Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Ann E. Fairhurst, Daniel Flint

Committee Members

Sarah Gardial, Rodney Runyan, Wanda Costen

Abstract

This dissertation is exploratory, examining a little studied part of retail, the shopper. Shoppers are defined as: actively engaged in the pursuit of a target purchase driven by a specific need requiring a solution. The objectives of this research are to clarify the differences between consumers and shoppers, justifying the need for further study. This research also seeks to develop a values based framework of shopper behavior in order to facilitate future research. An extensive review of the literature provides a foundation for the differences between shoppers and consumers. The theory of reasoned action provides the foundation for the shopper value framework. The literature provides theoretical support for a framework which supports empirical measurement of shopper behavior identifying and measuring their differences from consumers and demonstrating their unique engagement with the retail economy.

In order to examine the shopper, two studies are undertaken. The first seeks to add to the understanding of what shopper’s value through qualitative research using value laddering. The second study employs an on-line survey with an experimental design using salty snacks purchasing as the context. The second study tests the shopper value framework for applicability in studying the shopper, and the salience of several proposed moderators.

The research demonstrates that shoppers utilize a limited number of values which support their decision making process. These values come in two forms primary and secondary. Their interaction is explored in some detail. The study also finds that the shopper value framework can be an effective tool in describing and demonstrating how occasion specific factors, along with importance and social factors, can combine to influence shopper outcomes. Together both studies provide a foundation for understanding the world of the shopper. This foundation generates several managerial and academic implications, limitations, as well as many areas for future research of the shopper.

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