Do you feel that this paper enhances the research on the ambiance you have reviewed until now? In what way?
I feel that the paper by Ballantine enhances the research on ambiance which has been discussed so far. First of all, the paper takes the review of ambiance a notch higher by introducing the concept of hedonic experience. In the paper, the author provides a detailed explanation of how the ambient conditions reviewed so far help in the creation of hedonic experience. Further to that, the paper groups the ambient conditions which have been discussed into two categories namely attractive and facilitating stimuli (Ballantine, Jack & Parsons 2010).
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Cues that fall under the attractive stimuli category include layout, space, color, sound, and light while those which fall under the facilitating stimuli category include product display, crowding, and the employee factor. The paper further provides a deep insight into the topic of ambiance through a discussion of the research findings. The findings in the study not only expand my understanding on the topic of ambiance but they also provide a strong background on the topic and its interrelated concepts such as hedonic and utilitarian consumption (Ballantine, Jack & Parsons 2010).
Do you feel that it helps to differentiate ‘hedonic consumption’ from ‘utilitarian consumption’?
I feel that the paper helps to differentiate between hedonic and utilitarian consumption. For one, it defines hedonic consumption as those aspects of consumer behavior that are linked to the consumers’ emotions and fantasies. Utilitarian consumption on the other hand is defined as consumption in which consumers’ satisfaction is based on acquisition and ownership of products. The paper goes further to provide a differentiation of the two concepts through the analysis of the study findings. It is clearly indicated that hedonic consumption has everything to do with cues that make customers satisfied with the services which they get.
It entails the manipulation of various cues to create a balance that can attract and retain customers. The creation of hedonic experience by retailers appears to outweigh the utilitarian approach because utilitarian oriented participants in the research felt more comfortable in hedonic setups. On the other hand, hedonic oriented participants were very uncomfortable in utilitarian setups (Demangeot & Broderick 2006).
Do you think a retailer would be able to develop and manage store design using these categories? What might be the challenges in achieving successful implementation? What might be the benefits?
I think retailers can develop and manage store designs of hedonic and utilitarian orientations concurrently. The major reason for setting up stores of the two designs is that customers are not the same. There are those who are driven by their hedonic cues when doing shopping and those who detach their emotions and fantasies from their shopping needs. As a result, having the two store designs may enable retailers to meet the needs of all types of customers and maximize profits.
Having the two designs may also enable the retailers to study and know which design is profitable than the other. If for instance, they find that stores that provide hedonic experiences are more profitable than those which do not, then they may be able to invest more resources in such stores and even open others in the same locality (Kent 2007).
The challenge which retailers may face in successfully establishing the two designs concurrently is the availability of space and financial resources. Establishing the two designs requires a big space which is not easy to get in many cases. However, if retailers manage to establish the two designs successfully, they may enjoy many benefits such as more sales due to many customers, high customer satisfaction, and reduced employee turnover.
Ballantine, P.W, Jack, R & Parsons, A.G 2010, ‘Atmospheric cues and their effect on the hedonic retail experience’, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 38, no.8 pp. 641- 653.
Demangeot, C & Broderick, A.J 2006, ‘Exploring the experiential intensity of online shopping environments’, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 325-351.
Kent, T 2007, ‘Creative space: design and the retail environment’, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 35, no.9, pp. 734-745.