After reading the chapter, you can see that differences in retailing are the result of strategy. To better understand the relationship between strategic retailing factors and consumer perceptions, you can conduct a simple observation exercise. First, pick a product to shop for, and then identify two stores where you have never shopped as places to look for your product. The two stores must be different types of retailers. For example, you can shop for a new HDTV at Best Buy (category killer) and at Hollywood Video (specialty retailer). Once you have identified what you are looking for and where you’re going to look, visit each store and record your observations of specific strategic retailing factors.46 Activities 1. Go through each store and make careful observations of the following: • Location: Where is each store? How congested is the area of town where each store is located? What influence does the neighborhood have on your impression of the store? Would you travel to this store under normal circumstances? Write a detailed paragraph on the location of each store. • Exterior atmosphere: Is there parking? If so, is it convenient? Is it adequate? Observe other parking issues (cleanliness and size of the lot, size of spaces, well-lit, etc.). What kinds of stores are around the store you are visiting? Do you think being located next to them increases traffic at your store? Are direct competitors nearby? Is the building modern or historic? Is it attractive, clean, and appealing? Is the entrance inviting to shoppers? • Interior atmosphere: Compare the following attributes at each store: aisle width; lighting; number of customers; noise (background music, loudspeakers, etc.); store layout; signage; accessibility of the cashier; number of products available (depth and width of assortment); ability to inspect the product before purchase; quality of the fixtures (shelves, lights, etc.); availability of salespeople and their knowledge about the product; willingness of salespeople to help. • Product: Is your product available? If not, is there a satisfactory substitute? What is your perception of the quality of goods offered? Why do you think as you do? • Price: What is the price of the product/brand at this store? Is the price prominently marked? How do the prices at the two stores compare? How does the price compare to your expectations? 2. From which of these two stores would you actually purchase the item? Why, specifically? List the factors that played a role in your decision. Which factor is most important to you? If you would not purchase the item at either store, why not? 3. What are the three most important differences you observed between the stores? 4. Using the results of your research, write a short paper that outlines your observations. Conclude your paper with your answers to questions 2 and 3.
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