Innovative Marketing (Sep 2021)

Tackling the ‘death’ of brick-and-mortar clothing retailers through store atmospherics and customer experience

  • Etuhole Angula,
  • Valencia Melissa Zulu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 17, no. 3
pp. 157 – 168


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The threat of online shopping propels brick-and-mortar retailers to innovate and design their retail atmosphere to create unforgettable shopping experiences to compete effectively and retain customers. The study firstly identifies store atmospherics factors that enhance the shopping experience and secondly explores the hypothesized relationships between store atmospherics dimensions (lighting, music, layout, and employee interaction) and customer experience. Furthermore, the effect of customer experience and repurchase intention is also explored. A self-administered survey was used, and data were collected from 390 respondents who visit physical clothing stores regularly in the City of Johannesburg in South Africa. The survey results were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for descriptive statistics. Covariance-Based Structural Equation Modelling (CB-SEM) was utilized for the path analysis. The findings reveal that only store layout, lighting, and employee interaction are essential elements in creating pleasurable customer in-store experiences (β = 0.163, p = 0.05; β = 0.207, p = 0.01; β = 0.293, p = 0.001). It is also evident that consumers perceive music to be less effective in enhancing their shopping experiences (β = 0.048, p = ns). Moreover, the results show that enriching customer experiences stimulate repeat purchases (β = 0.745, p = 0.001). The findings demonstrate that innovating the store environment should be based on shop layout, illumination, and employee contact to create appealing experiences. This study contributes to consumer and retailing services literature. Acknowledgment This study is based on the research supported partly by the University of the Witwatersrand Chancellor’s Female Academic Leaders Fellowship.