree =1 to strongly agree = 5 was used to measure each variable.
To study the impact of visual merchandising on buying behavior of consumers, the dependent variable consumer is young consumer’s impulse buying tendency and the independent variables of the study are the techniques of visual merchandising. The independent variables of the study are window displays, store interior, mannequin display, and signage. Those four types of visual merchandising will influence young consumers’ impulse buying behavior [Sahni Deepak, Jain Vipul, Jain Arvind, 2014].
The SYSTAT software package was used to analyze data collected from the survey. Principal component analysis, Factor analysis, Reliability test, Pearson Correlation coefficient, and Regression analysis were carried out.
Following research hypotheses were developed from the dimensions found in the literature review of visual merchandising.
- H1: The window display influences the customers to engage in impulse buying.
- H2: Store interior influences the customers to engage in impulse buying.
- H3: Mannequin display influences the customers to engage in impulse buying.
- H4: Signage influences the customers to engage in impulse buying.
Their relation in terms of visual merchandising in terms of impulse buying behavior is to be found out. The dependent variable of the study is impulse buying and independent variables are window display, store interior, mannequin display, and signage. These variables have individual constructs which are tested on a five-point Likert scale which ranged from strongly disagree = 1 to Strongly agree = 5.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
The outline for analysis is as follows: First, descriptive statistics are generated. Then, Principal Component Analysis for data reduction and reliability tests are conducted. The Pearson Correlation test is conducted to check the correlations between impulse buying tendency and each of the four types of visual merchandising practices. Finally, Linear Regression Analysis is conducted for hypothesis testing to find out the relationships between impulse buying tendency and each of the four types of visual merchandising practices.
The questionnaire for the work has been tested with a reliability statistical test and is shown in Table 1. Statistically, the values of Cronbach Alpha which is more than 0.5 are considered reliable. So the questionnaire is very reliable with a value of 0.834.
Table 1 – Reliability Test
|Cronbach’s Alpha||N of Items|
Factor analysis is a data reduction technique for identifying the internal structure of a set of variables. Eigenvalues measure the amount of the variation explained by each principal component (PC). The component matrix is shown in Table 2 and the factorized matrix is indicated in Table 3.
Table 2 Component Matrix
|1.||I often buy things without thinking||.248||.272||.515||.095||.163||.007||-.074||-.476||-.019||-.164||.012|
|2.||I tend to purchase unintended products while trying to find a specific product||.331||.119||.534||.190||.074||.369||.024||-.198||.096||-.028||.025|
|3||I feel a sense of excitement when I make an impulse purchase||-.007||-.254||.574||.156||-.058||.073||.334||.048||.107||-.105||.064|
|4||After I make an impulse purchase I feel regret||.428||-.206||-.001||.312||-.025||.078||-.524||-.097||-.110||-.170||.122|
|5||I have difficulty controlling my urge to buy when I see a good offer||.374||-.277||.275||.137||.019||-.192||.074||.443||-.222||.076||.099|
|6||when I see a good deal, I tend to buy more than I intended to buy||.318||-.369||.264||-.187||.182||.151||.343||.182||-.265||.105||.266|
|7||While browsing the store I tend to purchase products displayed in eye-catching displays||.463||.336||-.060||.230||.161||-.316||-.327||.321||-.005||.027||-.055|
|8||Window display attracts me to a brand or product I hadn’t previously considered purchasing before entering a store||-.280||.502||.348||-.026||-.089||.045||-.152||.154||-.046||-.328||.298|
|9||The window display is the most influencing feature driving me into the store||.321||.526||.122||.169||-.152||.313||.163||.078||-.094||-.112||-.079|
|10||I tend to choose which store to shop in depending on eye-catching window displays||.429||.573||-.225||.050||-.052||-.006||.095||.252||-.075||-.160||.072|
|11||I choose to enter a store because of the attractive window display||.421||.524||.017||.177||-.186||.171||.014||.095||.046||.063||.299|
|12||If the item I like appears in the window display, my desire of buying it will be stimulated||-.231||.525||-.198||-.086||.186||.054||-.041||.183||-.035||-.232||-.453|
|13||I tend to buy products displayed at or near the checkout desks||.115||.178||.142||-.236||.584||.151||-.196||.194||.189||.400||.125|
|14||I tend to buy products displayed on shelves on sight||.449||-.068||.288||-.173||.264||.013||.061||-.126||.575||.003||-.061|
|15||I choose to shop in an outlet with a good layout, moving/browsing space & ambiance||.076||.112||-.387||.456||.315||.443||-.026||.107||.123||.144||.069|
|16||In-store lighting, music, and scent enhances my shopping experience||.464||-.516||.050||.322||.166||-.157||-.118||-.045||.251||.037||-.060|
|17||In-store merchandise and mannequin display promotes impulse buying||.484||.044||-.496||.024||.120||.297||.388||-.024||-.027||.061||-.096|
|18||In-store communication elements like banners, graphics enhance merchandise display & affect the customer purchase decision||.482||-.321||-.040||-.286||.156||.121||.136||-.410||-.249||.034||-.011|
|19||Mannequin display helps me compare products I am considering buying||.372||-.023||-.457||-.360||-.043||-.032||.058||.020||.313||.020||.250|
|20||I get an idea of what I want to buy after looking through the mannequin display||.465||-.065||.048||.226||.189||-.524||.219||.071||-.174||.209||.059|
|21||Mannequin display helps to know about the current fashion trend & influences my purchase decision||.385||-.264||-.198||.447||.086||-.191||.249||-.312||-.107||-.059||-.126|
|22||Mannequins are very visual & help consumers help visualize how the clothing will look on||.228||-.192||-.106||.132||-.494||-.167||.207||-.168||.396||.103||.245|
|23||I get attracted to mannequins that are in different poses and styles||.452||.249||.035||.138||-.458||-.030||-.129||-.012||.047||.093||-.262|
|24||I tend to buy the clothing as well as the accessories that are worn by the mannequin||.292||.498||.394||-.084||-.030||-.306||.269||-.026||.124||.030||.041|
|25||I am more likely to buy an unintended product that is on discounts & offers||.480||.302||.209||-.223||.115||-.153||.014||-.234||-.197||.210||-.295|
|26||I tend to stop and browse products with promotional offers||.497||-.184||-.106||-.184||-.045||.067||-.413||-.284||-.222||.008||.319|
|27||Products with promotional signs such as offers, discounts are the most noticed ones inside a store||.522||.063||-.351||-.226||-.149||-.255||-.211||-.135||-.035||.346||.087|
|28||Exterior store signage, graphics & promotional offerings compel me to enter a store||.748||-.007||-.155||-.155||-.025||.080||-.245||.084||.088||-.020||-.195|
|29||Signage increases my awareness towards highlighted products & helps me in purchasing decisions||.400||.056||.044||-.344||-.367||.267||.075||.122||-.237||.157||-.072|
|30||The more information I have got about a product, the more likely I will buy it||.260||.072||-.091||-.454||.127||-.195||.053||.129||.150||-.579||-.007|
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
a. 11 components extracted.
Table 3: Factorised Matrix
Exterior store signage, graphics & promotional offerings compel me to enter a store
|Products with promotional signs such as offers, discounts are the most noticed ones inside a store||0.522|
|WINDOW DISPLAY :
I tend to choose which store to shop in depending on eye-catching window displays
|The window display is the most influencing feature driving me into the store||0.526|
|I choose to enter a store because of the attractive window display||0.524|
|If the item I like appears in the window display, my desire of buying it will be stimulated||0.525|
|Window display attracts me to a brand or product I hadn’t previously considered purchasing before entering a store||0.502|
|IMPULSE BUYING :
I tend to purchase unintended products while trying to find a specific product
|I often buy things without thinking||0.515|
|I feel a sense of excitement when I make an impulse purchase||0.574|
Factor 1 is named as “Signage”
Factor 2 is named “Window Display”
Factor 3 is named “Impulse Buying”
As the dependent variable ( Impulse buying ) should not be considered in factor analysis, it is excluded from the result.