Measurement and Analysis of Emotional States towards a Fashion Retail Multi-channel Environment

Helen Mccormick, Delia Vazquez

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Fashion retailing has evolved, and many retail organisations are now multi-channelestablishments; retailing via several channels. There is a lack of empirical research and a needfor theoretical based frameworks on the effect of multi-channel retailing on environmentdesign, and the emotional effects this has on consumers. Furthermore, if the characteristicsused by the consumers to form an image of the retail store can be transferred consistentlyacross channels, the retail brand identity will be strengthened. It was Kotler (1973) who firstproposed that atmospherics within a retail environment have emotional effects on consumersthat affect shopping behaviour. Pleasure and arousal are significant emotional mediatorsbetween environmental stimuli and consumer responses (Mehrabian and Russell, 1974).Donovan and Rossiter (1982) considered pleasure and arousal in context of the storeatmosphere, to understand the significant and measurable effect of the retail environment onconsumers shopping behaviours’. The main aim of the present study is to test and measurerespondents’ pleasure and arousal states in response to the environment design of a multichannelfashion retailer, comparing the physical and the online store; in order to identify gapsin emotional responses to the retailer. A questionnaire was completed by a sample of 120undergraduate students. Three environmental stimuli areas were identified from retailliterature as regards to Multi-channel Retail Environment Design; environment, experienceand visual identity communication design factors. Donovan and Rossiter (1982) S-O-Rframework is used to measure the respondents pleasure and arousal states towards theenvironment stimuli of a multi-channel retailer; comparing the emotional states experiencedin the physical and online store. Statistical analysis which included reliability tests, t-tests andfactor analysis assessed the respondent’s emotional responses to the environment design.Three new sub-factors were identified; “enjoyment” consisting of pleasure variables,exceeding customers’ perceptions, and two arousal states, “invigorate” which is a directexperience and an emotional effect that engages and energises the consumer, and “activate”which render a response to stimuli; engaging and absorbing the consumer. The results of thisstudy have established that there are in fact distinct segments within arousal states in relationto a fashion multi-channel retail environment. The results also showed that eachpleasure/arousal state variable for the physical store has a higher emotional effect than theonline store pleasure/arousal states. This finding proposes that the environments of multichannelretailers do not provide the same emotional effects to the consumers, which isnecessary to achieve a synthesised visual identity for a multi-channel retailer, creating astrong retail brand image. Thus attitudes and behaviour towards the different channels maybecome fragmented through inconsistent experiences and apposing images formed. The paperconcludes by offering some directions for multi-channel fashion retail design to maintainconsistency across both channels, in order to reinforce the retail brand image. A model hasbeen developed depicting the emotional states towards a multi-channel retailer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2008
    Event15th International Conference on Recent Advances in Retailing and Services Science - Zagreb, Croatia
    Duration: 14 Jul 200817 Jul 2008


    Conference15th International Conference on Recent Advances in Retailing and Services Science


    • Multi-channel retailing, design, pleasure and arousal


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