The behaviour of retail shoppers is a subject of study across the world. The basic difference however Continues to be the maturity of markets and formats. While retail I in the West has evolved in terms of formats over the past hundred years, organised retail in India are still a new phenomenon
The factors which influence the customer’s decision-making process are:
1. Range of Merchandise
The range of merchandise is perhaps the most important reason for customers to patronize a particular outlet. The initial curiosity about the store may draw a consumer to a retail store, but to convert him into a buyer and to retain him over a period of time is largely dependent on the quality and the range of merchandise offered by the store. If the merchandise is similar to that of another store or what is commonly available, the customer may not see any reason why he should not switch stores.
The range of merchandise offered plays an important role in the case of categories like durables, books and music, apparel and other lifestyle product.
2. Convenience of Shopping at a Particular Outlet
The element of convenience is fast gaining prominence in the world of organised retail. This is especially true in case of items like grocery/fruits and chemists.
3. Time to Travel
The time required to reach a particular retail location is again fast becoming critical. This is especially true in the case of metros like Mumbai, where travel time is high. This has resulted in many local areas developing in terms of shopping, to facilitate buying. We see the appearance of multiple outlets for a brand, departmental stores and malls making their appearance across most Indian cities.
4. Socio-economic Background and Culture
The socio-economic background of the consumer largely determines his lifestyle. This influences the kind of store that he may be comfortable shopping in. Consumer buying behaviour varies from market to market and is largely influenced b the culture of the region, for example, Asian culture is very different from Western culture3. The need hierarchy is different for each market. The need that the retailer can fulfill needs to be clearly understood by him. This will not only help him in determining the right merchandise mix, but it will also help him in evolving an effective communication strategy.
5. The Stage of the Family Life Cycle
The stage of the family life cycle that the customer belongs to, also largely influences his needs. For example, the needs of a young bachelor will be different from the needs of a family with children in their teens, which will again be different from the requirements of an elderly retired couple. The retailer needs to be clear about the target market that he is catering to, as he cannot be everything to everybody.