The Changing Role of Distance in Consumers' Store Choice
Marjanen, Heli (2000) The Changing Role of Distance in Consumers' Store Choice. Project Report. Turun kauppakorkeakoulu, Turku.
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Spatial shopping behaviour can be considered the outcome of a subjective de-cision-making process by which consumers combine their separate evaluations of a set of relevant attributes of shopping alternatives into an overall evalua-tion to arrive at a choice (Timmermans, van der Heijden and Westerveld 1984, 378). Understanding the reasons for consumer’s store choice is of fundamental importance for retailers. One of the most important factors affecting a con-sumer’s choice is undoubtedly the distance separating the customer and poten-tial shopping destinations. Distance as a concept and its various sub-concepts, such as the friction of distance, measurement of distance and distance perception, have been subject to considerable amount of research over decades. Despite long research tradi-tions both in the field of marketing and in economic geography, no well inte-grated and refined theory about consumer spatial behaviour exists and, hence, we are not able to explain why people shop where they do. This article discusses the changing role of distance in consumers’ choices of retail outlets and, consequently, the power of distance as a predictor variable in store choice models. Special emphasis is given to problems related to mod-elling the patronage of out-of-town shopping facilities.
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