Ambience : Is Ambience in Swedish Clothing Retail Stores a Missed Opportunity?
Background: Nowadays, customers tend to take product quality and positive brand image for granted, which makes the formation of a new marketing strategy even more vital. In an age characterized by information overload and lack of time, factors such as emotional, cognitive or symbolic values become increasingly valuable in marketing.In contrast to American retail clothing stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, who to a large extent use ambience as a strategic approach, the authors have not experienced as strong ambience strategies among Swedish retail stores.Therefore, the authors want to investigate if Swedish retailers make use of ambience as a strategic marketing approach and how the ambience is perceived by the consumers.
Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to explore if and how ambience (lighting, fragrance and music) is used as a strategic marketing approach by retailers in Sweden and how the ambience is perceived by the consumers. In addition the authors will examine if the consumers’ perception of the current ambience is reflected in their in-store behaviour (willingness to browse and willingness to buy).
Method: In order to fulfil the purpose, a mixed method of explanatory and descriptive design was chosen, by collecting quantitative data in the form of a survey and qualitative data through interviews. The questionnaire consisted of 91 respondents from JC, Carlings and Dressmann. Interviews with store-managers from JC, Carlings and Dressmann were also conducted in order to reflect if and how the current ambience is used as a marketing approach.
Conclusion: Swedish retail stores use the ambience merely as a means for creating a pleasant store environment. The perceived atmosphere varies for different customers. The three ambient factors, lighting, music and fragrance, differed in level of importance for the three chosen stores. One conclusion drawn from this is that the age-group plays an important role in how the ambience is perceived. The results show that there is a positive relationship between the consumers’ perception of the ambience, their feelings and in-store behaviour; within all three stores. This indicates that if the positive feelings increase in intensity, so will the consumers’ willingness to browse and their willingness to buy from the store. As a conclusion, Swedish retails should consciously use ambience as a strategic marketing approach to intentionally affect the consumers’ willingness to browse and buy.
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