🛒In-store Consumer Behavior: What Shapes Store Purchases Decision🤔

🛒In-store Consumer Behavior: What Shapes Store Purchases Decision🤔

Some consumers are found to visit a store to buy a particular brand of product but end up purchasing a different brand that they did not plan to buy.

Why do consumers do this? The in-store environment may be the simple answer for such a deviation in their behavior.

Nature of In-Store Buying Behavior

Some of the in-store variables responsible for deviations in consumer behavior are;

  1. store layout and traffic patterns,
  2. store atmosphere,
  3. point-of-purchase displays (POP),
  4. product shelving,
  5. pricing strategies of the store,
  6. stockouts,
  7. sales personnel,
  8. packaging.

The layout of the store is one store-related variable that may influence a consumer’s store selection and purchase behavior. If the products in a store are more visible, it may influence a consumer’s store selection and purchase decision.

The layout of the store has a major influence on the traffic flow through the store. If the traffic flow of a store can create a positive mood, a consumer will be more willing to buy from that store because the consumer will perceive the environment positively.

The atmosphere of the store is another in-store variable influencing consumers’ store selection.

The atmosphere of a store is influenced by factors such as lighting, presentation of merchandise, fixtures, floor coverings, colors, sounds, odors, dress and behavior of salespeople, and the characteristics and behavior of other customers visiting the store.

These factors may positively impact consumers, causing them to purchase from a particular store or buy a particular product.

Point-of-purchase displays play an important role in consumers’ store selection and purchasing behavior. Point-of-purchase displays are used to attract and influence shoppers.

For example, a lady may decide to buy a particular “sharee” (traditional Indian garment) being influenced by its display instead of the one she planned to buy.

The placement of a product may also have an impact on attracting consumers. Products that cover a wider shelf space draw more attention.

Moreover, products that are kept on shelves at eye level for people of average height draw more attention and, as a result, influence consumer purchase behavior.

Pricing strategies of stores are another in-store variable influencing store selection and purchase behavior.

Special price offers and promotional deals attract a group of customers to the store. In-store price cuts and special price inducements such as coupons, discounts, and gifts may make a buyer decide to buy from a particular store or buy a particular product.

Suppose a consumer cannot find their preferred brand in a preferred store. In that case, they may decide to switch to another brand or store, delay the purchase, or, in extreme cases, postpone the purchase temporarily or permanently.

The characteristics of salespersons may also affect the in-store purchase behavior of consumers. An aggressive and convincing salesperson may even sell to someone with a negative attitude toward a particular product.

A knowledgeable and smart salesperson can provide the required information to consumers that may make them inclined toward the store or the products sold in that particular store.

Packaging is another in-store variable influencing consumer behavior. Packaging provides convenience, conveys a status symbol, and aids in sales promotion.

Packaging can sometimes substitute for a salesperson. Some consumers only buy a particular brand because of its attractive and outstanding package. Thus, an attractive package may influence customers visiting a store and performing the sales task.

Factors Determining Store Selection

The next important thing a marketer should know is the factors that determine the store selection of consumers. Consumers select stores using certain evaluative criteria. A consumer undergoes the same process of in-store selection that he undergoes in evaluating alternative brands in a product class.

A consumer generally uses the following evaluative criteria for in-store selection. One of such criteria is store attributes or characteristics; the other is consumer characteristics. Let us now discuss them in turn.

Store Attributes or Characteristics Influencing Store Choice

Consumers select stores, comparing different stores in terms of certain store-related characteristics. Some of the commonly used store-related attributes are the location of the store, store image, retail advertising, store design and physical facilities, store size, product variety available, and behavior of store salespeople as well as customer services provided by the store.

It is to mention here that the influence of these attributes differs depending on the type of product to be purchased, the type of store, and the consumer characteristics.

The store’s location is one of the most important store-related attributes that influence the store selection of a consumer. Consumers normally prefer to buy from the nearby store – near either home or office. Store image is another attribute influencing consumers’ store selection.

Store image is the target market’s/consumers’ perception of all the attributes associated with a retail outlet. Virtually all of the store-related attributes may determine the image of a store.

Most of consumers prefer to shop from stores renowned for their images in terms of different attributes.

Consumers seek store-related information through advertisements published by the stores. Thus, stores that advertise more will be able to draw more consumers’ attention, which may drive consumers to stores whose advertisements they see.

Moreover, stores that advertise heavily can give consumers an idea that they are well established and sound in doing business.

Thus, consumers prefer to buy from stores that advertise extensively. In addition, price advertising of stores may draw people toward the stores with the hope of getting bargains.

Some consumers select stores only for the decor and physical facilities they provide to the customers. The design includes, among others, the layout, aisle placement, width, carpeting, and architecture.

Physical facilities include elevators, escalators, lighting, air conditioning, children’s corner, and washing facilities. These may influence consumers’ moods, which makes them select the store.

The store’s size is another attribute that influences consumers’ store choices. Most consumers prefer larger stores to smaller ones, as they facilitate movement.

Moreover, larger stores can display a wide range of products and wider assortments, which helps consumers select the most preferred product and brand.

The variety of products and assortment also influence the selection of stores by consumers. Consumers prefer to shop from stores that make a larger variety and assortment available. The reason is that consumers can avoid the hassle of moving around different stores for different products.

If a store stocks different categories of products that consumers buy frequently (or infrequently), it will be able to attract more customers than stores stocking a limited range of products.

Consumers also expect to be well-treated by the salespeople. Thus they prefer to select those stores where they are likely to get warm and friendly, and courteous treatment. They also expect the salespeople to be knowledgeable. Thus, they prefer to select stores they perceive to have qualified sales personnel.

Consumers buy not only physical products but also certain services along with products. They sometimes expect credit, replacement

facilities, information, installment facilities, delivery, parking facilities, free wrapping facilities, and so on from the store. Thus, in-store selection, a consumer may decide on the above-mentioned factors as well.

Consumer Characteristics Influencing Store Choice

Consumer selection or choice of the store is determined by attributes relating to stores and some of the consumer-related characteristics.

Four dominant consumer characteristics influence consumers’ store selection

  1. perceived risk,
  2. consumer confidence,
  3. family characteristics,
  4. shopping orientation.

You came to know that consumers perceive different types of risks associated with a purchase.

Consumers prefer to select those stores that are likely to reduce their social risks, as well as product performance risks.

It is observed that consumers of higher social classes prefer to shop from status stores to reduce social risks. In contrast, lower-middle-class people avoid status stores to reduce financial risks. The level of consumer confidence also influences the selection of stores.

Highly confident consumers do not mind purchasing from new shops, whereas less confident customers prefer to buy from stores established long ago and are well-established.

Family characteristics and the degree of involvement of family members in purchase decisions also influence a family’s store selection.

In some families, husbands dominate the purchase decisions, so he selects the stores. You were given an idea of consumers’ buying motives at the beginning of this lesson.

Different motives may influence the purchase decisions of different categories of products. A consumer’s purchase motivations for a product category determine his shopping orientation for that product category.

Consumers with different shopping orientations prefer to shop at different stores. Consumers, who derive little or no pleasure from shopping, for example, prefer convenience stores.

Reasons for Which Consumers Shop?

It is imperative to understand the reasons consumers shop before discussing where and how they shop. Consumers shop to satisfy certain motives.

Motives could be either personal or social. Personal motives include, among others, role-playing, diversion, self-satisfaction, learning about new trends, physical activity, and sensory stimulation.

On the other hand, social motives include the social experience outside the home, communication with others with a similar interest, peer group attraction, status and authority, and the pleasure of bargaining.

An individual consumer may shop to display his or her role to others.

Consumers may also shop to eliminate the routine life that entertains them. Though economic theories explain buying activity as problem-solving that provides a certain utility to the consumer, he may shop purely for self-gratification.

Consumers may also shop to learn new trends or to display a different lifestyle. Some consumers prefer shopping as it can substitute for the physical exercise they need to do. Consumers may also shop to satisfy their senses, such as hearing sounds or handling goods providing tactile stimuli.

One of the social motives for which consumers shop is to have a social experience outside the home. When you go shopping, you have the opportunity to mix with new people and have experiences in new situations.

One may also shop to interact with people sharing the same needs, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes. An individual may also go shopping to meet his friends and associates.

Finding individuals who shop to display their power and status is unsurprising. The other social motive that drives people toward shopping is exploiting the bargaining opportunity. Some believe that bargaining may help them purchase products at low prices, providing cost savings.


When shopping in-store, there are many factors that can influence our behavior and purchasing decisions. The layout and atmosphere of a store can impact our mood and the flow of traffic, ultimately influencing our likelihood to make a purchase. Point-of-purchase displays can also attract and sway us towards certain brands or products.

Pricing strategies, discounts, and promotions can drive our choices as well. Additionally, the knowledge and persuasion of sales personnel can greatly influence our decisions.

Packaging is also important in attracting customers and influencing their choices.

Store attributes, such as location, image, advertising, design, size, variety, and customer service, can all play a role in-store selection. Consumer characteristics, such as perceived risks, confidence, family influence, and shopping orientation, can also affect our choices.

We may shop for personal motives, such as role-playing, diversion, or self-satisfaction, or social motives, like social experience, peer interaction, status, or bargaining.

Shopping can provide us with sensory stimulation, learning, and opportunities for social connections outside of the home. Ultimately, our store selection is influenced by the evaluation of store attributes and how they match our personal preferences.

Different shopping orientations may lead to preferences for different store types. We may also perceive risks and seek to reduce them through our store selection.

Family dynamics and involvement can also affect our choices within households. Store location and image play key roles in-store selection, as does store advertising, which can influence our perceptions and attract our attention.

By understanding these factors, marketers can tailor their strategies to meet our expectations.

  1. In-store factors like layout, atmosphere, displays, pricing, sales personnel, and packaging influence our behavior and purchasing decisions. The layout and atmosphere of a store can affect our mood and traffic flow, impacting our likelihood of making a purchase.
  2. Point-of-purchase displays can attract and sway us toward specific brands or products.
  3. Pricing strategies, discounts, and promotions play a role in driving our choices. The knowledge and persuasion of sales personnel can greatly influence our decisions.
  4. Packaging is important in attracting customers and influencing their choices.
  5. Store attributes, including location, image, advertising, design, size, variety, and customer service, play a role in-store selection.
  6. Personal characteristics, such as perceived risks, confidence, family influence, and shopping orientation, can affect our choices. Personal motives, like role-playing, diversion, self-satisfaction, or social motives, such as social experience, peer interaction, status, or bargaining.
  7. Shopping provides sensory stimulation, learning opportunities, and chances for social connections outside of the home.
  8. Store selection is influenced by evaluating store attributes and aligning them with personal preferences.
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