Store image and customer satisfaction
Store image as a concept has been considered as one of the most important variables and determinants in the development of retail strategy and economic success in retailing, while customer satisfaction has been recognised as a major success factor in keeping and augmenting the clientele base. Thus, in mature and highly competitive industries such as retailing, it becomes increasingly important to understand the dynamic structure of store image by studying forces or influences contributing to store image formation so that a more effective image creation and strategy can be articulated. This research was designed to investigate the store image in food retailing based on impression and satisfaction components. The sector under empirical investigation is the food retail sector in Greece where important structural changes occurred in the 1990's due to the entrance of foreign retailers in the Greek retail market. The study focused on Thessaloniki area where the local retail groups have a dominant position in the market and that makes competition stiffer and distinguishable from other major cities in Greece. The purpose of this dissertation research was to explore and conceptualize the relationship between store image and consumer satisfaction. The first objective was to identify consumer market segments by using four stage profile cluster analysis, and the second objective is to propose and test a theoretical model of store image formation by employing structural equation modeling. Research methodology integrated qualitative and quantitative research leading to a survey based methodology. The research established dimensions of store image identifying consumer segments link to store image, satisfaction and loyalty. The findings indicated that were significant differences in consumers' behaviour based on the impression and satisfaction components of store image. The results of testing the model as well as the interpretation of the model in this study support the assertion that store image is created by impression, while satisfaction directly affected by the store image and the likelihood of recommendation of a particular store is determined by satisfaction. The results also provide evidence for the store attributes that significantly influence store image and satisfaction in food retailing. In summary, this study contributes to the theoretical advancement of store image formation in the field of food retailing. It also contributes to consumer behaviour and marketing by providing a structural model by which a simultaneous empirical treatment of the elements influencing image was investigated. The results of this study provide important implications for retail marketing managers and can aid in designing and retail strategies to improve store image and develop customer satisfaction.