Citation
Case Study

Material Information

Title:
Case Study Customer Evaluations of Interior Design Elements and Marketing Features in an Upscale Women's Apparel Boutique
Creator:
Anderson, Lauren N
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
english
Physical Description:
1 online resource (88 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.I.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Interior Design
Committee Chair:
Harris, Debra D.
Committee Members:
Weitz, Barton A.
Graduation Date:
8/11/2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Boutiques ( jstor )
Clothing ( jstor )
Consumer research ( jstor )
Customers ( jstor )
Fashion design ( jstor )
Marketing ( jstor )
Marketing strategies ( jstor )
Merchandise ( jstor )
Retail stores ( jstor )
Shopping ( jstor )
Interior Design -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
apparel, boutique, customer, design, elements, evaluations, interior, marketing, store, women
Genre:
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Interior Design thesis, M.I.D.

Notes

Abstract:
Women's clothing stores' annual sales are consistently increasing year after year, possibly indicating that the act of consuming clothing is also rising. With the growing number of 'virtual channel' retailers, it has become increasingly important for stores to uniquely differentiate themselves. Research has shown that differentiation can often be achieved through enhancing the physical store experience and implementing the correct marketing practices. This study examines shoppers' evaluations towards identified design elements and specific marketing features, as well as whether a relationship exists between those evaluations and customer loyalty. In addition to reviewing design and business literature, an observational procedure also informed the researcher of important design features to consider when redesigning an upscale women's apparel boutique. These design elements included 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) overall style/design. Another four non-design, but retail-related elements were also examined to uncover shoppers' feelings toward the store's operative components: 1) mood, 2) location, 3) product variety, and 4) customer service. Considering the impact store image has proven to have on patronage, it is of increasing importance for retail designers and store owners to gain a comprehensive understanding of which factors influence consumers' store selections, buying decisions, and loyalty considerations. Knowledge of which factors can positively influence a store's physical environment and what variations of these features encourage pleasurable reactions among shoppers will enable designers and retailers to have a more powerful repository of evidence-based design solutions. The three sectors that stand to benefit from this research are 1) the retail industry; 2) retail consumers, and specifically, boutique consumers; and 3) retail design professionals. The implications of specific design styles and merchandising techniques on shoppers' perceptions of total store environment can assist designers when specifying the appropriate features for a upscale, women's apparel boutique. Additionally, the shoppers' positive evaluations of alternative merchandising scenarios and unique product display techniques offer design alternatives to store planners and retail store owners. Apparel boutique shoppers were asked to evaluate store design and other various business operatives on a questionnaire. After the data was collected, descriptive statistics, correlations, and an ANOVA analysis were run. Positive evaluations were reported across all elements, but were not shown to be statistically significant, due to a small sample size and a lack of variation across the data. This skewed data was likely a result of a pre-existing, high-loyalty rating amongst all the participants, as they were to have visited the store prior to this experience in order to qualify to participate. As a result, it is postulated that these shoppers already had an affinity to the store because they came back. Despite the lack of variance, participants reported shopping mainly for leisurely intents and preferred shopping between the hours of 2-4pm. Additionally, it was found that those aged 31 to 40 were the most loyal customers in this case. Interestingly though, the vast majority of participants were aged 18 to 22. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.I.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local:
Adviser: Harris, Debra D.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Lauren N Anderson.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Anderson, Lauren N. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
662595924 ( OCLC )
Classification:
LD1780 2007 ( lcc )

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Full Text





Another study may find that customers at a specific store classify style as the most

important design feature. This might be approached in different ways, two of which are 1) to

develop a new measure for testing this type of procedure; or 2) to leverage existing preference

rating methods to use in conjunction with simulation or mock-up visuals for determining which

style is most preferred by the intended audience. Use of these visualization techniques will allow

the researcher to provide the sample with more illustrative options without having to physically

construct anything. By testing a specific feature's various alternatives, it is possible that a

broader range of variation may occur and, as a result, produce more statistically significant

results.

Likewise, it may be interesting to investigate the ways in which small stores space plan or

demarcate their space. Perfumeries, apothecaries, social areas, and 'salons' are all becoming

desirable constituents located within independently owned boutiques. In essence, they are

'boutiques within boutiques'. However, with most of these shops being relatively small (most

under 1200sq/ft), it would be interesting to examine if boutiques are actually embracing this

departmentalized concept, and if so, what techniques are they utilizing for layouts and general

spatial considerations. What other solutions can interior designers propose to retailers? Can

designers discover new solutions using other research practices? If so, what are these forms of

research and how can they contribute to the greater body of design knowledge.

Customer Preference of Boutique Design

Due to the ever-changing industry that fashion intuitively represents, apparel retailers must

often consider updating their store's physical environment in order to portray a current image of

status and style. By testing customer perception of space improvement variations, designers and

researchers will be able to build a repository of cases that can be referenced if boutique retailers

desire multiple store environment examples. Pursuing this study type will also generate multiple









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

In March of 1977, Lauren was born in Chicago, Illinois. As the second daughter of Gary

and Susan Anderson, she was often known for talking excessively, taking risks, and being

creative. Throughout her adolescent years, Lauren frequently moved around, having taken up

residencies in Georgia, Michigan, and California, until she finally graduated from Lake Mary

High School in Orlando, Florida.

After receiving a fully paid scholarship, Lauren attended the University of Florida, where

she pursued a Bachelor of Science in business administration. While attending undergraduate

college and working part-time at a restaurant, the marketing major became involved in

community activities and held several sorority leadership positions. Following graduation in

May of 1999, Lauren went to Boston to pursue a Field Marketing position for a Software

Development firm. After two years of extensive travel and extended work hours, Lauren's

creative side reemerged and she began taking night classes at the New England School of Art

and Design.

Before returning to University of Florida to pursue a Master of Interior Design, Lauren

took a quick hiatus to San Francisco, where she managed a friend's contemporary women's

boutique and explored the beautiful west coast. Having worked in retail since 16 years of age,

Lauren had a strong interest in fashion and was beguiled by the phenomenological concept of

store image. She was particularly interested in how store environment impacts the consumer.

Throughout attending the Interior Design graduate program, Lauren worked at an upscale

women's apparel boutique, which ultimately was the impetus for this topic of study.

Today, Lauren owns and operates her own contemporary women's boutique in Tampa,

Florida, where she has successfully implemented several of the marketing practices and design

recommendations mentioned in this study.









magazines and other decorative features were placed throughout the store and the boutique was

ready to make its official debut (Appendix C).

Data Collection Tool

The data collection tool for this study was a questionnaire divided into three parts

(Appendix D). The first section asked questions involving reasons for shopping, preferred time

of day to shop, social influences, and age. The shopping intentions category is divided into five

parts being leisure, special occasion, having a sale, general clothing needs, and other.

Respondents preferred time of day to shop is broken down into five, two-hour segments. Four

two-hour modules consist of the store's eight-hour business day beginning at 10:00am and

ending at 6:00pm. The fifth option is 'other' enabling the respondent to express business hours

beyond that of the boutique's current operating hours. It is possible that if enough respondents

shop at times other than those presently offered it might be a sensible business decision to

modify or extend current operating hours. Social influences are defined in this context as

methods in which the shoppers learned of the boutique. These mediums included friend/relative,

The Gainesville Sun a local newspaper, radio advertisement, magazine, and other. The age

category was also classified into five groupings 1) under 18, 2) 18-22, 3) 23-30, 4) 31-40, and

5) over 40.

The remaining fourteen questions focused on the respondents' opinions towards the

boutique's various environmental elements. In the first grouping respondents were asked to

record the extent of their attitudes to nine statements on a five-point Likert-Scale. The rating

scale ranged from Very Bad to Very Good in which a check was placed in the box that most

appropriately matched her feeling for each statement. The remaining five statements asked

respondents to record their extent of agreement on a Likert-Scale that ranged from Strongly

Agree to Strongly Disagree. Again, the participant was to check the area that most appropriately









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TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

L IST O F T A B L E S .............. ..... ............... .......................................................... . 7

LIST OF FIGURES .................................. .. ..... ..... ................. .8

A B S T R A C T ......... ....................... .................. .......................... ................ .. 9

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................11

B ack g rou n d ........................................................ ....................... ................1 1
Purpose & Significance of the Study ......................................................................... ...... 12
L iteratu re R ev iew ...........................................................................................14
Female Apparel Boutique Retailers/Shoppers........................................15
T total Store E nvironm ent .................................................................. .......................16
Shopping Experience ........................................... ...... ...................... 20
Consum er B behavior ................................................ ....... ................. 21
T theory and M methods ..................................................................................... 22

2 METHODOLOGY .............................. ...................... ........27

Case Study Research............ ...... ..................... ........... 27
V ariables of Interest ................................... .............................. .............. .......... ........ .27
O b se rv a tio n ......................................................................................................................2 8
Experim mental Study. .................................. .. .......... .. ............30
D ata Collection Tool ......................... ........... .. ........... ......... 35
L ik e rt-S c a le s ...................................................................................................... .................. 3 6
P articip an t S am p lin g ......................................................................................................... 3 6
S u m m ary .................. ....... .. .. .................................................................................................3 7

3 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND RESULTS ..........................................38

D escriptiv e Statistics ........................................................................................................ 38
Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample............................... ............... 38
Evaluation of Store Environment ................................ ......................... ......41
C o rre la tio n .......................................................................................................................4 7
Analysis of Variance .......................................... ..... ............ .. 48

4 DISCUSSION ............................ ............... 5 ...... 51

Evaluation of Design Elem ents ............................................. ........ .........51
A tm sphere .................................................52
































Figure B-7. Existing Store Displays


Figure B-8. Existing Store-Displays









ideas. For example, two antique birdcage stands were used as mannequin stands displaying full

outfits hung on body forms. As with most of the new furniture/display elements, these stands

can be repositioned in the store at anytime offering a more versatile and flexible approach to

merchandising. The cash wrap or the purchasing area was devised using a small dining table.

Two dining chairs that were reupholstered in a vinyl fabric (for durability purposes) sat on either

side of the desk one for the cashier and the other for the shopper or guest. This intimate

arrangement was chosen to encourage the shopper to feel like a friend of the boutique, not

merely a paying customer.

Curtains with small chains looped through grommeted panels of triple-ply white,

polyester-crepe were hung in front of the fitting rooms. The chains extended 10" below the door

header as to allow natural light to filter in above the enclosure. Moreover, the snow-white color

of the fabric transmitted ancillary light into the fitting room space, while the three layers of

fabric provided the shoppers with necessary privacy. The curtain panels were cut extra long in

order to create a billowing effect on the floor. This technique juxtaposed the delicacy of the

curtains against the raw, edginess of the concrete floor reemphasizing the intended feminine-

industrial design scheme. The window display was created using two traditional cloth covered

body forms hung from the ceiling with s-hooks and heavy-gauge chains. Several rows of

wooden discs sporadically knotted on natural twine were suspended from the dropped ceiling

that surrounds the window stage. This beaded curtain backdrop enables outside viewers to

articulate the window presentation as a composition, while never compromising their ability to

view the rest of the store. It also allows natural light to flood into the main portion of the interior

space, whereas a solid backdrop may limit daylighting accessibility. Plants, candles, fashion























Figure C-7. Modified Store, Displays


Figure C-8. Modified Store, Displays


........ ........









Style/D design. ..................................................................54
C olor Schem e. ..................................................................54
L fighting. .......................................................55
Evaluation of N on-D esign Elem ents ..................................................................................56
M o o d .................................................................................5 7
L o c atio n .................................................................5 7
Product V variety ......... ..................................................................................... 58
Custom er Service................................................ 58
Evaluation of Extraneous Variables .............. ................58
D em graphics ..............................59............................

5 CON CLU SION .... ................................................61

F in d in g s ............................................................................6 1
L im stations of the R research ............... ....................... ............................. 62
Implications for Research Findings .....................................................64
Directions for Further Research ................... .............................. 65
Im portance of D esign E lem ents .............................................................................. 65
Customer Preference of Boutique Design .......................................... 66
C onclu sions.......... ..........................................................67

APPENDIX

A FOOTPRINT OF ORIGINAL BOUTIQUE LAYOUT .................................................. 69

B PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EXISTING BOUTIQUE' S INTERIOR ENVIRONMENT......70

C PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BOUTIQUE'S DESIGN MODIFICATIONS ...........................74

D D A TA C O L LE C TIO N T O O L ......................................................................................... 79

E INFORMED CONSENT DOCUMENT ........................................................ 80

F INTSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD ...................................................................82

L IS T O F R E F E R E N C E S ......................................................................................................... 83

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ................................................................................................... 88









tactics were effective, as well as whether or not this type of shopper responds positively to the

industry's 'suggested' merchandising approach.

Additionally, there was an area on the mapping tool allotted for recording and describing

shoppers' behaviors at different increments of time. Each behavior was assigned a number that

was plotted on the footprint to show where the shopper was positioned at the time they carried

out the activity. Arrows were also used to track the sequential movement of the shopper. The

observation form noted if the shopper purchased anything and if so, the dollar amount and

number of items that were bought.

Findings from the behavior-mapping tool informed the researcher of layout and

merchandising techniques that were currently effective, as well as the strategies that were not so

effective. This information was then used for determining appropriate design solutions for the

boutique's redesign experiment.

Experimental Study.

Another behavioral research approach that has proven effective in retail environments is

the experimental study which implements a change then studies how that change effects its

population (Kumar, 2005). Experiments can be conducted in a 'controlled' or 'natural'

environment (Kumar, 2005). In a controlled environment, the study population is in a restricted

environment, such as a room where all subjects are analyzed under the same conditions (Sommer

& Sommer, 2002). Alternatively, the 'natural' environment allows the respondents to be

exposed to an intervention in its natural environment (Kumar, 2005).

A natural environment was chosen whereby a redesign of a boutique's interiors occurred in

the shop's actual space. A solid repository of store redesign ideas was built using the

information gathered during the observational procedure, as well as design solutions that extant

literature revealed as being successful in other upscale retail environments. Based on the









effect on a space's color impact. A predominantly neutral color palette with touches of pistachio

green and golden yellow was selected for this project. Using a neutral backdrop of fresh, white

walls symbolizes perfection and purity (Digital River GmbH, 2005). The colorless background

suggests simplicity, lightness, and is regularly associated with lower-fat/healthy entities (Digital

River GmbH, 2005). For contemporary clothing stores, where the target audience is between

sizes 0-12 and often strives to maintain a healthy lifestyle, this subconscious 'health' impression

could have positive psychological effects. Research also suggests that green often symbolizes

growth, freshness, and harmony, while yellow indicates joy, energy, and honor (Digital River

GmbH, 2005). Success and money is synonymous with green, establishing an association with

business 'richness' (Digital River GmbH, 2005). Green is believed to be the most restful color to

the human eye becoming an ideal balance for energy stimulating yellow. With an ability to

evoke pleasant and cheerful feelings, yellow is often used for product promotion and is

commonly aligned with items pertaining to leisure (Digital River GmbH, 2005). The

combination of respondents' color scheme evaluations yielded a 4.65 mean. Once again, thirty-

nine of the forty respondents felt the colors of the store were good or very good, signifying that

the neutral backdrop with hints of soft greens and yellows was a favorable palette for this

particular audience.

Lighting

Compact florescent bulbs substituted the once energy-robbing, incandescent bulbs in order

to extend the life cycle of the lamps and improve efficiency, but not compromise the color

rendering qualities of the space. The model and brand selected was a Sylvania "Energy Star"

lamp which was designed to cast a warm, gentle glow, rather than the harsh brightness that

fluorescents are typically known for. Ideally, the lighting system would have undergone a major

overhaul, however budget and time limitations prohibited this. Instead, the new lighting scheme









CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

Though, the analyses performed on the collected data produced statistically insignificant

results, it is improbable to assume that the experimental store environment had no effect at all on

its customers. Effectively, the lack of variation across respondents' scores created a ceiling

effect, skewing the data and concluding that it could not be considered statistically relevant. On

the other hand, the exceedingly high number of positive evaluations may suggest that the

business owner is, indeed, appropriately hitting her target market. Very often, people who

possess similar demographics also tend to hold comparable social values and associate

comparable meanings with personal belongings and environmental surroundings (Luomala,

2003; Lindquist, 1974-75). Although the sample in this case was statistically too alike, it may

be reasonable to consider that these respondents may be indicative of 'typical' apparel boutique

shoppers in large university towns. Consequently, this sample's partiality towards specific

boutique design features may parallel those of specialty store shoppers in other college towns.

Despite the statistical results, the study proposes multiple design solutions and various

marketing techniques that may prove instrumental to designers within the retail arena. These

professionals are presented an opportunity to implement similar strategies and are encouraged to

further build upon the ideas presented here. This chapter will review and discuss each of the

design and non-design elements that were examined, as well as report some noteworthy

demographical relationships.

Evaluation of Design Elements

Based on the major design changes that were made, the space was broken down into four

design evaluation categories 1) atmosphere; 2) style/design; 3) color scheme; and 4) lighting.

Atmosphere included smell, temperature, sound, and touch. Style and design described the

































Figure B-5. Existing Store Denim Area


Figure B-6. Existing Store Jewelry Display









shopper's evaluation of the total shopping environment. A total of 40 shoppers participated in

the study. Each participant was requested to read and sign an informed consent document

(Appendix E). The consent form was collected by the researcher and placed in a box separate

from that of the survey so as to further ensure confidentiality of respondent's answers. Each

participant was also given a copy of the consent form for her personal records. All participants

were ensured that their answers would remain strictly confidential. The Institutional Review

Board of the University of Florida has determined that this study posed no more than minimal

risk to participants (Appendix F). In accordance with the shop owner's permission, a 20%

discount coupon was given to each respondent for participating in the study.

Summary

In summary this research is an example of a multi-method case study. Information that

had been gathered from observational procedures was used to inform a field experiment. The

experiment was then tested by a convenience sample's response through a survey. The intent

was to examine shoppers' evaluations of a newly designed apparel boutique, as well as their

overall level of customer loyalty.









CHAPTER 2
METHODOLOGY

Case Study Research

This research study is an example of a multi-method case study. A case study is a

thorough analysis of a social phenomenon pertaining to one individual condition (Kumar, 2005).

Such a method has been employed by various environmental psychologists to help explain why

certain effects result in particular built-environments (Kincade & Moye, 2003; Hayter &

Torcellini, 2000). In general, a case study is a thoroughly examined scenario that allows

researchers to make generalizations towards other similar types of situations (Kumar, 2005).

Due to the multifarious nature of determining the effects of store environment, the case

study design enables retailers and marketers to take a holistic approach towards the research

(Kumar, 2005). There are several advantages to using the case study method in behavioral

sciences; some of which are listed below (Sommer & Sommer, 2002):

* Greater depth within a particular topic.
* The ability to capture readers' interest.
* Often regarded as enjoyable and entertaining reads.
* Enhanced sense of recall through vivid details.

Limitations of the case study include the inability to support or reject a hypothesis, as well

as compromised generalizability due to the individualized basis in which each case is built upon.

However, if multiple cases within a specific domain are combined than the external validity is

believed to increase (Sommer & Sommer, 2002).


Variables of Interest

This research study will evaluate shoppers' penchant for the total store environment of a

women's apparel boutique. Additionally, the study will take into account how customer

demographics of shopping intentions, preferred time of day to shop, social influences, and age









The perplexing nature of store image and its phenomenological properties are so rigorous

that the scope of the current study is far too limited to fully analyze the highly complicated topic.

Effectively, several researchers have agreed that store image is the combination of environmental

cues (functional attributes) and social cues (psychological attributes) that create consumer

perceptions and beliefs about a particular store. These consumer viewpoints are created over

time (Kincade and Moye, 2003); thus, they are often considered learned or conditioned

responses.

Store design. One very significant aspect of the creation of store image is the interior

design of the physical space (Baker et al., 1992). Sensory conditions, such as lighting, color,

temperature, noise, accessibility, layout, and overall style/mood, have a substantial influence on

the way a customer evaluates their experience and classifies the store image (Dowling, 1993).

Environmental stimuli are said to have a profound influence on consumers' emotional states

affecting their evaluation and acceptance of a particular retail setting (Baker et al., 1992).

Several studies have examined individual atmospheric elements and the affects they have

on shoppers' moods and behaviors. For instance, one group of researchers (Bellizzi, Crowley &

Hasty, 1983) studied the effects of color in store design. They found that certain colors attracted

people to retail displays and point-of-purchase stands (Bellizzi et al., 1983). Because of the

belief that color is exceptionally influential on humans' moods and actions, the Blackfair Bridge

in England was repainted bright green from its original black in order to reduce the number of

suicides that have been attempted from the bridge (Hattwick, 1950).

Areni and Kim (1994) examined the impact of lighting on purchase behavior. In their field

experiment the researchers found that consumers were more likely to approach the merchandise

when the in-store lighting was bright versus when it was soft (Areni and Kim, 1994).










ir .! ,,,,i1 ,


Figure B-3. Existing Store Cash Wrap


Figure B-4. Existing Store Line-of-Sight









connection to patronage decisions than did the actual merchandise, price points, and product

variety (Darden, Erdem & Darden, 1983).

Apparel industry specialists have often regarded fashion, specifically clothing, as a means

of self-expression (Women's Wear Daily, 2006). Moreover, consumer behaviorists and research

professionals have long suggested that a social meaning is associated with the clothing

consumption process (O' Cass & Julian, 2001; Deeter-Schmelz, Moore & Goebel, 2000), and

particularly so with women (Dowling, 1993). One researcher described consumption as

"activities surrounding the purchase and use of commodities central to the lives of women and

the constitution of femininity" (Dowling, pg. 295,1993). Demographic reports of two Florida

Counties Alachua and Hillsborough revealed that the largest percentage of consumer apparel

expenditures was applied towards women's clothing (Experian/Applied Geographic Solutions,

2005). This statistic lends support to the notion that if informed design is implemented in a

women's clothing boutique or other types of female based retail stores, it is probable that

increased revenues can be earned.

A number of marketers and social scientists have emphasized that consumption often goes

beyond merely acquiring commodities, but rather defines shopping as a means of expression and

a tool for seeking pleasure (Fiske, 1989; Mort, 1989; Dowling, 1993). Previous studies

(Dowling, 1993; Deeter-Schmelz et al., 2000) have stressed the importance of the creation of

place in which the goods are consumed or acquired. Ultimately, a social connotation becomes

assigned to the place where merchandise is sold (Dowling, 1993). In essence, the store

environment plays a critical role in defining the social meaning the shopper will likely attribute

to their shopping experience in a given place. The creation of the store environment and its









Twenty-six participants evaluated the store design as very good, while another twelve

individuals deemed it as good. One respondent felt the design was somewhere between very

good and good, whereas another considered it to be neutral. Using a rating of 5 as being very

good, respondents' assessment of the boutique's design had a mean of 4.64.

Table 3-9. Store Design Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very Good 26 65.0 65.0
Between good 1 2.5 67.5
and very good
Good 12 30.0 97.5
Neutral 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

A majority of the shoppers regarded the color scheme to be very good, while another 30%

rated the color selections as good. Only one respondent felt the assortment of colors was neutral.

The mean across opinions was 4.65, having used 5 as a rating for very good.

Table 3-10. Color Scheme Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very Good 27 67.5 67.5
Good 12 30.0 97.5
Neutral 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

Thirty-one of the forty respondents evaluated the lighting in the main shopping area to be

very good, while the other nine respondents assessed it to be good. Using a rating of 5 as being

very good, the general store lighting had a mean of 4.77.

Table 3-11. General Store Lighting Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very
alid Very 31 77.5 77.5
Good
Good 9 22.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0



























To my mother, Susan M. Beauchamp, for teaching me strength, wisdom, passion, leadership,
and, most importantly to love unconditionally









Eighty percent of shoppers felt the lighting within the fitting rooms was very good. Seven

participants determined that the fitting room lighting was good and only one assessed it as

neutral. The mean across evaluations was 4.77, using a rating of 5 as being very good.

Table 3-12. Fitting Room Lighting Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very
alid Very 32 80.0 80.0
Good
Good 7 17.5 97.5
Neutral 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

The variety of product was considered by 52.5% of participants to be 'good', while another

37.5% rated the merchandise assortment to be 'very good'. Four individuals assessed the

collection as neutral. The combination of all the participants' product variety evaluations

resulted in a mean rating of 4.27, using a 'very good' rating of 5.

Table 3-13. Product Variety Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very
alid Very 15 37.5 37.5
Good
Good 21 52.5 90.0
Neutral 4 10.0 100.0
Total 40 100.0

Thirty-five respondents reported that customer service was 'very good', while another four

felt it was 'good'. Only one woman rated the customer service as 'neutral'. Using a rating of 5

as being very good, the overall customer service evaluation was a mean of 4.77.

Table 3-14. Customer Service Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very
alid Very 35 87.5 87.5
Good
Good 4 10.0 97.5
Neutral 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0









prototype examples, enabling designers to explore various scenarios in true environments. Are

physical environment improvements encouraging for existing shoppers? How willingly does this

audience embrace change? Do they interpret the modifications as positive or negative? How

frequently should a cutting-edge retailer alter interior environments? Is it more frequent than

classic stores, such as Talbots or Brooks Brothers?

Further, it may be beneficial to investigate if boutique customers really prefer a store

design that reflects the merchandise style. Does mirroring the two styles actually improve store

profitability? Will potential customers then typecast the store and elect to shop elsewhere if an

extreme style is dictated? Having answers to many of these questions could enhance designer

credibility amongst the retail industry and, even possibly, expand the creative design possibilities

for retail environments.

Conclusions

By definition, interior designers strive to enhance the human component of built

environments. These professionals study how physical surroundings affect the human

experience; therefore, presenting designers with supplementary solutions for retail environments

would augment a sector of this body of knowledge. Shown here, are positive customer reactions

to the identified retail design elements of atmosphere, style, color, and lighting in an upscale

women's apparel boutique. Additionally, it is revealed how customers evaluated a boutique's

business components of store location, product variety, and services. These findings reveal that

the implemented design selections were not only well received by existing shoppers, but also

considered pleasurable and desirable. Shoppers' moods were also tested to see if it had an effect

on their evaluations; however, in this case, mood was not seen to have a noteworthy impact. The

results also uncovered the basic demographics of the boutique's existing clientele, as well as

what age group is the most loyal and when these customers prefer to shop. It is postulated that









Table 3-22. ANOVA Preferred Time of Day to Shop Effect on Customer Loyalty
N Mean
10am-12pm 1 1.6667
12pm-2pm 6 1.5556
2pm-4pm 17 2.0196
4pm-6pm 11 1.7273
other 1 1.6667
2,3 2 1.6667
3,4 1 1.6667
Total 39 1.8205


Between
Groups
Within Groups
Total


Sum of
Squares
1.309
11.768
13.077


Mean
df Square


.218


Table 3-23. ANOVA Social Influences Effect on Customer Loyalty
N Mean


Friend/Relative
Gainesville Sun
Other
Total


Between Groups
Within Groups
Total


Table 3-24. ANOVA


18-22
23-30
31-40
Total


Between
Groups
Within Groups
Total


Sum of
Squares
.696
12.130
12.826


Mean
df Square
2 .348
36 .337


F
1.033


1.8387
2.3333
1.5714
1.8034

Sig.
.366


Age Effect on Customer Loyalty


Sum of
Squares

.435
12.665
13.100


Mean
1.7901
1.7143
2.0556
1.8167


Mean
df Square


.217


.635


Sig.


.536









ensure energy optimization would be achieved before actually constructing the building. This

tactic is especially beneficial when accuracy and precision is important, but time is not an issue

(Groat & Wang, 2002). A combination of architects, engineers, and designers developed a

simulated environment which incorporated the criterion necessary for meeting ASHRAE energy

optimization standards, as well as the environmental sensitivities of the project owners,

themselves (Hayter and Torcellini, 2000). At the conclusion of the project, Hayter and Torcellini

(2000) closely examined the effects of the building and found that its lighting loads decreased

79% from the original two buildings (Phase I and II). Additionally, the researchers estimated

that the anticipated energy cost savings would be close to 62%, exceeding the original project

goal of 60% (Hayter & Torcellini, 2000). It is assumed that the success of this building will act

as a benchmark for other design teams aiming to achieve similar results.

O'Cass and Julian (2001) studied the effects of materialistic values and self image on

fashion clothing consumption. The researchers developed and distributed through the postal

system a self-administered survey in which 450 questionnaires were returned. The survey was

analyzed using modified measures that had been used by previous researchers, as well as a

measure that was developed specifically for their study (O'Cass & Julian, 2001). By creating a

tailor made measurement tool the researchers were able to find a correlation between two

variables that, until this study, no previously developed measure had identified (O'Cass & Julian,

2001). O'Cass and Julian (2001) also found that high fashion customers have historically held

significance for fashion marketers and researchers because "they are seen as drivers, influentials,

and legitimists of the fashion adoption process" (O'Cass & Julian, pg. 3, 2001).

In another study that investigated consumer preference of retail stores as it pertains to

consumer perception, the researchers established a linkage between consumers' emotional









Seventeen of the forty participants preferred shopping between 2-4pm; eleven between

4-6pm; six between 12pm-2pm; one between 10am-12pm; one in the 'other' category; two

between 12pm-4pm; one between 2pm-6pm and one respondent did not answer the question.

Table 3-3. Demographics Preferred Time of Day to Shop

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 10am-12pm 1 2.6 2.6
12pm-2pm 6 15.4 17.9
2pm-4pm 17 43.6 61.5
4pm-6pm 11 28.2 89.7
other 1 2.6 92.3
2,3 2 5.1 97.4
3,4 1 2.6 100.0
Total 39 100.0
Missing System 1
Total 40

Almost 80% of the respondents had heard of the boutique through a friend or a relative.

This statistic may imply that a majority of these customers were driven through word-of-mouth,

providing useful insight to a boutique storeowner for selecting various forms of advertising

mediums. Another 18% chose 'other' as to how they were informed of the boutique, including

two 'drive by' responses and five responses that involved familiarity with neighboring

businesses and/or the plaza in which the boutique is located. Only one individual stated-The

Gainesville Sun-a local newspaper, while one respondent did not answer the question at all.

Table 3-4. Demographics Social Influences

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Friend/
31 79.5 79.5
Relative
Gainesville 1 1
1 2.6 82.1
Sun
Other 7 17.9 100.0
Total 39 100.0
Missing System 1
Total 40









The retailer intentionally manipulated the layout and merchandise placement in order to facilitate

a certain mode of shopping (Dowling, 1993).

Architectural design is important to today's fashion savvy customer. Once famously

quoted by the renowned fashion designer, Coco Chanel, "Architecture is fashion it's a matter

of proportions." Designs that are regarded as 'architecturally rich' typically contain a mixed use

of sophisticated materials; lavish furnishings; sculpted spatial features; and a variety of

pleasurable sensory cues (Donovan & Rossiter, 1982). Therefore, when environments,

particularly those involved in high fashion, are architecturally rich the retailer further conveys

their commitment to beauty and originality to the consumer.

As the United States moved past the Edwardian society principles of opulence and

grandeur, we shifted our expectations of beauty to something that reflected simplicity and

functionality. In the 1930s, cleanliness became a very significant motif (Dowling, 1993); and

unsurprisingly, this design feature still holds true in most retail stores today. Cleanliness lent

itself to minimalism and eventually the architecture and furniture of the Mid-Century Modern era

became a commercial space staple. This design era is most famously noted for its incredible

blend of form, function, and the use of ordinary materials to make extraordinary things. A

federal law during the early 1940s limited construction costs to two hundred dollars per year

prompting designers to create modular products that offered users great flexibility (Whiton &

Ambercrombie, 2002). Smooth surfaces, hard materials, neutral color palettes, unadorned

furnishings, and spacious layouts are some examples of mid-century design features; many of

which are frequently used in chic hotels and high-fashion retail stores today.

Shopping Experience.

Over the past several decades, retail environments have become responsible for not only

articulating the retailer's image philosophy, but now, must also present a value proposition to the






























Figure C-9. Modified Store, Alternate View


Figure C-10. Modified Store, Alternate View









matched her belief. Both groupings of statements encompassed design and non-design related

factors, including the shopper's mood at the time of the survey administration, her attitude

towards the overall shopping experience, and her willingness to purchase environmentally

sensitive clothing. In the same way green practices have become a near standard within the

construction and design arena, they are also gaining momentum in the apparel industry as

witnessed by such labels as Edun, Loomstate, and American Apparel. Although the latter is not

entirely relevant to the current study, it is of personal interest to the researcher to examine the

study population's general opinion towards environmentally safe clothing.

Likert-Scales

The Likert Scale is a valid tool for accurately measuring attitudes (Sommer & Sommer,

2002). A collection of various ideas and beliefs on a certain topic are collected. After

eliminating all viewpoints that don't have a distinctively favorable or distinctively unfavorable

estimation, the statements are then positioned on a survey next to a degree of agreement

continuum (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). The respondents record their level of concurrence by

marking the category (Strongly Agree, Agree, Undecided, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) that

most appropriately fits their opinion (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). It is important that the

statements distinguish between a positive and negative perspective in order to analyze the results

accurately.

Participant Sampling

The study population was gathered by approaching female shoppers as they came into the

boutique. Before requesting that the shopper participate in the study, she was asked if she had

visited the store in the past. Because some survey questions assumed the respondent had made

previous visits to the boutique, only those shoppers that had been to the store before were

eligible to participate. Qualified participants were then informed of the study's intent to examine









The last section of the survey asked participants to rate their opinions toward five

statements on a 5-point Likert-Scale. If given a rating of a five, the statement was strongly

agreed with, while given a rating of one, the statement was strongly disagreed with. When asked

whether respondents were satisfied with their shopping experience, 55% 'strongly agreed',

42.5% 'agreed', and just one individual (or 2.5%) had a 'neutral' opinion. Using a rating of 5

as being strongly agree, the overall mean of shopping experience satisfaction was 4.52.

Table 3-15. Shopping Experience Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Strongly 22 55.0 55.0
Agree
Agree 17 42.5 97.5
Neutral 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

Fourteen participants marked 'agree' as to whether or not they would purchase

environmentally sensitive clothing, with thirteen each reporting 'strongly agree' and 'neutral' as

their clothing type propensity. The mean across responses was 4.00, with a rating of 5 as

'strongly agree'.

Table 3-16. Propensity to Buy Environmentally Sensitive Clothing
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Strongly 13 32.5 32.5
Agree
Agree 14 35.0 67.5
Neutral 13 32.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

The majority (or 37.5%) of respondents 'agreed' that their shopping was frequent at the

boutique, whereas another 30% believed their shopping frequency to be 'neutral'. Another five

respondents (or 12.5%) 'strongly agreed' that they shopped frequently at this particular boutique.









literature exists on the impact upscale-boutiques' total store environments may have on

customers' emotional responses and their prospective buying and loyalty decisions. The review

of literature is broken down into five main parts relevant to consumers' evaluations of upscale

store environments 1) female apparel boutique retailers/shoppers; 2) total store environment; 3)

shopping experience; 4) consumer behavior; and 5) methodological practices.

Female Apparel Boutique Retailers/Shoppers

A boutique, or specialty shop, is typically an independently owned store with an emphasis

on product uniqueness and exceptional service (Bucklin, 1963). As an owner of a female apparel

boutique, the current study's researcher describes the boutique philosophy as a retail business

that targets a niche market of women who shop for recreational and pleasure-seeking purposes.

The target audience of boutique retailers typically has a significant discretionary income and

often associates a social meaning to the places in which they shop (Kincade and Moye, 2003).

Additionally, the specialty shop customer generally desires a more sophisticated store

environment than that of the mall or discount store shopper and prefers clothing that is current

and fashionable (Kincade and Moye, 2003).

A study that examined store patronage and attitudes towards retail store environments

among female apparel consumers revealed that clientele of this retail segment were considered to

be more oriented with the community and were described as "more gregarious, likeable, and

active participants of society" (Kincade and Moye, pg. 61, 2003). The study also found that

customers falling under this niche-shopping category tended to be "competitive, venturesome

and self-confident" (Kincade and Moye, pg. 61, 2003).

Kincade and Moye (2003) proposed that boutique customers are typically recreational

shoppers who prefer a pleasurable store atmosphere with a vast selection of high-quality

merchandise. In addition, this type of shopper is likely to consume less time pondering over









the items that sat on the walls and provided no effective use because it was too high to be utilized

for merchandising purposes. Soiled carpet was pulled up and tack strips were removed exposing

the concrete slab foundation. Applications of Spackle and sandpaper repaired the wall surfaces

where deconstruction had occurred. Fixture heads were dismantled from the track lighting strips

and tape was applied to all exposed electrical fittings. Windows were tapped off and the walls

were prepped for the painting process that was to occur the following day. Industrial Kraft paper

was rolled out over the entire floor so as to protect the raw surface from paint and debris.

The ceiling and walls were coated with an ultra-white paint, enhancing the size and

brightness of the interior space. A flat finish was chosen in order to disguise any small

imperfections on the surface. Galvanized pipe assemblies were used for the wall fixtures that

hang clothing. The fabrication of customized shelves also took place using one-inch thick, two-

by-four boards that had been cut to various lengths and then stained to a deep walnut finish. A

clear, lacquer was applied over the double-coated stain in order to make the surface more

resilient to wear, as well as easier to clean. The track head lighting which underwent an easy, yet

effective transformation was reinstalled. By simply repainting the vanilla cans with a vibrant

white lacquer spray, the fixtures looked as if they were brand new. A damask vinyl wall

covering was hung on the back wall. This decorative feature not only tied in the green and gold

color scheme while adding a dose of femininity, but also drew the shopper to the rear of the

store. It enabled what was otherwise a very open, austere space to have a sense of enclosure and

a feeling of hominess. When the time came to seal the floors, a thick, viscous solvent was rolled

out to create a smoother surface that would be impervious to imbedded dirt, as well as offer a

shiny, more reflective finish.











Voluntary participation:

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not
participating.

Right to withdraw from the study:

You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence.

Whom to contact if you have questions about the study:

Lori Anderson, Graduate Student, Department of Interior Design, 313 ARCH, Phone: (352) 262-
6486

Dr. Debra D. Harris, College of Design, Construction, and Planning, 342 ARCH, Office: (352)
392-0252 ext.457. debraharrisi@ddcp ul1 edu. Fax: (352) 392-7266


Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study:

UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; Office: (352)
392-0433.


Agreement:

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and
I have received a copy of this description.


Participant: Date:


Participant's Legal Guardian Date:
(Needed only if participant is under 18.)


Principal Investigator: Date:





APPRRvFP BY
Inive's;!y o Florida
InritIutitonP Rpvew Board ( RS 02)
Prcte-n1h ._o005- LA- jos
Fo: Usr- Th r ,ch l2 t-_ S































Figure C-5. Modified Store, Denim Area


Figure C-6. Modified Store, Jewelry Display











APPENDIX F
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD


UNIVERSITY OF

FLORIDA

Institutional Review Board 93 Psychology Bldg
PO Box 112250
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
Phone: 522) 192 0423
Fax: (352) 392-9234
-mail: irb2@ufledu
http//irb.ufl.edu/irb02


DATE: November 30, 2005

TO: Lori Anderson
313 Arch
Campus

FROM: Ira S. Rschler, PhD, Chair 'EF/Tf
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02

SUBJECT: Approval of Protocol #2005-U-1045
TITLE: Preferred lighting elements for establishing a positive mood in clientele shopping within
a trendy, fashion boutique environment
SPONSOR: Unfunded


I am pleased to advise you that the University of Florida Institutional Review Board has recommended
approval of this protocol. Based on its review, the UFIRB determined that this research presents no
more than minimal risk to participants. Given your protocol, it is essential that you obtain signed
documentation of informed consent from each participant. Enclosed is the dated, IRB-approved
informed consent to be used when recruiting participants for the research.

It is essential that each of your participants sign a copy of your approved informed
consent that bears the IRB stamp and expiration date.

If you wish to make any changes to this protocol, including the need to increase the number of
participants authorized, you must disclose your plans before you implement them so that the Board can
assess their impact on your protocol. In addition, you must report to the Board any unexpected
complications that affect your participants.

If you have not completed this protocol by November 21, 2006, please telephone our office (392-
0433), and we will discuss the renewal process with you. It is important that you keep your
Department Chair informed about the status of this research protocol.

ISF:dl/tf




Equal Opportunity/Afinative Action Instituon









be of considerable importance to convey this information to various retail professionals for

further use.

Mood

Mood has a profound effect on evaluation outcomes. Often, we perceive things as

wonderful and pleasurable when we are personally feeling positive and happy and, vice-versa.

The survey asked respondents to indicate their mood so that, if relevant, correlations between

mood and various elements could be made. Due to the results of the study, the need to further

isolate a variable and correlate with mood was unnecessary. A mean of 3.85 indicated that the

sample's overall mood was neither extraordinarily high nor low, providing reasonable assurance

that the shoppers' perceptions of the store were not notably impacted by the moods they

experienced at the time of the study.

Location

Location was an element that could not undergo any physical alterations. However, by

including this component on the survey, the owner was provided with a quantitative assessment

of how her customers perceive the store's location. This information is very helpful to a retail

business owner. Although a majority of the respondents evaluated the location as good, eleven

specified it was neutral and one even felt it was bad. Another six respondents reported the

location was very good resulting in a range of opinions. This may imply that the location is

currently acceptable, but could possibly work better if moved elsewhere. Relocation would only

be a consideration if the owner felt that the potential of higher profits outweighs the cost of

moving. This is an extensive examination, requiring awareness of economic growth patterns and

access to future local development projects.









discussed in the following chapter, as is the consideration of specific modifications in order to

create a more statistically sound research project.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Bart Weitz for participating on my committee and taking an

interest in this study. I am fascinated by the compelling influences marketing has on business

success and how these can be further augmented by the in-store experience. Dr. Weitz's

statistical methods knowledge and retail management expertise were instrumental in developing

the foundation of this study. Additionally, his business insight enabled me to bridge the gap

between a marketing undergraduate degree and the interior design focus of my current degree.

I would also like to thank Karly Childers for playing a very important role in the

completion of this study-the permission to carry out the entire study in her boutique. Karly

contributed a significant amount of money and time to this cause, not to mention her trust. I am

most appreciative to have been given such an unbelievable opportunity!

And, David, my saving grace, I am absolutely certain I could not have done this without

him-dog-duty, countless 'thesis' weekends, presentation run-throughs, retail fact queries, and,

of course, continual encouragement, support, laughter, and love.

Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Debra Harris. As my committee chair person, Dr. Harris

demonstrated commitment, knowledge, interest, patience, and most of all-support. She was

always accessible; frequently, choosing to put her own priorities on hold in order to help me out.

I am so thankful to have had her as a professor and mentor, but even more so, as a friend.









LIST OF TABLES

Table page

3-1 D em graphics A ge .......................... ...................... ... .. ............. ........ 39

3-3 Demographics Preferred Time of Day to Shop.................. ............. ............... 40

3-4 D em graphics Social Influences.......................................................... ............... 40

3-5 C custom er L loyalty C om posite ........................................ .............................................4 1

3-6 Shopper M ood E valuation ........................................................................ ...................42

3-7 Store L location E valuation ......................................................................... ...................42

3-8 Store A tm sphere E valuation ........................................ .............................................42

3-9 Store D design E valuation .......................................................................... ....................43

3-10 C olor Schem e E value action ......................................................................... ...................43

3-11 General Store Lighting Evaluation .............................................................................43

3-12 Fitting Room Lighting Evaluation........................................ ............... ............... 44

3-13 P product V variety E valuation ........................................................................ ..................44

3-14 Custom er Service Evaluation.................................................. ............................... 44

3-15 Shopping E experience E valuation ............................................................ .....................45

3-16 Propensity to Buy Environmentally Sensitive Clothing ...............................................45

3-17 Shopping Frequency at the B outique..................................................................... ...... 46

3-18 Purchase V olum e of D iscounted Product.................................. ..................................... 46

3-19 Boutique Recom m endation to Friends......................................... .......................... 47

3-20 Correlations Store Attributes and Customer Loyalty Composite ...................................47

3-21 ANOVA Respondents' Shopping Intentions Effect on Customer Loyalty ....................48

3-22 ANOVA Preferred Time of Day to Shop Effect on Customer Loyalty..........................49

3-23 ANOVA Social Influences Effect on Customer Loyalty..............................................49

3-24 ANOVA Age Effect on Customer Loyalty..................................................................49









The combination of all the participants' levels of shopping frequency opinions resulted in a mean

rating of 3.35, using a 'strongly agree' rating of 5.

Table 3-17. Shopping Frequency at the Boutique
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Strongly Agree 5 12.5 12.5
Agree 15 37.5 50.0
Neutral 12 30.0 80.0
Disagree 5 12.5 92.5
Strongly
strongly 3 7.5 100.0
Disagree
Total 40 100.0

Interestingly, five respondents reported a disagreement when asked if they purchased more

clothing when items were discounted one 'strongly disagreed', while four others 'disagreed'.

Another twelve respondents were neutral towards the question. Fifteen 'agreed' that they buy

more when products are discounted and just five 'strongly agreed' with the discount notion. A

mean of 3.82 resulted, using a 5 rating as 'strongly agree'.

Table 3-18. Purchase Volume of Discounted Product
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Strongly Agree 12 30.0 30.0
Agree 15 37.5 67.5
Neutral 8 20.0 87.5
Disagree 4 10.0 97.5
Strongly
strongly 1 2.5 100.0
Disagree
Total 40 100.0

Twenty-nine respondents reported that they 'strongly agree' with the statement that asks

whether they recommend the boutique to friends. Another nine selected 'agree', with the two

remaining respondents indicating that they were 'neutral' to the question. Using a rating of 5 as

being 'strongly agree', the overall customer service evaluation had a mean of 4.67.









CHAPTER 3
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

In this chapter, the quantitative results describing the customers' perceptions and reactions

to the store are discussed. First, the procedure used to collect the data and characteristics of the

respondents are examined, followed by a review of the methods used to analyze the data.

Finally, the results of the analysis are explained.

During the time period between February 1, 2006 and March 31, 2006, a random selection

of the boutique's customers was asked to complete a questionnaire (Appendix D). The

questionnaire assessed the demographic information about the respondents and their attitudes

toward the store. The responses to the survey were entered into an Excel spread sheet and

exported to SPSS, a statistical analysis software package, for analysis.

Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistics were run on the raw data collected from the sample. This type of data

classification is used in order to summarize the quantitative figures into manageable portions

(Sommer & Sommer, 2002). It is a way of assigning numerical descriptions to a sample and is

typically performed against categorical and interval measures (Sommer & Sommer, 2002).

Categorical measures contain variables that are discrete. A question that asks a respondent to

explain his/her hair color and then offers blond, brown, red, or gray as options is an example of a

categorical measure. Interval measures involve variables that have a variety of levels along a

continuum. A question containing a degree of agreement scale generates interval data.

Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample

A greater part of the sample (67.5%) fell into the age category of 18-22. This statistic did

not come as any surprise due to the typical demographics of a large state-university based town.











APPENDIX E
INFORMED CONSENT DOCUMENT


Informed Conseno

Prnotol Title: Preferred li.hting clements for establishing a positive mood in clientele shopping
*. ih n a trerd, fashion boutique environment

Pleats ru tids consnt document carerNlv before mvu &ecde to nartlicate in ihis sludJ.


Purpose of the research study:

The purpoac of the study is to determine what store design and operational aLtribLes, specifically
lighting, are preferred in order to create a positive mood for ciLentele shopping in a trendy,
fashion real setting.

What yo will meed to do in the study:

If you agree to participate, you will be given a questionnaire lhat asks eighteen quesliors. Please
check only one answer for each question. The first portion of the quesolinnaire contains basic
dcnIogrphiv infoniation. The second portion asks you to rate ten different elermenL relating to
your opinion ofTe Little Black Dress store design and operaional attributes. There is space
provided on the questionnaire to record your results.

Time required:

5-10 minuics

Risks nnd benefts:

This study is considered to have no more than minimal risk to participant Potential benefits of
the smidy include cusmnier-informned store improvements for The Little Black Dress.
Additionall,. this study will help designers and store planners provide customers a more
enjoyable shopping experience tIFough evidence-based design solutions.

Compenslloon:

You will receive a 5% discount coupon that can be redeemed in the month in which Lhe coupon
was issued. The discount will be applied to your total phase. Please note this coupon cannot
be combined with any other offers or promotions.

Con fidentdllit :

Your identliy will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your information wit he
assigned code numbers as seen in ihe uppcT ricEh portion of the survey. These code numbers are
for tracking times and dales only. When the study is completed and the data have teen analyzed,
the coded list will be destroyed.
APR"OLVFtP fY
Ufliw'al" y V, Fibriia
|n*Wl;,iipnql; .. i *i', 1, (Zri
fir-fr-fp ^v-5 Lrap^'j
Fr- I.aTh-,- q44n -.6 W









when determining how humans interact with their surroundings place-centered and person-

centered (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Place-centered maps reveal how people position

themselves within a space, whereas person-centered maps concentrate on people's movement

and behavior over a period of time (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Continuous observations record

activities over time in a given location and can often reveal problems that occur in that particular

setting (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Furthermore, this form of observation can reveal social and

psychological behaviors, as well as provide insight to the relationship between participants and

the environment (Zeisel, 1981). Limitations of behavior mapping include a need for additional

forms of data collection in order to support the observed findings and, if there is more than one

observer, data collection consistency can be compromised (Sommer & Sommer, 2002).

Behavior mapping was used in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how

shoppers reacted to the boutique's existing design, and specifically the layout. A footprint

drawing of the original layout (Appendix A) was created using AutoCAD 2004, a widely

accepted computer aided design program used by most design professionals. The map was

structured similar to a zone-blocking diagram in that it listed different areas of merchandise by

purchasing nature. In general, retail merchandisers and strategists encourage product placement

to correspond with shoppers' intentions to buy. Consequently, impulse purchases are typically

located near the front of the store and close to the point-of-purchase stations, while demand

products are positioned towards the back of the store. This product placement methodology is

believed to draw the customer through the entire store while encouraging them to pass by

convenience goods that have been placed in the center section of the space. The boutique's

present merchandising style employed this type of strategy; therefore, by using the behavior

mapping technique the researcher was able to investigate if the store's current merchandising









Table 3-19. Boutique Recommendation to Friends
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Strongly Agree 29 72.5 72.5
Agree 9 22.5 95.0
Neutral 2 5.0 100.0
Total 40 100.0

Correlation

Correlations between the independent variables of customer attitudes towards store

attributes and the dependent variable of overall customer loyalty were determined in order to

measure the impact of each factor on overall customer loyalty. A table detailing these results is

listed below.

Table 3-20. Correlations Store Attributes and Customer Loyalty Composite

Customer Loyalty
Evaluation
Store Attributes Mood .153
Location .183
Store Atmosphere .-0.064
Store Design .083
Store Colors .460
General Lighting .242
Fitting Rooms Lighting .029
Product Variety .045
Customer Service .183

The statistical analysis revealed that none of the store attributes had a significant effect on

overall customer loyalty other than the color scheme. It is postulated that the lack of significance

may have occurred due to the small sample size and an overall pre-existing high loyalty rating

amongst the participating shoppers. Basically, because the respondents were to have previously

visited the store in order to qualify for the study, it is likely that the data is skewed towards an

existing high loyalty towards the store regardless of the environmental changes that occurred.

This dynamic created a ceiling effect, whereby there was no variation in the data.










CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW

Background

The history of a typical American retail store dates back as far as the late 1700s (Jones,

1936). This classic retail store was commonly referred to as a general store that offered a variety

of non-departmentalized goods, ranging from glassware and hardware to groceries and dry goods

(Jones, 1936). As the U.S. population grew and the country became wealthier, a desire to

improve the American home and lifestyle emerged. In response, American retailers began to

specialize in certain products and services, enabling shop owners to offer consumers a more

diversified selection of goods and services within a specific domain (Jones, 1936). Apparel

retailers were no strangers to this growing market segment and followed suit when they began

forming specialty shops in the 1850s with an emphasis on ready-to-wear clothing (Jones, 1936).

One researcher (Jones, 1936) defined specialty shops as "retail stores that handle only one type

of merchandise" (pg.134). Women's contemporary clothing sold in an upscale boutique is an

example of this form of specialty shop.

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 Retail Trade Survey indicated that women's clothing

stores' annual sales have increased 24% since 1998 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). This statistic

inherently supports the notion that the act of consuming clothing has also risen. In today's

techno-savvy world, the shopping environment can entail more than a physical place making it

increasingly difficult for retailers to differentiate solely on the basis of merchandise (Baker,

Levy, & Grewal, 1992; Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Retailers and marketers are progressively

exposing themselves to consumers through methods of Internet sites, television infomercials,

telemarketing calls, and direct mails (Ng, 2002; Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Consequently, the

convenience and variety offered through these 'virtual channels' might present a challenge to









Another researcher who studied the correlation between television viewing and the

perception of store image and shopping frequency defined store image as, "...a complex of

meanings and relationships serving to characterize the store for people" (Arons, pg.1, 1961).

This assertion parallels consumer behaviorist, Kenneth Boulding's (1956), claim that the nature

of humans is to assign symbolic interpretations to the vast complexity of values and meanings

(Arons, 1961). In these descriptions, meanings are outlined as the attributes or dimensions,

while relationships unify the various attributes together (Lindquist, 1974-5). In other words, an

upscale boutique may want its individual attributes of store design, merchandise, service

personnel, and pricing to collectively convey a store that represents sophistication, quality,

exclusiveness, and high-social class. This relationship between separate components and their

affect on the consumer's perceived value of store image will likely impact the shopper's

evaluation of the total store environment.

A different study that examined behaviors and their relationships to store image found that

image development occurs over time through the reinforcement of consumers' pre-determined

criterion (Kunkel & Berry, 1968). Researchers, Kunkel and Berry, (1968) contended that

"...retail store image is the total conceptualized or expected reinforcement that a person

associates with shopping at a particular store" (pg. 22). While the development of a product or

brand requires reinforcement and constancy (Kunkel & Berry, 1968), the creation of positive

store image may also require the use of repetitive encouraging signals. It is then probable that

the use of applied design solutions that have been implemented in successful high fashion retail

settings may generate positive reinforcement signals and, consequently, facilitate a favorable

boutique store image in the eyes of consumers.









There were no participants under the age of 18 years. Seven of the participants were between 23

and 30, while six shoppers fell into the 31-40 age category.

Table 3-1. Demographics Age
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid 18-22 27 67.5 67.5
23-30 7 17.5 85.0
31-40 6 15.0 100.0
Total 40 100.0

The largest majority of the participants (57.5%) stated they shopped for leisurely

purposes, while another 30% said they shopped with leisurely intents combined with general

clothing needs, special occasions, and/or 'other' reasons. This did not come as surprise as it has

been shown that young consumers are more likely to have a greater tendency to shop for

recreational purposes (Boedecker, 1997). Both, special occasion and the 'other' category were

2.5% of total respondents' reasons for shopping. Alternatively, special occasion was listed

32.5% of the time when combined with leisure, general clothing needs, and/or 'other'. Five-

percent of the participants declared general clothing needs were their main motive for shopping

whereas 20% of shoppers included general clothing needs as one of several reasons for shopping.

Table 3-2. Demographics Shopping Intentions
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Leisure (1) 23 57.5 57.5
Special occasion (2) 1 2.5 60.0
General clothing 2 5.0 65.0
needs (3)
Other (4) 1 2.5 67.5
1,2,3,4 7 17.5 85.0
1,2 2 5.0 90.0
2,4 1 2.5 92.5
1,2,3 1 2.5 95.0
1,2,4 2 5.0 100.0
Total 40 100.0











APPENDIX A
FOOTPRINT OF ORIGINAL BOUTIQUE LAYOUT

Below is the form used for the behavior mapping exercise. The footprint is of the

boutique's existing floor plan. It is not to scale, however it is proportionately representative of

the spatial relations and product placement methodologies.


Please document the behavior of customers by placing a number at eadc of their destinations as they move through
the store (see example 1 below entry). Record any verbal Interaction with sales personnel or gestural cues made
while looking at merchandise. Use bacd of paper or additioal notes, f needed.


TIME NOTES:

_______@ ---


_______(-)-


Did they buy?__


If so, purchase amount? # of items?__
BM.1


It---









LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

B -l E existing Store E ntry R eight Side.............................................................. .....................70

B -2 Existing Store Entry Left Side ......................................... ...... ................................. 70

B -3 E existing Store C ash W rap ................................................................................ ...... ...7 1

B -4 Existing Store Line-of-Sight ....................................................................... .. 71

B -5 Existing Store D enim A rea ......... .................................... ........................ ............... 72

B -6 Existing Store Jew elry D isplay...................... .... .................. ................... ............... 72

B -7 E existing Store D display s........................................................................... .....................73

B -8 E existing Store-D display s .......................................................................... .....................73

C-l M odified Store, Entry Right Side ............................................ .............................. 74

C-2 M modified Store, Entry Left Side................................................ ............................. 74

C -3 M modified Store, C ash W rap ....................................................................... ..................75

C -4 M modified Store, L ine-of-Sight ............................................ ......................................... 75

C -5 M modified Store, D enim A rea...................................................................... ..................76

C-6 M odified Store, Jew elry D display ............................................... ............................ 76

C -7 M modified Store, D display s ......................................................................... ....................77

C -8 M modified Store, D display s ......................................................................... ....................77

C-9 M odified Store, A alternate V iew ................................................ ............................. 78

C-10 M odified Store, A alternate V iew ................................................ ............................. 78













8









location of store, 3) merchandise variety, and 4) service quality were shown to have highly

favorable ratings amongst the pooled clientele. All of the respondents were female with the

majority falling between the ages of 18-22. The highest number of participants preferred to shop

between 2-4pm and were made aware of the shop predominantly through word-of-mouth. These

women reported shopping mostly for leisurely purposes and were not strongly influenced by

sales and markdowns. Results of the study show that an eclectically stylized fashion boutique,

which encompassed both urban and feminine features was appropriate for an apparel boutique

targeting trendy, college-aged/young professional women. An open layout that promoted social

interaction by incorporating home-like furniture arrangements was also well received. The use

of a mostly neutral color scheme with soft green and gold accents was positively evaluated, as

was the utilization of the perimeter wall space for a majority of the merchandise display

techniques.

The ANOVA analysis found that the most loyal of customers reported shopping between

2-4pm and fell between the ages of 31-40 years. It was also suggested that among the most

loyal were those who shop predominantly for special occasions, meaning they select this

boutique first when they are looking to buy something for an important occasion. Despite these

findings, customer demographics of shopping intentions, preferred time of day to shop, social

influences, and age were not shown to share a statistically significant relationship with overall

customer loyalty, due to the limited sample size.

Limitations of the Research

When understanding the results of the study, it is important to consider the limitations.

First, the sample population was gathered in a non-random fashion from the boutique's existing

customer base resulting in a positive response bias. These customers had previously patronized

the store and by revisiting the shop, it is postulated that these individuals already hold favorable









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Hattwick, M. (1950). How to use Psychology for Better Advertising. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
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Hayter, S. and Torcellini, P. (2000). A case study of the energy design process used for a retail
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Madison, WI.

Howell, D. (2002) Kmart: Improve the in-store experience-give the consumer a reason to return.
DSNRetailing Today, 41, 5, 30;51.

Jay, P. (2002). Review: Subjective criteria for lighting design. Lighting Research & Technology,
34, 2, 87-99.

Jones, F. (1936). Retail Stores in the United States. Journal ofMarketing, 1, 2, 134-142).

Jones, M. (1999). Entertaining shopping experiences: An exploratory investigation. Journal of
Retailing and Consumer Services, 6, 129-139.

Kelly, R. (1967). The semantic differential: an information source for designing retail patronage
appeals. Journal ofMarketing, 31, 4, 43-47.

Kerfoot, S., Davies, B., and Ward, P. (2003). Visual merchandising and the creation of
discernible retail brands. International Journal ofRetail & Distribution Management, 31,
3, 143-152.

Kincade, D. and Moye, L. (2003). Shopping orientation segments: exploring differences in store
patronage and attitudes toward retail store environments among female apparel consumers.
International Journal of Consumer Studies, 27, 1, 58-71.

Kotler, P. (1973). Atmospherics as a marketing tool. Journal ofRetailing, 49,4 48-64.

Kumar, R. (2005). Research Methodology. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Kunkel, J. and Berry, L. (1968). A behavioral concept of retail images. Journal ofMarketing,
32, 22.

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Luomala, H. (2003). Understanding how retail environments are perceived: a conceptualization
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states (pleasure or arousal) from these cues, and then translates their emotions into

approach/avoidance behaviors, such as the willingness to buy (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982).

Pleasure induced by the store environment has been proven to have a positive correlation

with consumer satisfaction (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982). Favorable responses may include

positive word-of-mouth, repeat visits, and an increased amount of time spent in the store, which

research has shown often results in a greater likelihood to buy (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982).

Unfavorable responses may consist of negative word-of-mouth, lack of customer loyalty, and

reduced amount of time spent in the store.

Donovan and Rossiter's (1982) study was fundamental to the retail environment's body of

knowledge as it established validity in the connection between physical retail settings, emotional

states, and behavioral intentions (Baker et al., 1992). However, their study didn't provide

retailers with what specific environmental factors influence general levels of satisfaction or

specific types of behaviors (Baker et al., 1992).

Theory and Methods

A multi-method case study was used to examine the effects of an eclectic store design on

customer satisfaction in an upscale-women's apparel boutique. There are several studies that

have used the case study research design to examine the multitude of variables that impact

consumers while shopping in the store environment. A variety of data collection tools were

employed in these studies, including observations, prototypes/field experiments, surveys, and

content analyses.

Observation is a widely used systematic application when dissecting a phenomenological

incident and is often used by researchers who study organizations they are affiliated with

(Sommer & Sommer, 2002). One example of a case study that used observational data

collection is Douglas's (1949) examination, which determined that the general retail market of a









Eventually the merchandise was returned to the store, and, in addition to receiving a fresh,

new look for her boutique, the owner was given a unique opportunity to conduct a systematic

and exceedingly thorough physical inventory check. As each item was taken off the truck, it was

entered into the computer and verified as on-hand inventory. Although tedious and time-

consuming, this process was invaluable to the business operator by enabling every article to

become accounted for that may have otherwise been overlooked if conducted in a fully stocked

store. A physical inventory assessment is necessary in all retail environments due to the

unavoidable nature of stolen goods and mislabeled units. It is typically performed on a quarterly

and year-end basis.

Rugs were strategically laid to designate certain zones and furnishings were placed to

denote dwelling areas. Demarcation of these zones was carefully considered during the

conceptual phases of design. The designer was fully aware that these areas must have a logical

orientation for both the user and the service providers. Additionally, these designated zones

should integrate seamlessly across one another and read as one whole unit in this case, a

sophisticated-fashion house. The intent was to create an environment that had meaning or an

emotional significance to its users. Incorporating a sitting area made up of furniture commonly

seen in residential environments supported this notion. A Victorian tufted sofa upholstered in a

golden-green silk damask fabric offset two occasional chairs. A once shabby table was

refinished to resemble an Art Deco period piece and was placed in the middle of the furniture

pieces adding further sophistication and grandeur to this newly assigned social zone. Other

freestanding furnishings were placed around the space with the intention of deliberately guiding

shoppers through various parts of the store in an unobtrusive and natural manner. The new

layout was designed to be open and spacious while still effectively promoting fashion and style









Order and complexity are interior design elements that may impact shoppers' emotions and

purchase intentions (Gilboa and Rafaeli, 2003). Environmental complexity often involves visual

richness, ornamentation, assortment, and variety in an environment (Nasar, 2000). Complexity

results when there are more variables and an increased amount of richness is present within the

space (Nasar, 2000). Examples of complexity may include the implementation of an overall

eclectic design style; a variation of scales and proportions; a combination of freestanding

furniture and manufactured merchandise displays; or even a mixed use of materials.

Alternatively, the order of an environment is represented by coherence, organization,

appropriateness, and clarity (Nasar, 2000). Order within the retail environment may refer to the

layout, aisle widths; merchandise displays, signage and the ability to navigate easily. Order is

unique in that it has been shown to influence the human mind beyond that of complexity. For

example, if a space is perceived as overwhelmingly complex, but has significant order, the

overall evaluation is often positive (Berlyne, 1970). Whereas, a complex environment with little

order typically results in a negative evaluation (Berlyne, 1970).

Another very important feature of retail design is the fixtures that display the merchandise

(Kerfoot, Davies & Ward, 2003). A study that examined the creation of discernible retail brands

through visual merchandising found that although displays may not necessarily guarantee

purchase, they do make it four times as likely that a purchase will take place (Kerfoot et al.,

2003). An additional case study, which examined records from Woodwards, a century old

department store in Vancouver, found that visitors preferred simple and less elaborate fixtures

(Dowling, 1993). Dowling (1993) uncovered that this highly successful department store

"facilitated the creation of a clean, uncluttered, spacious and streamlined environment" (pg. 307).









Implications for Research Findings

Interior designers are consistently charged with creating spaces that are both aesthetically

appealing, yet intuitively functional. In fashion retail spaces, other than merchandise, the

physical design elements ultimately dictate a certain style making it important to understand the

feelings customers have towards specific design features. It may also be of significance for

designers to be aware of how customer characteristics, such as age and reasons for shopping,

influence attitudes towards design features. This is especially beneficial when retailers are

targeting a specific market because designers can then tailor the store design to reflect those

preferences of the intended customer base.

Although specific to one particular apparel boutique, these findings may be useful to other

designers and retailers when determining what attributes effect consumers' overall store

evaluations. Due to the nature of the experimental method, particular design features were

selected and then actually implemented in a real environment, lending credibility to the accuracy

of the evaluations. In essence, participants were truly experiencing an interaction with the

environment, rather than just presuming what their reactions might be through photos or mock-

ups. Additionally, the results may offer potential solutions for designers to consider when

designing high-fashion retail environments.

Comfort level with the store environment plays an influential role on shoppers' length of

stay, as well as their likelihood to return. As previous research has shown (Donovan and

Rossiter, 1982), the more time shoppers spend in a given store, the more likely they are to make

a purchase. As a result, designers have the potential of significantly increasing a business's

bottom line if they incorporate design techniques that hold patrons in a shop for an extended

period of time. The design knowledge and business information presented here offers both

retailers and designers a mixed use of solutions to consider when developing women's apparel









overall theme of the space (i.e., contemporary vs. traditional; open layout vs. controlled, etc.),

while the color scheme consisted of the color palette and material selections. Lastly, lighting

pertained to the general shopping area and within the fitting rooms. Shoppers were asked to

evaluate their individual perceptions of the store's specific features, and then record their

feelings on a 5-point Likert Scale.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere generally pertains to the arousal of sensory cues within an environment. The

designer/researcher incorporated atmospheric components that were believed to connect with the

target market's lifestyle. A clean, pleasant smell was easily maintained through frequent

cleaning and the use of fresh scented plug-in deodorizers. Achieving suitable temperature

conditions was far more challenging. The dated building had inadequate insulation, which

frequently caused temperature extremes to occur. In efforts to improve such conditions, quick

fix-its that conveyed a more pleasurable setting were implemented. For example, during the

cooler winter months, candles were lit and hot beverages were often served in order to promote

warmth and coziness. In temperate conditions, propping the front door open allowed oxygen-

filled air and outdoor breezes to enter, while in the hotter seasons, it is suggested the front door

remain shut with oscillating fans placed around the space and the thermostat set at a moderate

position. Shoppers may feel a sense of coolness just by experiencing the hum of fans and the

movement of air.

After the renovation, the store encompassed more hard surfaces and an increase in spatial

volume. The sound absorption capacity of the space was reduced through the extinction of

fiberboard slat-walls along the periphery, and the removal of merchandising floor fixtures.

Although intended, these renovations, as well as the newly exposed concrete flooring condition

reverberated sound greater than before. The new acoustic characteristics of the space were









correlate with overall customer loyalty. Research has shown that the combination of a store's

physical features and non-design factors significantly contribute to shoppers' assessments of

total store environment and should be considered when determining consumers' overall image of

the business (Moore & Fairhurst, 2003). Because of the changing nature of apparel and footwear,

researchers and marketing strategists have long encouraged fashion retailers to grow their

businesses by subscribing to marketing practices that appropriately target the 'trendy' customer

(Moore & Fairhurst, 2003). For that reason, this research project, which initially planned to

examine only physical design features, extended its analysis to include non-design retail business

components. The research will focus on four physical design elements 1) lighting, 2) color

scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) overall style/design, as well as four non-design

elements 1) mood of shopper, 2) location of store, 3) merchandise variety, and 4) service quality.

Observation

Observation is a method used for collecting data and is considered to be very effective

when attempting to ascertain how people interact with their physical environment (Kumar,

2005). There are two forms of observation: participatory and non-participatory. The former of

which the researcher participates in the activities with the group being observed and the latter is

when the researcher draws conclusions through passive observation (Kumar, 2005). Observation

enables the researcher to gather natural reactions from a population that may otherwise be

construed if participants are directly asked questions (Kumar, 2005). On the other hand, if the

population becomes aware that they are being observed they may alter their behavior to suit the

situation, known as the Hawthorne Effect (Kumar, 2005). Additionally, observer bias can

sometimes occur which causes data inaccuracy to be reported (Kumar, 2005).

Behavior mapping is a form of observation that records people's behavior in a physical

environment (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Two types of behavior mapping are commonly used









The results of the ANOVA analysis revealed that the most loyal customers appear to shop

from 2-4pm (Table 3-22) and are 31-40 years old (Table 3-24). Additionally, these loyal

shoppers selected special occasion (Table 3-21) as their main motivator for shopping; however,

none of the results qualify as statistically significant due to the marginal differences in the means

of the customer loyalty composite measures for shopping time of day, customer age, and source

of information about the store. This was the result of the lack of variation across a small sample

size









and prices/promotions. Comparable to the current study nearly half of the respondents were

between the ages of 18-23 (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). This may indicate that young women

make up a large part of apparel retail revenue when the store is located in a college town.

Results of the study revealed that consumers are most critical of department store attributes and

amenities and feel that appealing merchandise is the key to being a desirable place to shop

(Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Furthermore, the findings showed that as customers' educational

levels increase so does their standards of store attributes (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003).











APPENDIX D
DATA COLLECTION TOOL


The Little Bhk Dress Customer Satisfaction Survey


D
T___-


Thank you foc participating in this survey. B1 completing this questionnaire you will help us
to cowrinue it meet our beloved customer needs and wants! Please do not include your name
as to keep all responses anonymous. Oce you are fnshed completing the survey. please
drop it in the designated tox and receive your 20% discount coupon from a salesperson.
Happy Shopping'


1. Why do yea ibop?
Lensure
Special occasion
Having a sale
Genrals clothing needs
Other (please describe)


2. What time of day do yoe most prefer
to shop?
- lOam-12pm
12pn-pnpm
_2pm-4pm
__4p-epm
Otbh a__


f


3 How did you hear o The Litte Black

FriCadIRIlativ
C__Oaesville Sim
_Radio advenisorenn
Magazc _(pflat describe)
Other _.(lasc descnbcl


4. What is yur agent
Under Is please ipecify
1]-22
23-30
3140
Over 40


Plese indicatr te en car of your attitude by placing a tick in tte apprpriate column.
Very Wad Netal Good
Bad
Today. I describe my mood as:
. Location of store is
. Slore alrmoiphere is_
The design of the Store LS
The color in the store are
SThe lighting in the shopping area of the store is


a The lighting in the fining rooms is
; The vanety of product is-
Cusiomer service quality is:


Vey
Gtwd


__ I __ _I __ I _


lease indicai e ywr extent o igreemen with he followicm statements by circlg
the number rha bent dscrnbes your Weelings S-- shAr
Aii-m AkM H r-f* nD e-0 .


I am satisfied with my shopping experience.
I would purchase environmentally sensitive clothing,
I shop frequently at The Litle Black Irvss
Sbuy more whin products are discounted.
I recom end The Little Black Dress to my friends.


I 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
S 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5









Using a rating of 5 as being very good, respondents' evaluations of their mood on the day they

participated in the study had a mean of 3.85.

Table 3-6. Shopper Mood Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very Good 7 17.9 17.9
Good 19 48.7 66.7
Neutral 13 33.3 100.0
Total 39 100.0
Missing System 1


Total


Over half of the participants felt the location of the store was good, while one participant

felt it was bad. Fifteen-percent considered the location to be very good and another 27.5%

believed it to be neutral or just okay. Using a rating of 5 as being very good, respondents'

evaluations of the boutique's location had a mean of 3.82.

Table 3-7. Store Location Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very Good 6 15.0 15.0
Good 22 55.0 70.0
Neutral 11 27.5 97.5
Bad 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

A generous 72.5% of shoppers rated the store atmosphere as very good, while the

remaining 27.5% considered it to be good. With a score of 5 measured as very good, the store

atmosphere mean was 4.72.

Table 3-8. Store Atmosphere Evaluation
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid Very Good 29 72.5 72.5
Good 11 27.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0


J









responses and physical aspects of their environment (Thang and Tan, 2003). Thang and Tan

(2003) administered a questionnaire and found that certain store attributes will influence the

proclivity of consumers for certain stores over others (Thang and Tan, 2003). A five-point

Likert Scale was used to evaluate the composite measures of store image attributes

merchandising, store atmosphere, in-store service, accessibility, reputation, promotion, facilities,

and post-transaction service (Thang and Tan, 2003). The Likert Scale has a proven record for

accurately measuring attitudes (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). The Likert Scale was also used in a

study that investigated the effect of consumer perceptions of store attributes on apparel store

preference (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Paulins and Geistfeld's (2003) methodologies and

findings are most relevant to the current study. The investigators surveyed research from the

past 25 years to develop a list of store attributes applicable to apparel retailers (Paulins &

Geistfeld, 2003). They found that attributes of importance differ across types of stores, as well as

customer characteristics (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). For this reason, it is not relevant to

examine all aspects of the store environment if they do not pertain to the store's target market or

type. Additionally, customer demographics, such as age, income brackets, levels of education,

and reasons for shopping affected store choice and the amount of time spent shopping (Paulins &

Geistfeld, 2003). Paulins and Geistfeld (2003) studied 13 stores (7 of which were specialty

shops/boutiques) in a midwestern city that is home to a medium-sized university. A

questionnaire was developed using a five-point Likert Scale to evaluate specific store attributes

the researchers had chosen from previous store attribute studies (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003).

Similar to the current study, Paulins & Geistfeld (2003) handpicked those attributes that were

most significant to that of the store types they were evaluating. Some of these attributes included

advertising, appeal of clothing, displays, dressing rooms, location, service, hours of operation,









ability to ascribe cultural meaning to the shopper's contextual interpretation may very well sculpt

the retailers overall reputation and store image.

Considering the impact store image has proven to have on patronage (Dawson, Bloch &

Ridgeway, 1990), it is of increasing importance for retail designers and store owners to gain a

comprehensive understanding of which factors influence consumers' store selections, buying

decisions, and loyalty considerations. Having knowledge of which of these factors can be

influenced by the store's physical environment, enables designers and retailers to have a more

powerful repository of evidence-based design solutions. The three sectors that stand to benefit

from this research are 1) the retail industry; 2) retail consumers, and specifically, boutique

consumers; and 3) retail design professionals.

This research utilized a multidimensional case study that examined the effects of total store

environment on customer satisfaction in an upscale-women's apparel boutique. The study

hypotheses are

1) the combination of eclectic and clean-lined interiors will evoke a positive psychological
response from the boutique's customers;

2) the retail space redesign, which utilized informed design solutions derived from reviews of
retail design literature and behavior mapping of the existing retail space, will provide a
favorable backdrop against the contemporary styling of the clothing itself; and

3) there is a correlation between customer demographics and customer loyalty.

The expected outcome is to provide design recommendations of alternative store planning for

boutique owners who target a similar clientele. The interior design elements of focus were 1)

lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) overall style/design.

Literature Review

Extensive research has been conducted on the implications of store environments on

consumer satisfaction and buying behaviors (Donovan et al., 1994); however, very little









To examine how the perceived characteristics of the store affected shoppers' overall

attitudes toward the store, a composition measure of overall attitude to the store was formed by

averaging the responses to the questions assessing satisfaction, shopping frequency, and

recommendations to a friend. This composite measure is typically used by market research firms

to measure the overall loyalty of customers based on the contention that devoted customers shop

in the store frequently, are satisfied with their shopping experience, and recommend the store to

friends. The mean for this measure among the sample of customers was 4.18.

Table 3-5. Customer Loyalty Composite
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid 1.00 3 7.5 7.5
1.33 10 25.0 32.5
1.67 13 32.5 65.0
2.00 4 10.0 75.0
2.33 4 10.0 85.0
2.67 3 7.5 92.5
3.00 2 5.0 97.5
3.33 1 2.5 100.0
Total 40 100.0

Evaluation of Store Environment

Contingency tables for each measure pertaining to store attributes were formed. For every

question, the table's cells contained the frequencies of occurrence, indicating how many times

each option was preferred by the respondents. Using this information, the mean was computed

giving the average response for each category. This average is known as a measure of central

tendency. Central tendency is a number that most appropriately distinguishes the sample

population as a whole (Sommer & Sommer, 2002).

Majority of the shoppers or 48.7% rated their mood as good with 33.3% having been in a

neutral mood and 17.9% in a very good mood. One individual did not answer the question.









APPENDIX B
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EXISTING BOUTIQUE'S INTERIOR ENVIRONMENT

The following are photographs of the experimental boutique's pre-existing style, layout,

and other design features.


Figure B-1. Existing Store Entry Right Side


Figure B-2. Existing Store Entry Left Side









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design

CASE STUDY: CUSTOMER EVALUATIONS OF INTERIOR DESIGN ELEMENTS AND
MARKETING FEATURES IN AN UPSCALE WOMEN' S APPAREL BOUTIQUE


By

Lauren N. Anderson

August 2007

Chair: Debra Harris
Major: Interior Design

Women's clothing stores' annual sales are consistently increasing year after year, possibly

indicating that the act of consuming clothing is also rising. With the growing number of 'virtual

channel' retailers, it has become increasingly important for stores to uniquely differentiate

themselves. Research has shown that differentiation can often be achieved through enhancing the

physical store experience and implementing the correct marketing practices. This study

examines shoppers' evaluations towards identified design elements and specific marketing

features, as well as whether a relationship exists between those evaluations and customer loyalty.

In addition to reviewing design and business literature, an observational procedure also informed

the researcher of important design features to consider when redesigning an upscale women's

apparel boutique. These design elements included 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric

conditions, and 4) overall style/design. Another four non-design, but retail related elements were

also examined to uncover shoppers' feelings towards the store's operative components 1) mood,

2) location, 3) product variety, and 4) customer service.

Considering the impact store image has proven to have on patronage, it is of increasing

importance for retail designers and store owners to gain a comprehensive understanding of which









factors influence consumers' store selections, buying decisions, and loyalty considerations.

Knowledge of which factors can positively influence a store's physical environment and what

variations of these features encourage pleasurable reactions amongst shoppers will enable

designers and retailers to have a more powerful repository of evidence-based design solutions.

The three sectors that stand to benefit from this research are 1) the retail industry; 2) retail

consumers, and specifically, boutique consumers; and 3) retail design professionals. The

implications of specific design styles and merchandising techniques on shoppers' perceptions of

total store environment can assist designers when specifying the appropriate features for a

upscale, women's apparel boutique. Additionally, the shoppers' positive evaluations of

alternative merchandising scenarios and unique product display techniques offer design

alternatives to store planners and retail storeowners.

Apparel boutique shoppers were asked to evaluate store design and other various business

operatives on a questionnaire. After the data was collected, descriptive statistics, correlations,

and an ANOVA analysis were run. Positive evaluations were reported across all elements, but

were not shown to be statistically significant, due to a small sample size and a lack of variation

across the data. This skewed data was likely a result of a pre-existing, high-loyalty rating

amongst all the participants, as they were to have visited the store prior to this experience in

order to qualify to participate. As a result, it is postulated that these shoppers already had an

affinity to the store because they came back. Despite the lack of variance, participants reported

shopping mainly for leisurely intents and preferred shopping between the hours of 2-4pm.

Additionally, it was found that those aged 31-40 were the most loyal customers in this case.

Interestingly though, the vast majority of participants were aged 18-22.


































2007 Lauren N. Anderson









community is largely dependent upon the citizens of that society. Douglas (1949) attempted to

reduce confounding variables by using a multi-method approach, which involved the review of

several documents including merchant records to track customer addresses, merchant bank

deposits from a week of business, and the city's population distribution. Additionally, the

researcher observed traffic flow of passengers and applied Reilly's law of retail gravitation

(Douglas, 1949). Consequently, the researcher was able to ascertain that similar and dissimilar

stores within a specific geographical area tend to have comparable target audiences indicating

that consumers have a tendency to follow patterns which reflect socially determined behavior

(Douglas, 1949). In other words, humans will likely gravitate towards the 'ideal' or socially

approved town centers, malls, and supermarkets.

Store design decisions are formulated using a variety of different methods. The store

prototype or field experiment is often used, although it can be very expensive and quite time

intensive (Baker et al., 1992). Large retail corporations, such as The Limited or The Gap, utilize

this type of research tool for testing customers' responses towards a new store design before

rolling it out throughout all their subsidiaries (Baker et al., 1992). It makes sense that this type

of implementation occurs in geographies that can be generalized across the store's national target

audience. The current study included the development of a store prototype that could be used as

a model for other boutiques that sell contemporary women's apparel to fashion conscious

shoppers in mid-sized communities.

An atypical example of a retail prototype is BigHom Center Phase III. This retail

building in Silverthorne, Colorado is one of the United States' first examples of a retail building

that accurately integrated natural ventilation cooling systems and daylighting in a retail space

(Hayter and Torcellini, 2000). The center's design team used environmental simulation tactics to






























Figure C-3. Modified Store, Cash Wrap


Figure C-4. Modified Store, Line-of-Sight









Machleit, K. and Eroglu, S. (2000). Describing and measuring emotional response to shopping
experience. Journal of Business Research, 44, 101-111.

Markin, R., Lillis, C., and Narayana, C. (1976). Social-psychological significance of store space.
Journal ofRetailing, 52, 1, 43-54; 94.

Martineau, P. (1958). The personality of the retail store. Harvard Business Review, 36, 47.

McDougall, G. and Fry, J. (1975). Combining two methods of image measurement: semantic
differential and open-end technique. Journal of Retailing, 50, 4, 53-61.

Mehrabian, A. and Russell, J. (1974). An Approach to Environmental Psychology. Cambridge,
MA:MIT Press.

Moore, M. and Fairhurst, A. (2003). Marketing capabilities and firm performance in fashion
retailing. Journal ofFashion Marketing andManagement, 7, 4, 386-397.

Mort, F. (1989). New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s. The politics of
consumption. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 160-172.

Nasar, J. (2000). Adult viewers preferences in residential settings. Environment and Behavior,
15, 5, 589-614.

Ng, C. (2002). Satisfying shoppers' psychological needs: From public market to cyber-mall.
Journal ofEnvironmental Psychology, 23, 439-455).

O' Cass, A. and Julian, C. (2001). Fashion clothing consumption: Studying the effects of
materialistic values, self-image/product-image congruency relationships, gender and age
on fashion clothing involvement study. Retrieved June 1, 2006, from Griffith University
Gold Website:
http://smib.vuw.ac.nz:8081/WWW/ANZMAC2001/anzmac/AUTHORS/pdfs/O'Cass2.pdf

Paulins, V. & Geistfeld, L. (2003). The effect of consumer perceptions of store attributes on
apparel store preference. Journal ofFashion Marketing and Management, 7, 4, 371-385.

Pathak, D., Crissy,W., and Sweitzer. R. (1974). Customer image versus the retailer's anticipated
image. Journal ofRetailing, 50, 4, 21-28; 116.

Rengel, R. (2003). limpingg Interior Space. New York: Fairchild Publications.

Ritterfeld, U. and Cupchick, G. (1996). Perceptions of interior spaces. Journal of
Environmental Psychology, 16, 4, 349-360.

Ruling class: Today's fashion ascribes to the rule of self-expression. Cotton Incorporated
Lifestyle Monitor tracking research (2006). Women's Wear Daily, p. 1.

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Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 38, 2, 311-322.









purchases; make impulse purchases based on desire versus need; and spend more time shopping

even after purchases had been made (Kincade and Moye, 2003).

Total Store Environment

The total store environment is multifaceted, entailing a large number of factors that include

sensory cues (Ng, 2002), service quality, product variety, pricing, and image/social context

(Baker, Parasuraman, Grewal & Voss, 2002). In fact, in one study a researcher de-emphasized

the individual components of a store setting and reiterated the importance of the overall design

(Kotler, 1973). Marketing professionals and researchers have long employed the marketing mix

approach (product, place, promotion, and price) when developing and promoting product, brand,

or store images (Kotler, 1973; Engel, Blackwell & Miniard, 1995). This technique has proven

invaluable throughout history, but requires extensive amounts of time and exhaustive research

practices. Due to the limited timeframe and narrow scope, the study will focus primarily on the

'place' aspect of the marketing mix theory.

Store image. Several definitions exist on the topic of store image. In 1974, The Journal

ofRetailing published a study by marketing professor, Jay Lindquist, entitled "Meaning of

Image". The study examined the variety of store image descriptions that have been recorded by

several notable researchers (Lindquist, 1974-75). One researcher defined store image as "...the

way in which the store is defined in the shopper's mind, partly by its functional qualities and

partly by an aura of psychological attributes" (Martineau, p.47, 1958). Martineau's definition

suggests that consumers formulate an image of a retail store through functional properties (i.e.,

layout, merchandising techniques, prices, and other operational features), as well as

psychological properties (Lindquist, 1974-5). For example, does the space promote feelings of

friendliness, excitement, and comfort (Lindquist, 1974-75); or does it possibly even delineate a

social class distinction?









CASE STUDY: CUSTOMER EVALUATIONS OF INTERIOR DESIGN ELEMENTS AND
MARKETING FEATURES IN AN UPSCALE WOMEN' S APPAREL BOUTIQUE






















By

LAUREN N. ANDERSON


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007









APPENDIX C
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BOUTIQUE'S DESIGN MODIFICATIONS

The following are photographs of the boutique after the design modifications had been

implemented.


Figure C-1. Modified Store, Entry Right Side



or
.... ... ..


Figure C-2. Modified Store, Entry Left Side









use of bamboo fibers and abaca plants, and non-toxic vegetable dyes are all examples of eco-safe

apparel components being sold in the market today.

The results of whether shoppers are prone to buying more when products are discounted

were interesting. Although most respondents agreed that they buy more volume when items are

discounted, several did not. In fact, five disagreed, giving reason to believe these shoppers buy

what they like regardless of price. It may be advantageous to call this type of customer when

new merchandise arrives, while those that prefer discounted items can be notified when sales

occur. Understanding these customer characteristics may improve profits, as well as enhance

overall customer service perceptions.

Demographics

Nearly 70% of the sample was between the ages of 18-22, while the remaining 30% was

split almost evenly among those aged 23-30 and 31-40. Leisurely intent was the most

commonly reported reason for shopping, possibly indicating that these individuals are likely to

shop at stores that offer a pleasurable environment and/or a unique experience. Additionally,

most of the participants had heard of the boutique through a friend or relative. The sample also

chose the period between 2-4pm as the most preferred time of day to shop.

After the customer loyalty composite was compared against the participants' mean

demographical characteristics, it was found that those within the age bracket of 31-40 and those

whom shop between 2-4pm tended to be the most loyal. Interestingly, the ANOVA analysis

found 'special occasion' to be the favored shopping intention amongst the most loyal customers,

which differs from the sample majority who chose 'leisure' as the most popular reason for

shopping.

The statistical analyses revealed interesting results, but could certainly be expanded upon

in future research studies. Possibilities for augmenting the information discovered here are









Product Variety

The merchandise, which was unchanged during the renovation process, was another non-

design element that customers were asked to critique. A mean of 4.27 implied that, in general,

the sample was pleased with the product offerings currently in the shop. Alternatively, it is

difficult to ascertain whether or not the merchandise rating was based solely on the product or if

the new display techniques and/or the modified store environment affected the shoppers'

perceptions.

Customer Service

Overall the response to customer service was very positive. Over 87% of respondents

rated it as very good. This result implies that the majority of customers felt that customer service

was above expected; yet in business there is always room for improvement. The owner may

elect to administer another survey that asks open-ended questions pertaining to 'how' the shop

can improve customer service and 'what' specialized assistance is desired by the customer base.

Evaluation of Extraneous Variables

The evaluation of two variables that contributed little to the study itself, but offered

valuable insight to the apparel industry, as well as the business owner were 1) the propensity to

purchase environmentally sensitive clothing, and 2) the likelihood of buying more when products

are discounted. Opinions regarding the former were non-extreme with a near even breakdown

across neutral, agree, and strongly agree. It is realistic to suppose that awareness of these types

of product offerings was minimal at the time of the study, however as the clothing industry

continues to educate consumers on the growing concern of environmentally responsible

manufacturing and design, this overall evaluation is likely to change. Recently, and specifically

in the last year, there has been a major shift in the efforts made by designers and manufacturers

to encourage vertically integrated earth-friendly practices. Organic cotton (pesticide free), the









combination of this data, the designer/researcher chose to make several changes to the existing

space (Appendix B).

Existing merchandising strategies that remained constant were the utilization of wall space

for displaying items; the recognized product placement strategy of impulse-convenience-demand

goods; and the location of the service areas, including the fitting rooms and the point-of-purchase

zone. Furthermore, the raised elevation of the window display was maintained, however the

materials used in this location were modified. Space planning began by field verifying the

dimensions of the entire selling area approximately 1200 sq/ft. AutoCAD drawings were

constructed reflecting the existing floor plan and elevations of four walls. After determining the

amount of linear feet that were needed to appropriately display the shop's fluctuating inventory,

the trips to flea markets and home improvement stores began. The boutique's new style was to

be eclectic a marriage of urban industrialism and feminine finesse.

The designer was tasked with creating a new store image and an effective working

environment using $5000 and one week to complete the project. All the materials and

furnishings were purchased over a one-month period prior to the actual construction. Before the

process began, the merchandise was removed from the store and placed in a twenty-foot moving

van for temporary storage. Outdated adjustable shelves, fixture brackets, and waterfall hooks

were dismantled from the black-laminated slatwalls. This conventional display equipment was

donated to the Salvation Army for use in their local retail outposts. A departure from standard

merchandising techniques and department-store features went underway. A shelf that sat at eight

feet high and ran along the store's entire perimeter was also dismantled. This shelf contributed

little to the space by imposing an interruption on the wall plane and as a result, caused the ceiling

to feel as though it was low and intrusive. The odd obstruction also cast shadows over most of









future boutique design research would considerably impact this growing market segment of

independently owned apparel specialty shops.









tendencies towards the store environment. The purposive sampling technique generated a

repository of unique perspectives from actual users of the space; however, the use of this type of

sampling method greatly reduces generalization beyond that of the examined population.

A second limitation is the actual number of respondents that participated in the study.

Typically a sample size of forty participants would be sufficient for examining a specialized

niche market, but, because several analyses across groups were performed, a larger diversity

among the various classifications was needed.

A third limitation was the use of an after-only study design. The observational procedure

took place prior to the shop's December redesign and involved shoppers who were unaware they

were being studied. This segment of the study then informed the experimental portion of the

study, where respondents completed store evaluation surveys two months after the redesign.

While the design features of the newly designed store were positively evaluated, it is difficult to

measure the redesign success, due to the lack of documented assessments of the original space.

Although the goal of this study was to determine if shop customers positively received the new

design, another study of interest may be to test customer perception of improvement by

performing a before-and-after study. In this case, it may be helpful to use the same sample group

for both experimental studies.

Lastly, had a pre-test of the questionnaire been conducted prior to executing the study, it is

possible that additional questions may have been incorporated, while others may have been

removed. For example, mood had no strong relevancy to other aspects of the questionnaire; thus,

it could have been eliminated. On the other hand, an open-ended question that asked customers

what they like or dislike about the store may have resulted in a stronger statistical analysis.









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CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

In America and around the world, the specialty apparel industry is expanding at a rapidly

growing rate (Moore & Fairchild, 2003). Each month, dozens of high-fashion boutiques are

popping-up making it increasingly important for shop owners to uniquely differentiate

themselves (Moore & Fairchild, 2003). According to several retail analysts and researchers

(Moore & Fairchild, 2003; Paulins & Geistfield, 2003), store image and other marketing

competencies of a small business are integral to achieving customer loyalty and profitability. In

the fashion marketplace where product life cycles are short and aesthetics are celebrated, it is

often store image that helps frame shoppers' opinions of the overall shop characterization (i.e.,

the quality of merchandise, the type of people that shop there, etc.). In fact, some argue

(Martineau, 1958; Arons, 1961; Kunkel & Berry, 1968) that store image may be the single most

important way for retailers to distinguish themselves from others. It involves several complex

layers with the physical aspect consisting of branding, packaging, and store design. Most retail

environment studies have focused on the physical components of large department stores or

national specialty stores with little focus on independently owned boutiques. This study is an

example of consumers' evaluations of specific design elements and various marketing techniques

within an independently owned women's apparel boutique.

Findings

The study found adequate indication that customers regarded the identified store features

as pleasurable and business appropriate; however, it did not produce definitive results about the

relationship between specific elements and their effect on customer satisfaction of total store

environment. All of the physical design elements 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric

conditions, and 4) overall style/design, and all of the non-design elements 1) mood of shopper, 2)









boutiques. Understanding how these solutions evoke positive feelings within this specific

domain could help to cultivate similar responses if repeated in other related environments.

Directions for Further Research

The phenomenological concept of store image is continuously researched along with the

effects of store environment on customer satisfaction and buying intentions. Much of this

research has focused on large department stores and nationwide clothing chains with few of the

studies involving specialty shops. This study is an example of one particular clothing boutique's

store environment, suggesting a foundation in which to further supplement with other specialty

shop research. It is recommended that comparable studies examine what store features and/or

design elements have the most impact on customer satisfaction. In turn, this information could

help guide conservative business owners as to which improvements are financially worthwhile to

undertake, while also proposing alternative solutions to the retail and design communities.

Researchers might also consider performing a similar case study to this one, but instead,

structure it as a before-and-after study design.

Importance of Design Elements

It would be instrumental to the retail industry and design professionals to further research

the level of importance boutique customers place on particular store design elements. In this

study, it was revealed how customers reacted to each identified feature as it had been

implemented in the boutique, while previous studies mainly involved large department stores

whose shoppers typically hold different store expectations than boutique shoppers. It may be

useful to understand how shoppers rank these various features and why. For example, color

scheme may play a large importance for one particular group; thus, it may make sense to

investigate what color properties are most appealing to that audience and of those colors, which

generate(s) a style that supports the desired store image.









Analysis of Variance

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) enables researchers to compare more then two means and

is often used to understand how the dependent variable is affected by the independent variables

(Sommer & Sommer, 2002). By averaging the satisfaction of current shopping experience,

boutique shopping frequency, and recommendation of the boutique to friends, the dependent

variable of overall customer loyalty was formed. This overall evaluation was then compared

against each of the individual categorical means in questions one through four in order to

determine whether a relationship exists between overall customer loyalty and 1) shopping

intentions, 2) preferred times of day to shop, 3) social influences, and 4) age. The ANOVA test

revealed whether the respondents' characteristics affected overall customer loyalty. It is

important for business owners to uncover these relationships because it can inform them of their

current market's demographical characteristics and personality traits. Understanding these

factors not only enables retailers to better accommodate their existing clientele, but also allows

them to analyze their current marketing strategy.

Table 3-21. ANOVA Respondents' Shopping Intentions Effect on Customer Loyalty
N Mean
leisure 23 1.8261
special occasion 1 3.0000
general clothing needs 2 1.8333
other 1 2.0000
1,2,3,4 7 1.7619
1,2 2 1.6667
2,4 1 2.3333
1,2,3 1 1.0000
1,2,4 2 1.5000
Total 40 1.8167
Mean
Sum of Squares df Square F Sig.
Between Groups 2.637 8 .330 .977 .472
Within Groups 10.463 31 .338
Total 13.100 39









reminiscent of an old factory warehouse, reinforcing the urban-industrial theme. A well-

composed sound quality was achieved through the placement of rugs, furniture, and other soft

goods. The merchandise also significantly contributed to overall noise control by increasing the

space's absorption capabilities.

A shopper's ability to see merchandise may possibly be the most important sensory cue to

consider when designing a fashion boutique. A business that survives on selling unique and

often expensive items must be able to adequately showcase product in a visibly sensible manner.

Moving most of the merchandise to the outer perminter of the space created an open layout and

enabled the center of the store to be used for socio-petal arrangements. Such arrangements are

recommended by behavior psychologists to facilitate conversation and a sense of community

within a public space (Bechtel and Churchman, 2002). This newly designed sitting area not only

gave the eye a break from sensory overload, but also presented shoppers with a panoramic view

of the shop as they immediately entered the space. Wall fixtures were hung at 4'-6" with

shelves placed at 5'-0". These heights were selected according to industry professionals'

recommendations to hang fixtures between 3'-6" and 5'-6". Lighting was adjusted to achieve

desirable brightness and accurate color rendering.

Another key element to an apparel store's sensory stimulation is touch. A tactile-rich

environment was presented using a mixed material palette comprised of soft/hard, shiny/matte,

and textured/smooth surfaces. Additionally, the extreme juxtaposition of opposing materials

imparts the business's easygoing disposition and artistic nature. The mean evaluation rating for

atmosphere was 4.72 out of a possible 5. In fact, all forty respondents felt that the new store

atmosphere was either good or very good. These results indicate that the sample is satisfied with

the various atmospheric components that were selected for the space.









storefront retailers who sell their goods solely through a physical location (Paulins & Geistfeld,

2003). Furthermore, it is likely these storefront retailers endure large overhead costs, as well as

product selection limitations due to space and budget constraints. As a result, various

researchers (Baker et al.., 1992; Ng, 2002, Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003) postulate that by

enhancing the physical store experience, storefront retailers can set themselves apart from their

virtual competitors, as well as their physical store counterparts.

Several consumer behaviorists (Kunkel & Berry, 1968; Lindquist, 1974-5) regard the

phenomenological concept of store image to play an influential role on customer patronage.

Store image, as described by one researcher (Kunkel & Berry, 1968), is "the total conceptualized

or expected reinforcement that a person associates with shopping at a particular store" (p. 22).

Thus, it may be of increasing importance for storefront retailers to establish and maintain

favorable total store image, and quite possibly, this positive reinforcement can begin with the

design of the interior space.

Purpose & Significance of the Study

The purpose of this research was to test the impact of the physical environment on shopper

perceptions, preferences, and behaviors. Also examined was the boutique's current marketing

strategy. Throughout history, the complex nature of store image and its affects on consumer

behavior has churned much question; causing researchers to closely dissect and further examine

the topic (Boulding, 1956; Donovan, Rossiter, Marcoolyn & Nesdlae, 1994; Lindquist, 1974-5).

As technology continues to grow and store image becomes even more challenging (i.e., retailers

extending themselves to the World Wide Web), it has become increasingly important for

physical stores to place a greater emphasis on the in-store experience in order to capture

adequate market share (Howell, 2002). An example supporting this principle was revealed in a

study that found consumers' viewpoints regarding the physical appeal of a store had a greater









Style/Design

By the very nature of a retail store, there are several constituents that will tell the story of

one entire space. As explained by Rengel (2003), order in a space is achieved when several

functions come together to form a cohesive understanding of the space's intention. These groups

include harmonious arrangements amongst physical features, organizational methods that

facilitate natural progression, and interpretation of a space as one single unit (Rengel, 2003).

The shelving units and plumbing assemblies that made up a majority of the new merchandising

displays were designed to provide functionality, but also to establish a sense of order and balance

within the space. Equilibrium was accomplished through placement of several pipes hung

consecutively in a row down the two main walls. Shelves that hung above every two pipe

groupings unified the composition, while furthering the functionality and overall visual

complexity. It was crucial that all the fixtures were reinforced by load bearing construction or

wall studs because of the merchandise weight that would be supported by these key components.

A marriage of opposites, the store encompassed everything from old and new to rough and

smooth resulting in a style that is often typified as eclectic. The general feel is urban and citified,

embracing the familiar theme of 'less is more'. Minimalism and clean lines were stressed though

the use of simplistic fixtures; an open layout; a soft color scheme with a white back drop; and the

repetition of elements. All, but one participant regarded the style/design as good or very good,

resulting in a mean of 4.64. This assessment lends credibility to the consideration of eclectic

style with an urban focus when designing a high-fashion women's boutique that caters to a

trendier audience.

Color Scheme

Color of a space can be defined through several mediums. Commonly, paint and fabric

selections come to mind first, however innovative material usage can also have a tremendous









was primarily designed to serve as ambient illumination for general tasks and orientation. In

designated areas, track heads were pointed directly on special displays to provide accent

illumination or key light. This type of lighting feature is often used in retail environments for

dramatizing key items and was completed only after the displays were put into place and the

merchandise was returned to the store. One hundred percent of respondents felt the general store

lighting was at least good, with 77.5% scoring it as very good. Having knowledge of the lighting

complaints customers had delivered in the previous space, this favorable result was slightly

unexpected. As mentioned, few technical modifications had been implemented; therefore, it may

be reasonable to assume that the overall positive evaluation was the result of several constituents

coming together to create one cohesive design. The combination of lighting (artificial and

natural), color, and material choices shed new light on the revamped space.

Although the fitting rooms' pre-existing small chandeliers emitted minimal light, the

owner wished for them to stay. The brightness was increased slightly by removing the beaded

shades and increasing the bulb wattage, but the real impact came from the natural light that was

able to cross over the dropped curtain panel. Evaluations of the fitting rooms had the same

overall mean of 4.77 as the general lighting assessments did, revealing that it is possible to

achieve satisfactory lighting conditions by manipulating related design components beyond that

of the fixtures themselves.

Evaluation of Non-Design Elements

Four non-design, but retail related elements were examined to uncover shoppers' feelings

towards the store's operative components 1) mood, 2) location, 3) product variety, and 4)

customer service. Although mood is not an actual business element, it is believed to have a

noteworthy impact on people's perceptions of their surroundings. Any combination of these

elements can play into the overall effect that store environments have on shoppers; thus, it may









consumer (Baker, Parasuraman, Grewal & Voss, 2002). Due to the variety of retailers

consumers can now choose from, the importance of conveying value and reason as to why they

should choose one store over another has escalated (Baker et al., 2002). Failure to implement

these important steps may result in severe consequences for the retailer, such as lost business or

inferior brand perception.

Many retailers are differentiating themselves by enhancing the in-store experience

(Donovan and Rossiter, 1982; Howell, 2002). For years, psychologists have agreed that

individuals have emotional responses to their physical environment (Ergolu, Machleit & Davis,

2001). Thus, the shopping environment directly affects the experience a consumer realizes in a

particular store setting. Additionally, the shopping environment may profoundly influence

consumers' feelings and emotional reactions towards a store, clearly impacting the patronage and

loyalty decisions consumers may make (Ergolu et al., 2001).

Consumers engage in shopping activities for several reasons (Jones, 1936; Kincade and

Moye, 2003). These reasons range from simply obtaining household commodities, such as food

and cleaning supplies, to a more sophisticated process of acquiring luxury items not necessary to

the fundamentals of life (Jones, 1936). Research has shown that quite often luxury driven

purchases are facilitated through retail shops that evoke positive consumer emotions and include

a desirable social class connotation (Bucklin, 1963; Kincade and Moye, 2003).

Consumer Behavior

Researcher, Kenneth Boulding (1956), proposed that humans digest highly complicated

ideas by reducing them into manageable portions. Thus, a customer's perceived store image of a

particular boutique is likely to elicit certain behavioral responses. This is an example of the

Mehrabian-Russell model used in a retail context (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982). Effectively, a

shopper interprets the store's environmental stimuli (physical features), develops emotional




Full Text

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1 CASE STUDY: CUSTOMER EVALUATION S OF INTERIOR DESIGN ELEMENTS AND MARKETING FEATURES IN AN UPSC ALE WOMENS APPAREL BOUTIQUE By LAUREN N. ANDERSON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Lauren N. Anderson

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3 To my mother, Susan M. Beauchamp, for t eaching me strength, wisdom, passion, leadership, and, most importantly to love unconditionally

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Bart Weitz for participating on my committee and taking an interest in this study. I am fascinated by the compelling influences marketing has on business success and how these can be further augmente d by the in-store expe rience. Dr. Weitzs statistical methods knowledge and retail manageme nt expertise were inst rumental in developing the foundation of this study. Additionally, his bu siness insight enabled me to bridge the gap between a marketing undergraduate degree and the interior design focus of my current degree. I would also like to thank Ka rly Childers for playing a ve ry important role in the completion of this studythe permission to carr y out the entire study in her boutique. Karly contributed a significant amount of money and time to this cause, not to mention her trust. I am most appreciative to have been gi ven such an unbelievable opportunity! And, David, my saving grace, I am absolutely ce rtain I could not have done this without himdog-duty, countless thesis weekends, pres entation run-throughs, retail fact queries, and, of course, continual encouragement, support, laughter, and love. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Debra Harr is. As my committee chair person, Dr. Harris demonstrated commitment, knowledge, interest, patience, and most of allsupport. She was always accessible; frequently, choo sing to put her own priorities on hold in order to help me out. I am so thankful to have had her as a professo r and mentor, but even mo re so, as a friend.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........8 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW..............................................................11 Background..................................................................................................................... ........11 Purpose & Significance of the Study......................................................................................12 Literature Review.............................................................................................................. .....14 Female Apparel Boutique Retailers/Shoppers.................................................................15 Total Store Environment.................................................................................................16 Shopping Experience.......................................................................................................20 Consumer Behavior.........................................................................................................21 Theory and Methods........................................................................................................22 2 METHODOLOGY.................................................................................................................27 Case Study Research............................................................................................................ ...27 Variables of Interest........................................................................................................27 Observation.................................................................................................................... ..28 Experimental Study.........................................................................................................30 Data Collection Tool.......................................................................................................35 Likert-Scales.................................................................................................................. .........36 Participant Sampling........................................................................................................... ....36 Summary........................................................................................................................ .........37 3 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND RESULTS......................................................................38 Descriptive Statistics......................................................................................................... .....38 Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample.......................................................................38 Evaluation of Store Environment....................................................................................41 Correlation.................................................................................................................... ...47 Analysis of Variance.......................................................................................................48 4 DISCUSSION..................................................................................................................... ....51 Evaluation of Design Elements..............................................................................................51 Atmosphere..................................................................................................................... .52

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6 Style/Design................................................................................................................... .54 Color Scheme..................................................................................................................54 Lighting....................................................................................................................... ....55 Evaluation of Non-Design Elements......................................................................................56 Mood........................................................................................................................... .....57 Location....................................................................................................................... ....57 Product Variety................................................................................................................58 Customer Service.............................................................................................................58 Evaluation of Extraneous Variables.......................................................................................58 Demographics................................................................................................................... ......59 5 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................... ..61 Findings....................................................................................................................... ...........61 Limitations of the Research....................................................................................................62 Implications for Research Findings........................................................................................64 Directions for Further Research..............................................................................................65 Importance of Design Elements......................................................................................65 Customer Preference of Boutique Design.......................................................................66 Conclusions.................................................................................................................... .........67 APPENDIX A FOOTPRINT OF ORIGINAL BOUTIQUE LAYOUT.........................................................69 B PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EXISTING BOUT IQUES INTERIOR ENVIRONMENT......70 C PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BOUTIQUE S DESIGN MODIFICATIONS...........................74 D DATA COLLECTION TOOL...............................................................................................79 E INFORMED CONSENT DOCUMENT................................................................................80 F INTSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD................................................................................82 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..83 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................88

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Demographics Age......................................................................................................... .39 3-3 Demographics Preferred Time of Day to Shop...............................................................40 3-4 Demographics Social Influences.....................................................................................40 3-5 Customer Loyalty Composite............................................................................................41 3-6 Shopper Mood Evaluation.................................................................................................42 3-7 Store Location Evaluation..................................................................................................42 3-8 Store Atmosphere Evaluation............................................................................................42 3-9 Store Design Evaluation....................................................................................................43 3-10 Color Scheme Evaluation..................................................................................................43 3-11 General Store Lighting Evaluation....................................................................................43 3-12 Fitting Room Lighting Evaluation.....................................................................................44 3-13 Product Variety Evaluation................................................................................................44 3-14 Customer Service Evaluation.............................................................................................44 3-15 Shopping Experience Evaluation.......................................................................................45 3-16 Propensity to Buy Enviro nmentally Sens itive Clothing....................................................45 3-17 Shopping Frequency at the Boutique.................................................................................46 3-18 Purchase Volume of Discounted Product..........................................................................46 3-19 Boutique Recommendation to Friends...............................................................................47 3-20 Correlations Store Attributes and Customer Loyalty Composite...................................47 3-21 ANOVA Respondents S hopping Intentions Effect on Customer Loyalty....................48 3-22 ANOVA Preferred Time of Day to Shop Effect on Customer Loyalty..........................49 3-23 ANOVA Social Influences Effect on Customer Loyalty................................................49 3-24 ANOVA Age Effect on Customer Loyalty.....................................................................49

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page B-1 Existing Store Entry Right Side.........................................................................................70 B-2 Existing Store Entry Left Side...........................................................................................70 B-3 Existing Store Cash Wrap..................................................................................................71 B-4 Existing Store Line-of-Sight..............................................................................................71 B-5 Existing Store Denim Area................................................................................................72 B-6 Existing Store Jewelry Display..........................................................................................72 B-7 Existing Store Displays.................................................................................................... ..73 B-8 Existing Store-Displays.................................................................................................... .73 C-1 Modified Store, Entry Right Side......................................................................................74 C-2 Modified Store, Entry Left Side.........................................................................................74 C-3 Modified Store, Cash Wrap...............................................................................................75 C-4 Modified Store, Line-of-Sight...........................................................................................75 C-5 Modified Store, Denim Area..............................................................................................76 C-6 Modified Store, Jewelry Display.......................................................................................76 C-7 Modified Store, Displays...................................................................................................77 C-8 Modified Store, Displays...................................................................................................77 C-9 Modified Store, Alternate View.........................................................................................78 C-10 Modified Store, Alternate View.........................................................................................78

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design CASE STUDY: CUSTOMER EVALUATION S OF INTERIOR DESIGN ELEMENTS AND MARKETING FEATURES IN AN UPSC ALE WOMENS APPAREL BOUTIQUE By Lauren N. Anderson August 2007 Chair: Debra Harris Major: Interior Design Womens clothing stores annual sales are consistently increa sing year after year, possibly indicating that the act of consumi ng clothing is also rising. With the growing number of virtual channel retailers, it has become increasingly important for stores to uniquely differentiate themselves. Research has shown that differentia tion can often be achieved through enhancing the physical store experience and implementing th e correct marketing practices. This study examines shoppers evaluations towards identified design elements and specific marketing features, as well as whether a re lationship exists between those ev aluations and customer loyalty. In addition to reviewing design a nd business literature, an observa tional procedure also informed the researcher of important de sign features to consider when redesigning an upscale womens apparel boutique. These design el ements included 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) overall style/de sign. Another four non-design, but retail related elements were also examined to uncover shoppers feelings to wards the stores operative components 1) mood, 2) location, 3) product variety, a nd 4) customer service. Considering the impact store image has proven to have on patronage, it is of increasing importance for retail designers and store owners to gain a comprehensive understanding of which

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10 factors influence consumers store selections, buying decisions, and l oyalty considerations. Knowledge of which factors can positively infl uence a stores physical environment and what variations of these features encourage pleas urable reactions amongst shoppers will enable designers and retailers to have a more powerful repository of evidence-based design solutions. The three sectors that stand to be nefit from this research are 1) the retail industry; 2) retail consumers, and specifically, boutique consumers; and 3) retail design professionals. The implications of specific design styles and me rchandising techniques on s hoppers perceptions of total store environment can assist designers wh en specifying the appropriate features for a upscale, womens apparel boutique. Additiona lly, the shoppers positive evaluations of alternative merchandising scenarios and unique product display tec hniques offer design alternatives to store planners and retail storeowners. Apparel boutique shoppers were asked to evalua te store design and other various business operatives on a questionnaire. After the data wa s collected, descriptive statistics, correlations, and an ANOVA analysis were run. Positive eval uations were reported across all elements, but were not shown to be statistically significant, due to a small sample size and a lack of variation across the data. This skewed data was likely a result of a pre-existing, high-loyalty rating amongst all the participants, as they were to have visited the store prior to this experience in order to qualify to participate. As a result, it is postulated th at these shoppers already had an affinity to the store because they came back. Desp ite the lack of variance, participants reported shopping mainly for leisurely intents and pr eferred shopping between the hours of 2pm. Additionally, it was found that thos e aged 31 were the most loya l customers in this case. Interestingly though, the vast majority of participants were aged 18.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW Background The history of a typical Ameri can retail store dates back as far as the late 1700s (Jones, 1936). This classic retail store was commonly referred to as a gene ral store that offered a variety of non-departmentalized goods, ranging from gla ssware and hardware to groceries and dry goods (Jones, 1936). As the U.S. population grew and the country became wealthier, a desire to improve the American home and lifestyle emerge d. In response, American retailers began to specialize in certain products and services, enabling shop owners to offer consumers a more diversified selection of goods and services wi thin a specific domain (Jones, 1936). Apparel retailers were no strangers to this growing market segment and followed suit when they began forming specialty shops in the 1850s with an emphasis on ready-to-wear clothing (Jones, 1936). One researcher (Jones, 1936) defined specialty sh ops as retail stores th at handle only one type of merchandise (pg.134). Womens contemporary clothing sold in an upscale boutique is an example of this form of specialty shop. The U.S. Census Bureaus 2005 Retail Trade Survey indicated that womens clothing stores annual sales have increased 24% since 1998 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). This statistic inherently supports the notion that the act of consuming cl othing has also risen. In todays techno-savvy world, the shopping environment can entail more than a ph ysical place making it increasingly difficult for retailers to differentiate solely on the basis of merchandise (Baker, Levy, & Grewal, 1992; Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Retailers and marketer s are progressively exposing themselves to consumers through methods of Internet sites, television infomercials, telemarketing calls, and direct mails (Ng, 2002; Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Consequently, the convenience and variety offered through these vir tual channels might present a challenge to

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12 storefront retailers who sell th eir goods solely through a physical location (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Furthermore, it is likely these storefront re tailers endure large over head costs, as well as product selection limitations due to space and bu dget constraints. As a result, various researchers (Baker et al.., 1992; Ng, 2002, Pau lins & Geistfeld, 2003) postulate that by enhancing the physical store experi ence, storefront retailers can se t themselves ap art from their virtual competitors, as well as th eir physical store counterparts. Several consumer behaviorists (Kunkel & Berry, 1968; Lindquist, 1974) regard the phenomenological concept of store image to play an influential role on customer patronage. Store image, as described by one researcher (Ku nkel & Berry, 1968), is the total con ceptualized or expected reinforcement that a person associates with shopping at a particular store (p. 22). Thus, it may be of increasing importance for stor efront retailers to establish and maintain favorable total store image, and quite possibly, this positive reinforcement can begin with the design of the interior space. Purpose & Significance of the Study The purpose of this research was to test the impact of the physical environment on shopper perceptions, preferences, and be haviors. Also examined was the boutiques current marketing strategy. Throughout history, the complex nature of store image and its affects on consumer behavior has churned much quest ion; causing researchers to clos ely dissect and further examine the topic (Boulding, 1956; Donovan, Rossiter, Marcoolyn & Nesdlae, 1994; Lindquist, 1974). As technology continues to grow and store image becomes even more challenging (i.e., retailers extending themselves to the World Wide Web) it has become increasingly important for physical stores to place a greater emphasis on the in-store experience in order to capture adequate market share (Howell, 2002). An exam ple supporting this princi ple was revealed in a study that found consumers viewpoints regarding the physical appeal of a store had a greater

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13 connection to patronage decisions than did th e actual merchandise, pr ice points, and product variety (Darden, Erdem & Darden, 1983). Apparel industry specialists have often regard ed fashion, specifically clothing, as a means of self-expression (Womens Wear Daily, 2006). Moreover, consum er behaviorists and research professionals have long suggested that a social meaning is as sociated with the clothing consumption process (O Cass & Julian, 2001; Deeter-Schmelz, Moore & Goebel, 2000), and particularly so with women (Dowling, 1993). One researcher described consumption as activities surrounding the purchase and use of co mmodities central to the lives of women and the constitution of femininity (Dowling, pg. 295,1993) Demographic reports of two Florida Counties Alachua and Hillsborough revealed that the largest percentage of consumer apparel expenditures was applied towards womens cl othing (Experian/Applied Geographic Solutions, 2005). This statistic lends suppor t to the notion that if inform ed design is implemented in a womens clothing boutique or othe r types of female based reta il stores, it is probable that increased revenues can be earned. A number of marketers and social scientists have emphasized that consumption often goes beyond merely acquiring commodities, but rather defines shopping as a means of expression and a tool for seeking pleasure (Fiske, 1989; Mort, 1989; Dowling, 1993). Previous studies (Dowling, 1993; Deeter-Schmelz et al., 2000) have stressed the im portance of the creation of place in which the goods are consumed or acqui red. Ultimately, a social connotation becomes assigned to the place where merchandise is so ld (Dowling, 1993). In essence, the store environment plays a critical role in defining the social meaning the shopper will likely attribute to their shopping experience in a given place. The creation of the store environment and its

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14 ability to ascribe cultura l meaning to the shoppers contextual interpretation may very well sculpt the retailers overall reputa tion and store image. Considering the impact store image has pr oven to have on patronage (Dawson, Bloch & Ridgeway, 1990), it is of increasing importance for re tail designers and store owners to gain a comprehensive understanding of which factors in fluence consumers store selections, buying decisions, and loyalty considerations. Having knowledge of which of these factors can be influenced by the stores physical environment, enables designers and retailers to have a more powerful repository of evidence-bas ed design solutions. The three sectors that stand to benefit from this research are 1) the retail industry ; 2) retail consumers, and specifically, boutique consumers; and 3) retail design professionals. This research utilized a multidimensional case study that examined the effects of total store environment on customer satisfaction in an upscale-womens apparel boutique. The study hypotheses are 1) the combination of eclectic and clean-lined interiors will evoke a positive psychological response from the boutiques customers; 2) the retail space redesign, whic h utilized informed design solu tions derived from reviews of retail design literature and behavior mapping of the existing retail space, will provide a favorable backdrop against the contemporar y styling of the clothing itself; and 3) there is a correlation between custom er demographics and customer loyalty. The expected outcome is to provide design reco mmendations of alternative store planning for boutique owners who target a similar clientele. The interior design elements of focus were 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) ove rall style/design. Literature Review Extensive research has been conducted on th e implications of store environments on consumer satisfaction and buyi ng behaviors (Donovan et al., 1994); however, very little

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15 literature exists on the impact upscale-boutique s total store envir onments may have on customers emotional responses and their prospe ctive buying and loyalty decisions. The review of literature is broken down into five main part s relevant to consumers evaluations of upscale store environments 1) female apparel boutique re tailers/shoppers; 2) tota l store environment; 3) shopping experience; 4) consumer beha vior; and 5) methodological practices. Female Apparel Boutique Retailers/Shoppers A boutique, or specialty shop, is typically an independently owned store with an emphasis on product uniqueness and exceptional service (Buck lin, 1963). As an owner of a female apparel boutique, the current studys res earcher describes the boutique philosophy as a retail business that targets a niche market of women who shop for recreational and pleas ure-seeking purposes. The target audience of boutique retailers typically has a signif icant discretionary income and often associates a social meaning to the place s in which they shop (Kincade and Moye, 2003). Additionally, the specialty shop customer gene rally desires a more sophisticated store environment than that of the mall or discount st ore shopper and prefers cl othing that is current and fashionable (Kincade and Moye, 2003). A study that examined store patronage and attitudes towards retail store environments among female apparel consumers revealed that client ele of this retail segmen t were considered to be more oriented with the community and were described as more gr egarious, likeable, and active participants of societ y (Kincade and Moye, pg. 61, 2003). The study also found that customers falling under this niche-shopping cate gory tended to be competitive, venturesome and self-confident (Kincade and Moye, pg. 61, 2003). Kincade and Moye (2003) proposed that bou tique customers are typically recreational shoppers who prefer a pleasurable store atmos phere with a vast se lection of high-quality merchandise. In addition, this type of shoppe r is likely to consume less time pondering over

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16 purchases; make impulse purchas es based on desire versus n eed; and spend more time shopping even after purchases had been made (Kincade and Moye, 2003). Total Store Environment The total store environment is multifaceted, entai ling a large number of factors that include sensory cues (Ng, 2002), service quality, product variety, pricing, and image/social context (Baker, Parasuraman, Grewal & Voss, 2002). In fact, in one study a researcher de-emphasized the individual components of a store setting an d reiterated the importance of the overall design (Kotler, 1973). Marketing professionals and re searchers have long employed the marketing mix approach (product, place, prom otion, and price) when developing and promoting product, brand, or store images (Kotler, 1973; Engel, Blackwell & Miniard, 1995) This technique has proven invaluable throughout history, but requires extens ive amounts of time and exhaustive research practices. Due to the limited timeframe and na rrow scope, the study will focus primarily on the place aspect of the marketing mix theory. Store image. Several definitions exist on the topic of store image. In 1974, The Journal of Retailing published a study by marketing professo r, Jay Lindquist, entitled Meaning of Image. The study examined the variety of store image descriptions that have been recorded by several notable researchers (Li ndquist, 1974). One researcher defined store image as the way in which the store is defined in the s hoppers mind, partly by its functional qualities and partly by an aura of psychol ogical attributes (Martineau, p.47 1958). Martineaus definition suggests that consumers formulate an image of a retail store through functional properties (i.e., layout, merchandising techniques, prices, and other operational features), as well as psychological properties (Lindquist 1974). For example, does the space promote feelings of friendliness, excitement, and comfort (Lindquist 1974); or does it possibly even delineate a social class distinction?

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17 Another researcher who studied the corre lation between television viewing and the perception of store image and shopping frequenc y defined store image as, a complex of meanings and relationships serving to charac terize the store for people (Arons, pg.1, 1961). This assertion parallels consumer behaviorist, Kenneth Bouldings (1956), claim that the nature of humans is to assign symbolic interpretations to the vast comp lexity of values and meanings (Arons, 1961). In these descriptions, meanings are outlined as the attributes or dimensions, while relationships unify the vari ous attributes together (Lindqui st, 1974). In other words, an upscale boutique may want its i ndividual attributes of stor e design, merchandise, service personnel, and pricing to collectively convey a store that represents sophistication, quality, exclusiveness, and high-social cl ass. This relationship betwee n separate components and their affect on the consumers perceived value of store image will likely impact the shoppers evaluation of the total store environment. A different study that examined behaviors and th eir relationships to store image found that image development occurs over time through the re inforcement of consumers pre-determined criterion (Kunkel & Berry, 1968). Researchers, Kunkel and Berry, (1968) contended that ...retail store image is the to tal conceptualized or expected reinforcement that a person associates with shopping at a particular store (pg. 22). While the development of a product or brand requires reinforcement and constancy (Kunkel & Berry, 1968), the creation of positive store image may also require the use of repetitive encouraging signa ls. It is then probable that the use of applied design solutions that have b een implemented in successful high fashion retail settings may generate positive reinforcement si gnals and, consequently, facilitate a favorable boutique store image in the eyes of consumers.

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18 The perplexing nature of store image and its phenomenological prope rties are so rigorous that the scope of the current study is far too limited to fully analy ze the highly complicated topic. Effectively, several researchers ha ve agreed that store image is the combination of environmental cues (functional attributes) and social cues (psychological attr ibutes) that create consumer perceptions and beliefs about a particular store. These cons umer viewpoints are created over time (Kincade and Moye, 2003); thus, they are often considered learned or conditioned responses. Store design. One very significant aspect of the cr eation of store image is the interior design of the physical space (Baker et al., 1992). Sensory conditions, such as lighting, color, temperature, noise, accessibilit y, layout, and overall style/mood, ha ve a substantial influence on the way a customer evaluates th eir experience and classifies th e store image (Dowling, 1993). Environmental stimuli are said to have a prof ound influence on consumers emotional states affecting their evaluation and acceptance of a part icular retail setting (Baker et al., 1992). Several studies have examined individual atmo spheric elements and the affects they have on shoppers moods and behaviors. For instance one group of researcher s (Bellizzi, Crowley & Hasty, 1983) studied the effects of color in store design. They found that certain colors attracted people to retail displays and point-of-purchase st ands (Bellizzi et al., 1983). Because of the belief that color is exceptionally influential on humans moods and actions, the Blackfair Bridge in England was repainted bright green from its or iginal black in order to reduce the number of suicides that have been attempted from the bridge (Hattwick, 1950). Areni and Kim (1994) examined the impact of li ghting on purchase behavior. In their field experiment the researchers found that consumers were more likely to approach the merchandise when the in-store lighting was bright versus when it was soft (Areni and Kim, 1994).

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19 Order and complexity are interior design elemen ts that may impact shoppers emotions and purchase intentions (Gilboa and Ra faeli, 2003). Environmental comp lexity often involves visual richness, ornamentation, assortme nt, and variety in an environment (Nasar, 2000). Complexity results when there are more variables and an incr eased amount of richness is present within the space (Nasar, 2000). Examples of complexity ma y include the implementation of an overall eclectic design style; a variation of scales and proportions; a combin ation of freestanding furniture and manufactured merc handise displays; or even a mixed use of materials. Alternatively, the orde r of an environment is repres ented by coherence, organization, appropriateness, and clarity (Nasar, 2000). Order within the retail environment may refer to the layout, aisle widths; merchandise di splays, signage and the ability to navigate easily. Order is unique in that it has been shown to influen ce the human mind beyond that of complexity. For example, if a space is perceived as overwhel mingly complex, but has significant order, the overall evaluation is often positiv e (Berlyne, 1970). Whereas, a complex environment with little order typically results in a negati ve evaluation (Berlyne, 1970). Another very important feature of retail design is the fixtures that display the merchandise (Kerfoot, Davies & Ward, 2003). A study that exam ined the creation of discernible retail brands through visual merchandising found that although displays may not necessarily guarantee purchase, they do make it four times as likely th at a purchase will take place (Kerfoot et al., 2003). An additional case study, which examined records from Woodwards, a century old department store in Vancouver, found that visitors preferred simple and less elaborate fixtures (Dowling, 1993). Dowling (1993) uncovered that this highly successful department store facilitated the creation of a clean, uncluttered, spacious and streamlined environment (pg. 307).

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20 The retailer intentionally manipulated the layout a nd merchandise placement in order to facilitate a certain mode of shopping (Dowling, 1993). Architectural design is impor tant to todays fashion sa vvy customer. Once famously quoted by the renowned fashion designer, Coco Chan el, Architecture is fashion its a matter of proportions. Designs that are regarded as architecturally ri ch typically contain a mixed use of sophisticated materials; lavish furnishings ; sculpted spatial feat ures; and a variety of pleasurable sensory cues (Donovan & Rossiter, 1982). Therefore, when environments, particularly those involved in high fashion, are archite cturally rich the re tailer further conveys their commitment to beauty and originality to the consumer. As the United States moved past the Edwa rdian society principles of opulence and grandeur, we shifted our expectations of beau ty to something that reflected simplicity and functionality. In the 1930s, cleanliness becam e a very significant motif (Dowling, 1993); and unsurprisingly, this design feature still holds true in most retail stores today. Cleanliness lent itself to minimalism and eventually the architectur e and furniture of the Mid-Century Modern era became a commercial space staple. This design era is most famously noted for its incredible blend of form, function, and the use of ordinary materials to make extraordinary things. A federal law during the early 1940s limited constr uction costs to two hundr ed dollars per year prompting designers to create modular products th at offered users great flexibility (Whiton & Ambercrombie, 2002). Smooth surfaces, hard ma terials, neutral color palettes, unadorned furnishings, and spacious layouts are some exampl es of mid-century de sign features; many of which are frequently used in chic hotels and high-f ashion retail stores today. Shopping Experience. Over the past several decades, retail envir onments have become responsible for not only articulating the retailers image philosophy, but now, must also present a value proposition to the

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21 consumer (Baker, Parasuraman, Grewal & Voss, 2002). Due to the variety of retailers consumers can now choose from, the importance of conveying value and reason as to why they should choose one store over anot her has escalated (Baker et al ., 2002). Failure to implement these important steps may result in severe consequences for the reta iler, such as lost business or inferior brand perception. Many retailers are differentiating themselv es by enhancing the in-store experience (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982; Howell, 2002). For years, psychologists have agreed that individuals have emotional respon ses to their physical environm ent (Ergolu, Machleit & Davis, 2001). Thus, the shopping environment directly aff ects the experience a consumer realizes in a particular store setting. Additionally, the shopping environment may profoundly influence consumers feelings and emotional reactions towa rds a store, clearly impacting the patronage and loyalty decisions consumers may make (Ergolu et al., 2001). Consumers engage in shopping activities for several reasons (Jones, 1936; Kincade and Moye, 2003). These reasons range from simply obtaining household commodities, such as food and cleaning supplies, to a more sophisticated pr ocess of acquiring luxury items not necessary to the fundamentals of life (Jones, 1936). Resear ch has shown that quite often luxury driven purchases are facilitated through retail shops that evoke positive consumer emotions and include a desirable social class c onnotation (Bucklin, 1963; Kin cade and Moye, 2003). Consumer Behavior Researcher, Kenneth Boulding (1956), proposed that humans digest highly complicated ideas by reducing them into manageable portions. Thus, a customers perceived store image of a particular boutique is likely to elicit certain be havioral responses. This is an example of the Mehrabian-Russell model used in a retail cont ext (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982). Effectively, a shopper interprets the stores environmental s timuli (physical features), develops emotional

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22 states (pleasure or arousal) from these cues and then translates their emotions into approach/avoidance behaviors, such as the willingness to buy (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982). Pleasure induced by the store environment has been proven to have a positive correlation with consumer satisfaction (Donovan and Rossite r, 1982). Favorable responses may include positive word-of-mouth, repeat visits, and an incr eased amount of time spent in the store, which research has shown often results in a greater likelihood to buy (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982). Unfavorable responses may consist of negative word-of-mouth, lack of customer loyalty, and reduced amount of time spent in the store. Donovan and Rossiters (1982) study was fundame ntal to the retail environments body of knowledge as it established validity in the connection between physic al retail settings, emotional states, and behavioral intenti ons (Baker et al., 1992). Howe ver, their study didnt provide retailers with what specific environmental factor s influence general leve ls of satisfaction or specific types of behavior s (Baker et al., 1992). Theory and Methods A multi-method case study was used to examine the effects of an eclectic store design on customer satisfaction in an ups cale-womens apparel boutique. Th ere are several studies that have used the case study research design to examine the multitude of variables that impact consumers while shopping in the store environmen t. A variety of data collection tools were employed in these studies, includ ing observations, prototypes/field experiments, surveys, and content analyses. Observation is a widely used systematic a pplication when dissecting a phenomenological incident and is often used by researchers who study organizations they are affiliated with (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). One example of a case study that used observational data collection is Douglass (1949) exam ination, which determined that the general retail market of a

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23 community is largely dependent upon the citizens of that society. Douglas (1949) attempted to reduce confounding variables by using a multi-met hod approach, which involved the review of several documents including merchant records to track customer addresses, merchant bank deposits from a week of business, and the ci tys population distribut ion. Additionally, the researcher observed traffic flow of passengers and applied Reillys law of retail gravitation (Douglas, 1949). Consequently, the researcher was able to ascertain that similar and dissimilar stores within a specific geographi cal area tend to have comparab le target audiences indicating that consumers have a tendency to follow patterns which reflect socially determined behavior (Douglas, 1949). In other words, humans will lik ely gravitate towards the ideal or socially approved town centers, malls, and supermarkets. Store design decisions are formulated using a variety of different methods. The store prototype or field experiment is often used, although it can be very expensive and quite time intensive (Baker et al., 1992). Large retail corporations, such as The Limited or The Gap, utilize this type of research tool for testing custom ers responses towards a new store design before rolling it out throughout all their s ubsidiaries (Baker et al., 1992). It makes sense that this type of implementation occurs in geographies that can be generalized across the stores national target audience. The current study include d the development of a store prot otype that could be used as a model for other boutiques that sell contem porary womens apparel to fashion conscious shoppers in mid-sized communities. An atypical example of a retail prototype is BigHorn Center Phase III. This retail building in Silverthorne, Colorado is one of the United States firs t examples of a retail building that accurately integrated na tural ventilation cooling systems and daylighting in a retail space (Hayter and Torcellini, 2000). Th e centers design team used environmental simulation tactics to

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24 ensure energy optimization would be achieved before actually construc ting the building. This tactic is especially beneficial when accuracy a nd precision is important, but time is not an issue (Groat & Wang, 2002). A combination of archite cts, engineers, and designers developed a simulated environment which incorporated the criterion necessary for meeting ASHRAE energy optimization standards, as well as the envir onmental sensitivities of the project owners, themselves (Hayter and Torcellini, 2000). At the conclusion of the project, Hayter and Torcellini (2000) closely examined the effects of the build ing and found that its lig hting loads decreased 79% from the original two buildings (Phase I and II). Additionally, the researchers estimated that the anticipated energy cost savings would be close to 62%, exceeding the original project goal of 60% (Hayter & Torcellini, 2000). It is assumed that the success of this building will act as a benchmark for other design teams ai ming to achieve similar results. OCass and Julian (2001) studied the effects of materialistic values and self image on fashion clothing consumption. The researcher s developed and distributed through the postal system a self-administered survey in which 450 questionnaires were returned. The survey was analyzed using modified measures that had been used by previous researchers, as well as a measure that was developed specifically for th eir study (OCass & Julian, 2001). By creating a tailor made measurement tool the researchers were able to find a correlation between two variables that, until this study, no previously developed measure had identified (OCass & Julian, 2001). OCass and Julian (2001) also found that hi gh fashion customers have historically held significance for fashion marketers and researchers b ecause they are seen as drivers, influentials, and legitimists of the fashion adoption process (OCass & Julian, pg. 3, 2001). In another study that investigat ed consumer preference of reta il stores as it pertains to consumer perception, the researchers establis hed a linkage between consumers emotional

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25 responses and physical aspects of their envi ronment (Thang and Tan, 2003). Thang and Tan (2003) administered a questionnaire and found that certain store attribut es will influence the proclivity of consumers for certain stores over others (Thang and Ta n, 2003). A five-point Likert Scale was used to ev aluate the composite measures of store image attributes merchandising, store atmosphere, in-store servi ce, accessibility, reputation, promotion, facilities, and post-transaction service (Thang and Tan, 2003). The Likert Scale has a proven record for accurately measuring attitudes (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). The Likert Scale was also used in a study that investigated th e effect of consumer perceptions of store attributes on apparel store preference (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Pau lins and Geistfelds (2003) methodologies and findings are most relevant to th e current study. The investigator s surveyed research from the past 25 years to develop a list of store attributes applicable to apparel retailers (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). They found that attributes of im portance differ across types of stores, as well as customer characteristics (Paulin s & Geistfeld, 2003). For this reason, it is not relevant to examine all aspects of the store e nvironment if they do not pertain to the stores target market or type. Additionally, customer demographics, such as age, income brackets, levels of education, and reasons for shopping affected store choice and the amount of time spent shopping (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Paulins and Geistfeld (2003) st udied 13 stores (7 of which were specialty shops/boutiques) in a midwestern city that is home to a medium-sized university. A questionnaire was developed using a five-point Likert Scale to ev aluate specific store attributes the researchers had chosen from previous stor e attribute studies (Pau lins & Geistfeld, 2003). Similar to the current study, Pau lins & Geistfeld (2003) handpicked those attributes that were most significant to that of the st ore types they were evaluating. So me of these attributes included advertising, appeal of clothing, displays, dressing rooms, location, service, hours of operation,

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26 and prices/promotions. Comparab le to the current study nearly half of the respondents were between the ages of 18 (Paulins & Geistfel d, 2003). This may indicate that young women make up a large part of apparel retail revenue wh en the store is located in a college town. Results of the study revealed that consumers are mo st critical of departme nt store attributes and amenities and feel that appealing merchandise is the key to being a desirable place to shop (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003). Furthermore, the fi ndings showed that as customers educational levels increase so does their standards of st ore attributes (Paulins & Geistfeld, 2003).

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27 CHAPTER 2 METHODOLOGY Case Study Research This research study is an example of a multi-method case study. A case study is a thorough analysis of a social phenomenon pertai ning to one individual condition (Kumar, 2005). Such a method has been employed by various en vironmental psychologists to help explain why certain effects result in part icular built-environments (Kin cade & Moye, 2003; Hayter & Torcellini, 2000). In general, a case study is a thoroughly examined scenario that allows researchers to make generalizations towards othe r similar types of situ ations (Kumar, 2005). Due to the multifarious nature of determining the effects of store environment, the case study design enables retailers and marketers to take a holistic approach towards the research (Kumar, 2005). There are several advantages to using the case study method in behavioral sciences; some of which are list ed below (Sommer & Sommer, 2002): Greater depth within a particular topic. The ability to capture readers interest. Often regarded as enjoyabl e and entertaining reads. Enhanced sense of recall through vivid details. Limitations of the case study incl ude the inability to support or reject a hypothesis, as well as compromised generalizability due to the individualized basis in which each case is built upon. However, if multiple cases within a specific domai n are combined than the external validity is believed to increase (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Variables of Interest This research study will evaluate shoppers pe nchant for the total st ore environment of a womens apparel boutique. Additionally, the st udy will take into account how customer demographics of shopping intentions, preferred ti me of day to shop, social influences, and age

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28 correlate with overall customer loyalty. Resear ch has shown that the combination of a stores physical features and non-design factors significantly contribute to shoppers assessments of total store environment and should be considered when determining consumers overall image of the business (Moore & Fairhurst, 2003). Because of the changing nature of apparel and footwear, researchers and marketing strategists have long encouraged fashion retailers to grow their businesses by subscribing to mark eting practices that appropriately target the trendy customer (Moore & Fairhurst, 2003). For th at reason, this research project which initially planned to examine only physical design features, extended its analysis to include n on-design retail business components. The research will focus on four phys ical design elements 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) overa ll style/design, as well as four non-design elements 1) mood of shopper, 2) location of store, 3) merchandise variety, and 4) service quality. Observation Observation is a method used for collecting data and is considered to be very effective when attempting to ascertain how people intera ct with their physical environment (Kumar, 2005). There are two forms of observation: part icipatory and non-particip atory. The former of which the researcher participates in the activitie s with the group being obs erved and the latter is when the researcher draws conclusions through passive observation (Kumar, 2005). Observation enables the researcher to gather natural react ions from a population th at may otherwise be construed if participants are di rectly asked questions (Kumar, 2005) On the other hand, if the population becomes aware that they are being observed they may a lter their behavior to suit the situation, known as the Hawthorne Effect (K umar, 2005). Additionally, observer bias can sometimes occur which causes data inaccuracy to be reported (Kumar, 2005). Behavior mapping is a form of observation that records peoples behavior in a physical environment (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Two t ypes of behavior mapping are commonly used

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29 when determining how humans interact with their surroundings place-centered and personcentered (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Placecentered maps reveal how people position themselves within a space, whereas person-cent ered maps concentrate on peoples movement and behavior over a period of time (Sommer & So mmer, 2002). Continuous observations record activities over time in a given lo cation and can often reveal problems that occur in that particular setting (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Furthermore, th is form of observation can reveal social and psychological behaviors, as well as provide insight to the relati onship between participants and the environment (Zeisel, 1981). Limitations of behavior mapping include a need for additional forms of data collection in order to support the observed findings and, if there is more than one observer, data collection consistency can be compromised (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Behavior mapping was used in order to ga in a comprehensive understanding of how shoppers reacted to the boutiques existing desi gn, and specifically the layout. A footprint drawing of the original la yout (Appendix A) was created using AutoCAD 2004, a widely accepted computer aided design program used by most design professionals. The map was structured similar to a zone-block ing diagram in that it listed different areas of merchandise by purchasing nature. In general, retail merchandisers and strategi sts encourage product placement to correspond with shop pers intentions to buy. Consequent ly, impulse purchases are typically located near the front of the store and close to the point-of-purchase stations, while demand products are positioned towards the back of the store. This product placement methodology is believed to draw the customer through the enti re store while encouraging them to pass by convenience goods that have been placed in the center section of the space. The boutiques present merchandising style employe d this type of strategy; ther efore, by using the behavior mapping technique the researcher was able to in vestigate if the store s current merchandising

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30 tactics were effective, as well as whether or not this type of shopper re sponds positively to the industrys suggested merchandising approach. Additionally, there was an area on the mapping tool allotted for recording and describing shoppers behaviors at different increments of ti me. Each behavior was assigned a number that was plotted on the footprint to show where the shopper was positioned at the time they carried out the activity. Arrows were also used to tr ack the sequential movement of the shopper. The observation form noted if the shopper purchased anything and if so, the dollar amount and number of items that were bought. Findings from the behavior-mapping tool in formed the researcher of layout and merchandising techniques that were currently effective, as well as the strategies that were not so effective. This information was then used fo r determining appropriate design solutions for the boutiques redesign experiment. Experimental Study. Another behavioral research a pproach that has proven effective in retail environments is the experimental study which implements a change then studies how that change effects its population (Kumar, 2005). Experiments can be conducted in a controlled or natural environment (Kumar, 2005). In a controlled envi ronment, the study population is in a restricted environment, such as a room where all subjects are analyzed under the same conditions (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Alternatively, the natural environment a llows the respondents to be exposed to an intervention in its natural environment (Kumar, 2005). A natural environment was chosen whereby a re design of a boutiques in teriors occurred in the shops actual space. A solid repository of store redesign ideas was built using the information gathered during the observational proce dure, as well as design solutions that extant literature revealed as being successful in ot her upscale retail environments. Based on the

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31 combination of this data, the designer/researcher chose to make several changes to the existing space (Appendix B). Existing merchandising strategies that remained constant were the utilization of wall space for displaying items; the recognized product pl acement strategy of impulse-convenience-demand goods; and the location of the service areas, incl uding the fitting rooms and the point-of-purchase zone. Furthermore, the raised elevation of the window display was maintained, however the materials used in this location were modifie d. Space planning began by field verifying the dimensions of the entire sell ing area approximately 1200 sq/f t. AutoCAD drawings were constructed reflecting the existing floor plan and elevations of four walls. After determining the amount of linear feet that were needed to appr opriately display the shop s fluctuating inventory, the trips to flea markets and home improvement st ores began. The boutiques new style was to be eclectic a marriage of urban i ndustrialism and feminine finesse. The designer was tasked with creating a ne w store image and an effective working environment using $5000 and one week to comp lete the project. A ll the materials and furnishings were purchased over a one-month period prior to the actual co nstruction. Before the process began, the merchandise was removed from the store and placed in a twenty-foot moving van for temporary storage. Outdated adjustable shelves, fixture brackets, and waterfall hooks were dismantled from the black-laminated slatwa lls. This conventional display equipment was donated to the Salvation Army for use in their lo cal retail outposts. A de parture from standard merchandising techniques and department-store feat ures went underway. A shelf that sat at eight feet high and ran along the store s entire perimeter was also dismantled. This shelf contributed little to the space by imposing an interruption on th e wall plane and as a result, caused the ceiling to feel as though it was low and intrusive. Th e odd obstruction also cast shadows over most of

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32 the items that sat on the walls and provided no eff ective use because it was too high to be utilized for merchandising purposes. Soiled carpet was pu lled up and tack strips were removed exposing the concrete slab foundation. A pplications of Spackle and sandpa per repaired the wall surfaces where deconstruction had occurred. Fixture heads were dismantled from the track lighting strips and tape was applied to all expo sed electrical fittings. Windows were tapped off and the walls were prepped for the painting pro cess that was to occur the followi ng day. Industrial Kraft paper was rolled out over the entire floor so as to protect the raw surface from paint and debris. The ceiling and walls were coated with an ultra-white paint, e nhancing the size and brightness of the interior space. A flat finish was chosen in order to disguise any small imperfections on the surface. Galvanized pipe assemblies were used for the wall fixtures that hang clothing. The fabrication of customized shelves also took place using one-inch thick, twoby-four boards that had been cut to various lengths and then stained to a deep walnut finish. A clear, lacquer was applied over the double-coat ed stain in order to make the surface more resilient to wear, as well as eas ier to clean. The track head li ghting which underwent an easy, yet effective transformation was reinstalled. By simp ly repainting the vanilla cans with a vibrant white lacquer spray, the fixtures looked as if they were br and new. A damask vinyl wall covering was hung on the back wall. This decorativ e feature not only tied in the green and gold color scheme while adding a dose of femininity, but also drew the shopper to the rear of the store. It enabled what was othe rwise a very open, austere space to have a sense of enclosure and a feeling of hominess. When the time came to s eal the floors, a thick, viscous solvent was rolled out to create a smoother surface that would be impe rvious to imbedded dirt as well as offer a shiny, more reflective finish.

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33 Eventually the merchandise was returned to th e store, and, in additi on to receiving a fresh, new look for her boutique, the owner was given a unique opportunity to conduct a systematic and exceedingly thorough physical inventory check. As each item was taken off the truck, it was entered into the computer and verified as on-hand inventory. Although tedious and timeconsuming, this process was invaluable to th e business operator by enab ling every article to become accounted for that may have otherwise b een overlooked if conducted in a fully stocked store. A physical inventory assessment is nece ssary in all retail environments due to the unavoidable nature of stolen goods and mislabeled units. It is typically performed on a quarterly and year-end basis. Rugs were strategically laid to designate certain zones and furnishings were placed to denote dwelling areas. Demarcation of these zones was carefully considered during the conceptual phases of design. The designer was fu lly aware that these areas must have a logical orientation for both the user and the service providers. Additionally, these designated zones should integrate seamlessly across one another a nd read as one whole unit in this case, a sophisticated-fashion house. The intent was to create an environment that had meaning or an emotional significance to its users. Incorporatin g a sitting area made up of furniture commonly seen in residential environments supported this notion. A Victoria n tufted sofa upholstered in a golden-green silk damask fabric offset tw o occasional chairs. A once shabby table was refinished to resemble an Art Deco period piece and was placed in the middle of the furniture pieces adding further sophistication and grandeur to this newly assigned social zone. Other freestanding furnishings were placed around the space with the intention of deliberately guiding shoppers through various parts of the store in an unobtrusive and natural manner. The new layout was designed to be open a nd spacious while still effectivel y promoting fashion and style

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34 ideas. For example, two antique birdcage stands were used as mannequin stands displaying full outfits hung on body forms. As with most of the new furniture/display elements, these stands can be repositioned in the store at anytime offe ring a more versatile and flexible approach to merchandising. The cash wrap or the purchasing area was devised using a small dining table. Two dining chairs that were reuphol stered in a vinyl fabric (for durability purposes) sat on either side of the desk one for the cashier and the other for the shopper or guest. This intimate arrangement was chosen to encourage the shoppe r to feel like a friend of the boutique, not merely a paying customer. Curtains with small chains looped through grommeted panels of triple-ply white, polyester-crepe were hung in front of the fitting rooms. The chains extended 10 below the door header as to allow natural light to filter in abov e the enclosure. Moreover, the snow-white color of the fabric transmitted ancillary light into th e fitting room space, while the three layers of fabric provided the shoppers with necessary priv acy. The curtain panels were cut extra long in order to create a billowing effect on the floor. This technique juxtaposed the delicacy of the curtains against the raw, edginess of the conc rete floor reemphasizing the intended feminineindustrial design scheme. The window display wa s created using two trad itional cloth covered body forms hung from the ceiling with s-hooks and heavy-gauge chains. Several rows of wooden discs sporadically knotted on natural twine were suspended from the dropped ceiling that surrounds the window stage. This beaded curtain backdrop enables outside viewers to articulate the window presentation as a compos ition, while never compromising their ability to view the rest of the store. It also allows natural light to flood in to the main portion of the interior space, whereas a solid backdrop may limit daylighting accessibility. Plants, candles, fashion

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35 magazines and other decorative features were placed throughout the store and the boutique was ready to make its offi cial debut (Appendix C). Data Collection Tool The data collection tool for this study wa s a questionnaire divided into three parts (Appendix D). The first section asked questi ons involving reasons fo r shopping, preferred time of day to shop, social influences, and age. The shopping intentions category is divided into five parts being leisure, special occasion, having a sale, general clothing needs, and other. Respondents preferred time of day to shop is br oken down into five, two-hour segments. Four two-hour modules consist of the stores eigh t-hour business day beginning at 10:00am and ending at 6:00pm. The fifth option is other enabling the respondent to express business hours beyond that of the boutiques curr ent operating hours. It is po ssible that if enough respondents shop at times other than those pr esently offered it might be a sensible business decision to modify or extend current operating hours. Social influences are defined in this context as methods in which the shoppers learned of the bou tique. These mediums included friend/relative, The Gainesville Sun a local newspaper, radio advertisement, magazine, and other. The age category was also classified into five groupings 1) under 18, 2) 18, 3) 23, 4) 31, and 5) over 40. The remaining fourteen questions focuse d on the respondents opinions towards the boutiques various environmental elements. In the first grouping respondents were asked to record the extent of their attitudes to nine statements on a five-point Likert-Scale. The rating scale ranged from Very Bad to Very Good in which a check was placed in the box that most appropriately matched her feeling for each statem ent. The remaining five statements asked respondents to record their exte nt of agreement on a Likert-Scale that ranged from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Again, the participan t was to check the area th at most appropriately

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36 matched her belief. Both groupings of statem ents encompassed design and non-design related factors, including the shoppers mood at the time of the survey administration, her attitude towards the overall shopping experience, and her willingness to purchase environmentally sensitive clothing. In the same way green practic es have become a near standard within the construction and design arena, they are also gaining momentum in the apparel industry as witnessed by such labels as Edun, Loomstate, an d American Apparel. Although the latter is not entirely relevant to the current study, it is of personal interest to the resear cher to examine the study populations general opinion toward s environmentally safe clothing. Likert-Scales The Likert Scale is a valid tool for accura tely measuring attitudes (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). A collection of various ideas and beli efs on a certain topic are collected. After eliminating all viewpoints that dont have a distin ctively favorable or distinctively unfavorable estimation, the statements are then positioned on a survey next to a degree of agreement continuum (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). The res pondents record their level of concurrence by marking the category (Strongly Agree, Agree, U ndecided, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) that most appropriately fits their opinion (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). It is important that the statements distinguish between a positive and nega tive perspective in order to analyze the results accurately. Participant Sampling The study population was gathered by approachi ng female shoppers as they came into the boutique. Before requesting that the shopper part icipate in the study, she was asked if she had visited the store in the past. Because some survey questions assumed the respondent had made previous visits to the boutique only those shoppers that had b een to the store before were eligible to participate. Qualifie d participants were then informed of the studys intent to examine

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37 shoppers evaluation of the total shopping environment. A total of 40 shoppers participated in the study. Each participant wa s requested to read and sign an informed consent document (Appendix E). The consent form was collected by the researcher and pla ced in a box separate from that of the survey so as to further ensu re confidentiality of respondents answers. Each participant was also given a copy of the consent form for her pers onal records. All participants were ensured that their answers would remain st rictly confidential. The Institutional Review Board of the University of Florida has determin ed that this study posed no more than minimal risk to participants (Appendix F). In accord ance with the shop owners permission, a 20% discount coupon was given to each responde nt for participating in the study. Summary In summary this research is an example of a multi-method case study. Information that had been gathered from observational procedures was used to inform a field experiment. The experiment was then tested by a convenience sa mples response through a survey. The intent was to examine shoppers evaluations of a newl y designed apparel boutiq ue, as well as their overall level of customer loyalty.

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38 CHAPTER 3 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND RESULTS In this chapter, the quantitative results desc ribing the customers pe rceptions and reactions to the store are discussed. First, the procedure used to collect th e data and characteristics of the respondents are examined, followed by a review of the methods used to analyze the data. Finally, the results of the analysis are explained. During the time period between February 1, 2006 and March 31, 2006, a random selection of the boutiques customers was asked to co mplete a questionnaire (Appendix D). The questionnaire assessed the demographic inform ation about the respondents and their attitudes toward the store. The responses to the survey were entered into an Excel spread sheet and exported to SPSS, a statistical analysis software package, for analysis. Descriptive Statistics Descriptive statistics were run on the raw data collected from th e sample. This type of data classification is used in order to summarize the quantitative figures into manageable portions (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). It is a way of assigning numerical desc riptions to a sample and is typically performed against ca tegorical and interval measur es (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Categorical measures contain variables that are di screte. A question that asks a respondent to explain his/her hair color and then offers blond, br own, red, or gray as options is an example of a categorical measure. Interval measures involve variables that have a va riety of levels along a continuum. A question containing a degree of ag reement scale generates interval data. Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample A greater part of the sample (67.5%) fell into the age category of 18. This statistic did not come as any surprise due to the typical demogr aphics of a large state-university based town.

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39 There were no participants under th e age of 18 years. Seven of th e participants were between 23 and 30, while six shoppers fell into the 31 age category. Table 3-1. Demographics Age Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid 18 27 67.5 67.5 23 7 17.5 85.0 31 6 15.0 100.0 Total 40 100.0 The largest majority of the participants (57.5%) stated they shopped for leisurely purposes, while another 30% said they shopped w ith leisurely intents co mbined with general clothing needs, special occasions, and/or other reas ons. This did not come as surprise as it has been shown that young consumers are more likel y to have a greater tendency to shop for recreational purposes (Boedecker, 1997). Both, sp ecial occasion and the other category were 2.5% of total respondents reasons for shopping. Alternatively, special occasion was listed 32.5% of the time when combined w ith leisure, general clothing n eeds, and/or other. Fivepercent of the participants d eclared general clothing needs were their main motive for shopping whereas 20% of shoppers included ge neral clothing needs as one of several reasons for shopping. Table 3-2. Demographics Shopping Intentions Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Leisure (1) 23 57.5 57.5 Special occasion (2) 1 2.5 60.0 General clothing needs (3) 2 5.0 65.0 Other (4) 1 2.5 67.5 1,2,3,4 7 17.5 85.0 1,2 2 5.0 90.0 2,4 1 2.5 92.5 1,2,3 1 2.5 95.0 1,2,4 2 5.0 100.0 Total 40 100.0

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40 Seventeen of the forty participants pref erred shopping between 2pm; eleven between 4pm; six between 12pmpm; one between 10 ampm; one in the other category; two between 12pmpm; one between 2p mpm and one respondent did not answer the question. Table 3-3. Demographics Preferred Time of Day to Shop Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid 10ampm 1 2.6 2.6 12pmpm 6 15.4 17.9 2pmpm 17 43.6 61.5 4pmpm 11 28.2 89.7 other 1 2.6 92.3 2,3 2 5.1 97.4 3,4 1 2.6 100.0 Total 39 100.0 Missing System 1 Total 40 Almost 80% of the respondents had heard of the boutique through a fr iend or a relative. This statistic may imply that a majority of these customers we re driven through word-of-mouth, providing useful insight to a boutique storeowner for selecting various forms of advertising mediums. Another 18% chose oth er as to how they were info rmed of the boutique, including two drive by responses and five responses that involved famili arity with neighboring businesses and/or the plaza in which the boutique is located. Only one individual statedThe Gainesville Suna local newspaper, while one re spondent did not answer the question at all. Table 3-4. Demographics Social Influences Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Friend/ Relative 31 79.5 79.5 Gainesville Sun 1 2.6 82.1 Other 7 17.9 100.0 Total 39 100.0 Missing System 1 Total 40

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41 To examine how the perceived characteristics of the stor e affected shoppers overall attitudes toward the store, a composition measure of overall attitude to the store was formed by averaging the responses to the questions assessing satisfaction, shopping frequency, and recommendations to a friend. This composite measur e is typically used by market research firms to measure the overall loyalty of customers based on the contention that devoted customers shop in the store frequently, are satisfied with thei r shopping experience, a nd recommend the store to friends. The mean for this measure among the sample of customers was 4.18. Table 3-5. Customer Loyalty Composite Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid 1.00 3 7.5 7.5 1.33 10 25.0 32.5 1.67 13 32.5 65.0 2.00 4 10.0 75.0 2.33 4 10.0 85.0 2.67 3 7.5 92.5 3.00 2 5.0 97.5 3.33 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Evaluation of Store Environment Contingency tables for each measure pertaining to store attributes were formed. For every question, the tables cells contai ned the frequencies of occurrence, indicating how many times each option was preferred by the respondents. Us ing this information, the mean was computed giving the average response for each category. Th is average is known as a measure of central tendency. Central tendency is a number that most appropriately di stinguishes the sample population as a whole (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). Majority of the shoppers or 48.7% rated thei r mood as good with 33.3% having been in a neutral mood and 17.9% in a very good mood. One individual did not answer the question.

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42 Using a rating of 5 as being very good, respondent s evaluations of their mood on the day they participated in the study had a mean of 3.85. Table 3-6. Shopper Mood Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 7 17.9 17.9 Good 19 48.7 66.7 Neutral 13 33.3 100.0 Total 39 100.0 Missing System 1 Total 40 Over half of the participants felt the location of the stor e was good, while one participant felt it was bad. Fifteen-percent considered th e location to be very good and another 27.5% believed it to be neutral or ju st okay. Using a rating of 5 as being very good, respondents evaluations of the boutiques location had a mean of 3.82. Table 3-7. Store Location Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 6 15.0 15.0 Good 22 55.0 70.0 Neutral 11 27.5 97.5 Bad 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 A generous 72.5% of shoppers rated the st ore atmosphere as very good, while the remaining 27.5% considered it to be good. With a score of 5 measured as very good, the store atmosphere mean was 4.72. Table 3-8. Store Atmosphere Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 29 72.5 72.5 Good 11 27.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0

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43 Twenty-six participants eval uated the store design as ve ry good, while an other twelve individuals deemed it as good. One respondent felt the design was somewhere between very good and good, whereas another consider ed it to be neutral. Using a rating of 5 as being very good, respondents assessment of the bou tiques design had a mean of 4.64. Table 3-9. Store Design Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 26 65.0 65.0 Between good and very good 1 2.5 67.5 Good 12 30.0 97.5 Neutral 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 A majority of the shoppers regarded the color scheme to be very good, while another 30% rated the color selections as good. Only one respondent felt the a ssortment of colors was neutral. The mean across opinions was 4.65, having used 5 as a rating for very good. Table 3-10. Color Scheme Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 27 67.5 67.5 Good 12 30.0 97.5 Neutral 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Thirty-one of the forty respondents evaluated the lighting in the main shopping area to be very good, while the other nine respondents assessed it to be good. Using a rating of 5 as being very good, the general store lighting had a mean of 4.77. Table 3-11. General St ore Lighting Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 31 77.5 77.5 Good 9 22.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0

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44 Eighty percent of shoppers felt the lighting w ithin the fitti ng rooms was very good. Seven participants determined that the fitting room lighting was good and only one assessed it as neutral. The mean across evaluations was 4.77, using a rating of 5 as being very good. Table 3-12. Fitting R oom Lighting Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 32 80.0 80.0 Good 7 17.5 97.5 Neutral 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 The variety of product was considered by 52.5% of participants to be good, while another 37.5% rated the merchandise assortment to be very good. Four i ndividuals assessed the collection as neutral. The combination of all the partic ipants product variety evaluations resulted in a mean rating of 4.27, using a very good rating of 5. Table 3-13. Product Variety Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 15 37.5 37.5 Good 21 52.5 90.0 Neutral 4 10.0 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Thirty-five respondents reported that customer service was very good, while another four felt it was good. Only one woman rated the customer service as n eutral. Using a rating of 5 as being very good, the overall customer service evaluation was a mean of 4.77. Table 3-14. Customer Service Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Very Good 35 87.5 87.5 Good 4 10.0 97.5 Neutral 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0

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45 The last section of the survey asked particip ants to rate their opinions toward five statements on a 5-point Likert-Scale. If give n a rating of a five, the statement was strongly agreed with, while given a rating of one, the st atement was strongly disagreed with. When asked whether respondents were satisfied with thei r shopping experience, 55% strongly agreed, 42.5% agreed, and just one individual (or 2.5%) ha d a neutral opinion. Using a rating of 5 as being strongly agree, the overall mean of shopping experience satisfaction was 4.52. Table 3-15. Shopping Experience Evaluation Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Strongly Agree 22 55.0 55.0 Agree 17 42.5 97.5 Neutral 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Fourteen participants mark ed agree as to whether or not they would purchase environmentally sensitive clothing, with thirteen each reporting strongly agree and neutral as their clothing type propensity. The mean acr oss responses was 4.00, with a rating of 5 as strongly agree. Table 3-16. Propensity to Buy E nvironmentally Sensitive Clothing Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Strongly Agree 13 32.5 32.5 Agree 14 35.0 67.5 Neutral 13 32.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 The majority (or 37.5%) of respondents agreed that their shopping wa s frequent at the boutique, whereas another 30% belie ved their shopping frequency to be neutral. Another five respondents (or 12.5%) strongly agreed that they shopped frequently at this particular boutique.

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46 The combination of all the participants levels of shopping frequency opinions resulted in a mean rating of 3.35, using a strongly agree rating of 5. Table 3-17. Shopping Freque ncy at the Boutique Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Strongly Agree 5 12.5 12.5 Agree 15 37.5 50.0 Neutral 12 30.0 80.0 Disagree 5 12.5 92.5 Strongly Disagree 3 7.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Interestingly, five respondents reported a disa greement when asked if they purchased more clothing when items were discounted one strongl y disagreed, while four others disagreed. Another twelve respondents were neutral toward s the question. Fifteen agreed that they buy more when products are discounted and just five strongly agr eed with the discount notion. A mean of 3.82 resulted, using a 5 rating as strongly agree. Table 3-18. Purchase Volu me of Discounted Product Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Strongly Agree 12 30.0 30.0 Agree 15 37.5 67.5 Neutral 8 20.0 87.5 Disagree 4 10.0 97.5 Strongly Disagree 1 2.5 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Twenty-nine respondents reported that they str ongly agree with the statement that asks whether they recommend the boutique to friends. Another nine selected agree, with the two remaining respondents indicating that they were n eutral to the question. Using a rating of 5 as being strongly agree, the overall customer service evaluation had a mean of 4.67.

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47 Table 3-19. Boutique Recommendation to Friends Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Strongly Agree 29 72.5 72.5 Agree 9 22.5 95.0 Neutral 2 5.0 100.0 Total 40 100.0 Correlation Correlations between the independent variab les of customer attitudes towards store attributes and the dependent vari able of overall customer loyalty were determined in order to measure the impact of each factor on overall custom er loyalty. A table detailing these results is listed below. Table 3-20. Correlations Store Attri butes and Customer Loyalty Composite Customer Loyalty Evaluation Store Attributes Mood .153 Location .183 Store Atmosphere .-0.064 Store Design .083 Store Colors .460 General Lighting .242 Fitting Rooms Lighting .029 Product Variety .045 Customer Service .183 The statistical analysis revealed that none of the store attribut es had a significant effect on overall customer loyalty other than the color scheme It is postulated that the lack of significance may have occurred due to the small sample size and an overall pre-exis ting high loyalty rating amongst the participating shoppers. Basically, becau se the respondents were to have previously visited the store in order to quali fy for the study, it is likely that the data is skewed towards an existing high loyalty towards the store regardless of the environmental changes that occurred. This dynamic created a ceiling effect, wher eby there was no variation in the data.

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48 Analysis of Variance Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) enables resear chers to compare more then two means and is often used to understand how the dependent vari able is affected by th e independent variables (Sommer & Sommer, 2002). By averaging the satisfaction of current shopping experience, boutique shopping frequency, and recommendation of the boutique to friends, the dependent variable of overall customer l oyalty was formed. This overall evaluation was then compared against each of the individual categorical mean s in questions one through four in order to determine whether a relationship exists between overall custom er loyalty and 1) shopping intentions, 2) preferred times of day to shop, 3) so cial influences, and 4) age. The ANOVA test revealed whether the respondents characteristic s affected overall cust omer loyalty. It is important for business owners to uncover these rela tionships because it can inform them of their current markets demographical characteristics and personality traits. Understanding these factors not only enables retailers to better accomm odate their existing clientele, but also allows them to analyze their curr ent marketing strategy. Table 3-21. ANOVA Respondent s Shopping Intentions Effect on Customer Loyalty N Mean leisure 23 1.8261 special occasion 1 3.0000 general clothing needs 2 1.8333 other 1 2.0000 1,2,3,4 7 1.7619 1,2 2 1.6667 2,4 1 2.3333 1,2,3 1 1.0000 1,2,4 2 1.5000 Total 40 1.8167 Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Between Groups 2.637 8 .330 .977 .472 Within Groups 10.463 31 .338 Total 13.100 39

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49 Table 3-22. ANOVA Preferred Time of Da y to Shop Effect on Customer Loyalty N Mean 10ampm 1 1.6667 12pmpm 6 1.5556 2pmpm 17 2.0196 4pmpm 11 1.7273 other 1 1.6667 2,3 2 1.6667 3,4 1 1.6667 Total 39 1.8205 Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Between Groups 1.309 6 .218 .593 .733 Within Groups 11.768 32 .368 Total 13.077 38 Table 3-23. ANOVA Social Influences Effect on Customer Loyalty N Mean Friend/Relative 31 1.8387 Gainesville Sun 1 2.3333 Other 7 1.5714 Total 39 1.8034 Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Between Groups .696 2 .348 1.033 .366 Within Groups 12.130 36 .337 Total 12.826 38 Table 3-24. ANOVA Age Eff ect on Customer Loyalty N Mean 18 27 1.7901 23 7 1.7143 31 6 2.0556 Total 40 1.8167 Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Between Groups .435 2 .217 .635 .536 Within Groups 12.665 37 .342 Total 13.100 39

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50 The results of the ANOVA analysis revealed th at the most loyal customers appear to shop from 2pm (Table 3-22) and are 31 years ol d (Table 3-24). Additionally, these loyal shoppers selected special occasion (Table 3-21) as their main motivator for shopping; however, none of the results qualify as sta tistically significant due to the ma rginal differences in the means of the customer loyalty composite measures fo r shopping time of day, customer age, and source of information about the store. This was the resu lt of the lack of variat ion across a small sample size

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51 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION Though, the analyses performed on the collected data produced statistic ally insignificant results, it is improbable to assu me that the experimental store e nvironment had no effect at all on its customers. Effectively, the lack of variat ion across respondents scores created a ceiling effect, skewing the data and concl uding that it could not be consider ed statistically relevant. On the other hand, the exceedingly high number of positive evaluations may suggest that the business owner is, indeed, appropriately hitting her target market. Very often, people who possess similar demographics also tend to hol d comparable social values and associate comparable meanings with personal belongings and environmental su rroundings (Luomala, 2003; Lindquist, 1974). Although the sample in this case was statistica lly too alike, it may be reasonable to consider that these respondents may be indicativ e of typical apparel boutique shoppers in large university towns. Consequently this samples partiality towards specific boutique design features may parallel those of specialty store shoppers in other college towns. Despite the statistical results the study proposes multiple design solutions and various marketing techniques that may prove instrumental to designers within the retail arena. These professionals are presented an oppor tunity to implement similar stra tegies and are encouraged to further build upon the ideas presente d here. This chapter will re view and discuss each of the design and non-design elements that were ex amined, as well as report some noteworthy demographical relationships. Evaluation of Design Elements Based on the major design changes that were made, the space was broken down into four design evaluation categories 1) atmosphere; 2) st yle/design; 3) color sc heme; and 4) lighting. Atmosphere included smell, temperature, s ound, and touch. Style and design described the

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52 overall theme of the space (i.e., contemporary vs. traditional; open layout vs. controlled, etc.), while the color scheme consisted of the color pa lette and material select ions. Lastly, lighting pertained to the general shopping ar ea and within the fitting room s. Shoppers were asked to evaluate their individual percep tions of the stores specific fe atures, and then record their feelings on a 5-point Likert Scale. Atmosphere Atmosphere generally pertains to the arousal of sensory cues within an environment. The designer/researcher incorporated atmospheric components that were believed to connect with the target markets lifestyle. A clean, pleasant smell was easily maintained through frequent cleaning and the use of fresh scented plug-in de odorizers. Achieving suitable temperature conditions was far more challenging. The date d building had inadequate insulation, which frequently caused temperature extremes to occur. In efforts to improve such conditions, quick fix-its that conveyed a more pl easurable setting were implemented. For example, during the cooler winter months, candles we re lit and hot beverages were of ten served in order to promote warmth and coziness. In temperate conditi ons, propping the front door open allowed oxygenfilled air and outdoor breezes to enter, while in the hotter seasons, it is suggested the front door remain shut with oscillating fans placed around the space and the thermostat set at a moderate position. Shoppers may feel a sense of coolness just by experiencing the hum of fans and the movement of air. After the renovation, the store en compassed more hard surfaces and an increase in spatial volume. The sound absorption capacity of the space was reduced through the extinction of fiberboard slat-walls along the periphery, and the removal of merchandising floor fixtures. Although intended, these renovations, as well as th e newly exposed concre te flooring condition reverberated sound greater than before. The new acoustic characteristics of the space were

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53 reminiscent of an old factory warehouse, rein forcing the urban-industrial theme. A wellcomposed sound quality was achieved through the placement of rugs, furniture, and other soft goods. The merchandise also significantly contri buted to overall noise co ntrol by increasing the spaces absorption capabilities. A shoppers ability to see merchandise may possi bly be the most important sensory cue to consider when designing a fashion boutique. A business that survives on selling unique and often expensive items must be ab le to adequately showcase product in a visibly sensible manner. Moving most of the merchandise to the outer pe rminter of the space created an open layout and enabled the center of the store to be used for socio-petal arrang ements. Such arrangements are recommended by behavior psychologists to faci litate conversation and a sense of community within a public space (Bechtel and Churchman, 2002) This newly designed sitting area not only gave the eye a break from sensory overload, but also presented shoppers with a panoramic view of the shop as they immediatel y entered the space. Wall fixtures were hung at 4 with shelves placed at 5. These heights were selected according to industry professionals recommendations to hang fixtures between 3 and 5. Lighting was adjusted to achieve desirable brightness and accurate color rendering. Another key element to an apparel stores se nsory stimulation is touch. A tactile-rich environment was presented using a mixed material palette comprised of soft/hard, shiny/matte, and textured/smooth surfaces. Additionally, th e extreme juxtaposition of opposing materials imparts the businesss easygoing disposition and arti stic nature. The mean evaluation rating for atmosphere was 4.72 out of a possible 5. In fact all forty respondents felt that the new store atmosphere was either good or very good. These resu lts indicate that the samp le is satisfied with the various atmospheric components that were selected for the space.

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54 Style/Design By the very nature of a retail store, there are several constituents that will tell the story of one entire space. As explained by Rengel (2003) order in a space is achieved when several functions come together to form a cohesive unde rstanding of the spaces intention. These groups include harmonious arrangements amongst physical features, organizational methods that facilitate natural progression, and interpretation of a space as one single unit (Rengel, 2003). The shelving units and plumbing assemblies that made up a majority of the new merchandising displays were designed to provide functionality, but also to establ ish a sense of order and balance within the space. Equilibrium was accomplished through placement of several pipes hung consecutively in a row down the two main wa lls. Shelves that hung above every two pipe groupings unified the composition, while furthe ring the functionality and overall visual complexity. It was crucial that all the fixtures were reinforced by load bearing construction or wall studs because of the merchandise weight that would be supported by these key components. A marriage of opposites, the store encompassed everything from old and new to rough and smooth resulting in a style that is of ten typified as eclectic. The ge neral feel is urban and citified, embracing the familiar theme of less is more. Minimalism and clean lines were stressed though the use of simplistic fixtures; an open layout; a so ft color scheme with a white back drop; and the repetition of elements. All, but one particip ant regarded the style/ design as good or very good, resulting in a mean of 4.64. This assessment lends credibility to the cons ideration of eclectic style with an urban focus when designing a hi gh-fashion womens boutique that caters to a trendier audience. Color Scheme Color of a space can be defined through seve ral mediums. Commonly, paint and fabric selections come to mind firs t, however innovative material us age can also have a tremendous

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55 effect on a spaces color impact. A predominantly neutral color palette with touches of pistachio green and golden yellow was selected for this pr oject. Using a neutral backdrop of fresh, white walls symbolizes perfection and purity (Digit al River GmbH, 2005). The colorless background suggests simplicity, lightness, and is regularly associated with lowe r-fat/healthy enti ties (Digital River GmbH, 2005). For contemporary clothing st ores, where the target audience is between sizes 0-12 and often strives to maintain a hea lthy lifestyle, this subconscious health impression could have positive psychological effects. Research also suggests that green often symbolizes growth, freshness, and harmony, while yellow indicates joy, energy, and honor (Digital River GmbH, 2005). Success and money is synonymous w ith green, establishing an association with business richness (Digital River GmbH, 2005). Green is believed to be the most restful color to the human eye becoming an ideal balance for ener gy stimulating yellow. With an ability to evoke pleasant and cheerful feelings, yellow is often used for product promotion and is commonly aligned with items pertaining to leisure (Digital River GmbH, 2005). The combination of respondents color scheme eval uations yielded a 4.65 mean. Once again, thirtynine of the forty respondents fe lt the colors of the store were good or very good, signifying that the neutral backdrop with hints of soft greens and yellows was a favorable palette for this particular audience. Lighting Compact florescent bulbs substituted the once energy-robbing, incandesc ent bulbs in order to extend the life cycle of the lamps and impr ove efficiency, but not compromise the color rendering qualities of the space. The model and brand selected was a Sylvania Energy Star lamp which was designed to cast a warm, gentle glow, rather than the harsh brightness that fluorescents are typically known fo r. Ideally, the lighting system would have undergone a major overhaul, however budget and time limitations prohi bited this. Instead, the new lighting scheme

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56 was primarily designed to serve as ambient illu mination for general tasks and orientation. In designated areas, track heads were pointed dire ctly on special displays to provide accent illumination or key light. This type of lighting feature is often used in retail environments for dramatizing key items and was completed only af ter the displays were put into place and the merchandise was returned to the store. One hundr ed percent of respondents felt the general store lighting was at least good, with 77.5% scoring it as very good. Having knowledge of the lighting complaints customers had delivered in the previous space, this favorable result was slightly unexpected. As mentioned, few t echnical modifications had been implemented; therefore, it may be reasonable to assume that the overall positive evaluation was the result of several constituents coming together to create one cohesive design. The combination of lig hting (artificial and natural), color, and material choices shed new light on the revamped space. Although the fitting rooms pre-existing small chandeliers emitted minimal light, the owner wished for them to stay. The brightne ss was increased slightly by removing the beaded shades and increasing the bulb wattage, but the real impact came from the natural light that was able to cross over the dropped curtain panel. Evaluations of the fitting rooms had the same overall mean of 4.77 as the general lighting asse ssments did, revealing that it is possible to achieve satisfactory lighting c onditions by manipulating relate d design components beyond that of the fixtures themselves. Evaluation of Non-Design Elements Four non-design, but retail related elements we re examined to uncover shoppers feelings towards the stores operative components 1) mood, 2) location, 3) pr oduct variety, and 4) customer service. Although mood is not an actu al business element, it is believed to have a noteworthy impact on peoples perceptions of th eir surroundings. Any combination of these elements can play into the overall effect that store environments have on shoppers; thus, it may

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57 be of considerable importance to convey this information to various retail professionals for further use. Mood Mood has a profound effect on evaluation outcom es. Often, we perceive things as wonderful and pleasurable when we are persona lly feeling positive and happy and, vice-versa. The survey asked respondents to indicate their mood so that, if relevant, correlations between mood and various elements could be made. Due to the results of the study, the need to further isolate a variable and correlate with mood was unnecessary. A mean of 3.85 indicated that the samples overall mood was neither extraordinar ily high nor low, providi ng reasonable assurance that the shoppers perceptions of the store were not notably impacted by the moods they experienced at the time of the study. Location Location was an element that could not unde rgo any physical alterations. However, by including this component on the survey, the owne r was provided with a quantitative assessment of how her customers perceive th e stores location. This information is very helpful to a retail business owner. Although a majority of the re spondents evaluated the location as good, eleven specified it was neutral and one even felt it wa s bad. Another six res pondents reported the location was very good resulting in a range of opi nions. This may imply that the location is currently acceptable, but could possibly work bett er if moved elsewhere. Relocation would only be a consideration if the owner felt that the potential of higher profits outweighs the cost of moving. This is an extensive examination, requi ring awareness of economic growth patterns and access to future local development projects.

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58 Product Variety The merchandise, which was unchanged during the renovation process, was another nondesign element that customers were asked to criti que. A mean of 4.27 imp lied that, in general, the sample was pleased with the product offeri ngs currently in the s hop. Alternatively, it is difficult to ascertain whether or not the merchandi se rating was based sole ly on the product or if the new display techniques a nd/or the modified store envi ronment affected the shoppers perceptions. Customer Service Overall the response to customer service wa s very positive. Over 87% of respondents rated it as very good. This result im plies that the majority of cust omers felt that customer service was above expected; yet in business there is always room for improvement. The owner may elect to administer another survey that asks open-ended questions pert aining to how the shop can improve customer service and what specialized assistance is desired by the customer base. Evaluation of Extraneous Variables The evaluation of two variable s that contributed little to the study itself, but offered valuable insight to the apparel industry, as well as the business ow ner were 1) the propensity to purchase environmentally sensitive clothing, and 2) the likelihood of buying more when products are discounted. Opinions regarding the former were non-extreme with a near even breakdown across neutral, agree, and strongly agree. It is realistic to sup pose that awareness of these types of product offerings was minimal at the time of the study, however as the clothing industry continues to educate consumers on the growi ng concern of environm entally responsible manufacturing and design, this ove rall evaluation is likely to ch ange. Recently, and specifically in the last year, there has been a major shift in the efforts made by desi gners and manufacturers to encourage vertically integrat ed earth-friendly practices. Orga nic cotton (pesticide free), the

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59 use of bamboo fibers and abaca plants, and non-toxi c vegetable dyes are all examples of eco-safe apparel components being so ld in the market today. The results of whether shoppers are prone to buying more when products are discounted were interesting. Although most respondents agreed that they buy more volume when items are discounted, several did not. In fact, five disa greed, giving reason to believe these shoppers buy what they like regardless of price. It may be advantageous to call this type of customer when new merchandise arrives, while those that prefer discounted it ems can be notified when sales occur. Understanding these customer character istics may improve profits, as well as enhance overall customer service perceptions. Demographics Nearly 70% of the sample was between th e ages of 18, while the remaining 30% was split almost evenly among those aged 23 a nd 31. Leisurely intent was the most commonly reported reason for shoppi ng, possibly indicating that thes e individuals are likely to shop at stores that offer a pleas urable environment and/or a un ique experience. Additionally, most of the participants had heard of the boutique through a friend or relative. The sample also chose the period between 2pm as the mo st preferred time of day to shop. After the customer loyalty composite was compared against the participants mean demographical characteristics, it was found that those within the age bracket of 31 and those whom shop between 2pm tended to be the most loyal. Interestingly, the ANOVA analysis found special occasion to be the favored shoppi ng intention amongst the most loyal customers, which differs from the sample majority who c hose leisure as the most popular reason for shopping. The statistical analyses revealed interesting results, but could cert ainly be expanded upon in future research studies. Possibilities for augmenting the information discovered here are

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60 discussed in the following chapter, as is the c onsideration of specific m odifications in order to create a more statistically s ound research project.

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61 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION In America and around the world, the specialty apparel industry is e xpanding at a rapidly growing rate (Moore & Fairchil d, 2003). Each month, dozens of high-fashion boutiques are popping-up making it increasingly important for shop owners to uniquely differentiate themselves (Moore & Fairchild, 2003). Accordin g to several retail anal ysts and researchers (Moore & Fairchild, 2003; Paulins & Geistfie ld, 2003), store image and other marketing competencies of a small business are integral to achieving customer loyalty and profitability. In the fashion marketplace where product life cycles are short and aesthetics are celebrated, it is often store image that helps frame shoppers opin ions of the overall shop characterization (i.e., the quality of merchandise, the t ype of people that shop there, etc.). In fact, some argue (Martineau, 1958; Arons, 1961; Kunkel & Berry, 1968) that store image may be the single most important way for retailers to distinguish themselv es from others. It involves several complex layers with the physical aspect consisting of branding, packaging, and store design. Most retail environment studies have focused on the physical components of large department stores or national specialty stores with little focus on i ndependently owned boutiques. This study is an example of consumers evaluations of specific de sign elements and various marketing techniques within an independently ow ned womens apparel boutique. Findings The study found adequate indication that customer s regarded the identified store features as pleasurable and business appropriate; however it did not produce definitive results about the relationship between specific elements and their effect on customer satisfaction of total store environment. All of the physical design elements 1) lighting, 2) color scheme, 3) atmospheric conditions, and 4) overall style/de sign, and all of the non-design elements 1) mood of shopper, 2)

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62 location of store, 3) merchandise variety, and 4) service quality were shown to have highly favorable ratings amongst the pooled clientele. All of the respondents were female with the majority falling between the ages of 18. The highest number of participants preferred to shop between 2pm and were made aware of the s hop predominantly through word-of-mouth. These women reported shopping mostly for leisurely pu rposes and were not strongly influenced by sales and markdowns. Results of the study show th at an eclectically stylized fashion boutique, which encompassed both urban and feminine feat ures was appropriate for an apparel boutique targeting trendy, college-a ged/young professional women. An ope n layout that promoted social interaction by incorporating home-like furniture arrangements was also well received. The use of a mostly neutral color scheme with soft green and gold accents was positively evaluated, as was the utilization of the perimeter wall space for a majority of the merchandise display techniques. The ANOVA analysis found that the most l oyal of customers reported shopping between 2pm and fell between the ages of 31 years. It was also suggested that among the most loyal were those who shop predominantly for sp ecial occasions, meaning they select this boutique first when they are looking to buy some thing for an important occasion. Despite these findings, customer demographics of shopping inten tions, preferred time of day to shop, social influences, and age were not shown to share a st atistically significant relationship with overall customer loyalty, due to the limited sample size. Limitations of the Research When understanding the results of the study, it is important to consider the limitations. First, the sample population was gathered in a non-random fashion from the boutiques existing customer base resulting in a positive response bi as. These customers had previously patronized the store and by revisiting the shop, it is postulate d that these individuals already hold favorable

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63 tendencies towards the store environment. The purposive sampling technique generated a repository of unique perspectives from actual users of the space; however, the use of this type of sampling method greatly reduces generalizati on beyond that of the examined population. A second limitation is the actual number of re spondents that participated in the study. Typically a sample size of forty participants would be sufficient for examining a specialized niche market, but, because several analyses acro ss groups were performe d, a larger diversity among the various classifications was needed. A third limitation was the use of an afteronly study design. The observational procedure took place prior to the shops D ecember redesign and involved shoppers who were unaware they were being studied. This segment of the study th en informed the experimental portion of the study, where respondents completed store evaluati on surveys two months after the redesign. While the design features of the newly designed store were positively evaluated, it is difficult to measure the redesign success, due to the lack of documented assessm ents of the original space. Although the goal of this study was to determine if shop customers positively received the new design, another study of interest may be to test customer percep tion of improvement by performing a before-and-after study. In this case, it may be helpful to use the same sample group for both experimental studies. Lastly, had a pre-test of the questionnaire b een conducted prior to executing the study, it is possible that additional questions may have been incorporated, while others may have been removed. For example, mood had no strong relevanc y to other aspects of the questionnaire; thus, it could have been eliminated. On the other ha nd, an open-ended questio n that asked customers what they like or dislike about the store may ha ve resulted in a stronge r statistical analysis.

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64 Implications for Research Findings Interior designers are consisten tly charged with creating spaces that are both aesthetically appealing, yet intuitively functional. In fashi on retail spaces, other than merchandise, the physical design elements ultimately dictate a ce rtain style making it important to understand the feelings customers have towards specific design features. It may also be of significance for designers to be aware of how customer charact eristics, such as age and reasons for shopping, influence attitudes towards design features. This is especially beneficial when retailers are targeting a specific market because designers can then tailor the store design to reflect those preferences of the intended customer base. Although specific to one particul ar apparel boutique, these findi ngs may be useful to other designers and retailers when determining what attributes effect consumers overall store evaluations. Due to the nature of the experi mental method, particular design features were selected and then actually implemented in a real environment, lending credibility to the accuracy of the evaluations. In essence, participants were truly experi encing an interaction with the environment, rather than just presuming what their reactions might be through photos or mockups. Additionally, the results may offer potentia l solutions for designers to consider when designing high-fashion retail environments. Comfort level with the store environment play s an influential role on shoppers length of stay, as well as their likelihood to return. As previous research has shown (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982), the more time shoppers spend in a gi ven store, the more likely they are to make a purchase. As a result, designers have the potential of significantly increasing a businesss bottom line if they incorporate design techniques that hold patr ons in a shop for an extended period of time. The design knowledge and busin ess information presented here offers both retailers and designers a mixed use of solutions to consider when developing womens apparel

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65 boutiques. Understanding how these solutions e voke positive feelings wi thin this specific domain could help to cultivate similar responses if repeated in other related environments. Directions for Further Research The phenomenological concept of store image is continuously researched along with the effects of store environment on customer satisf action and buying intentions. Much of this research has focused on large department stores and nationwide clothing ch ains with few of the studies involving specialty shops. This study is an example of one particular clothing boutiques store environment, suggesting a foundation in whic h to further supplement with other specialty shop research. It is recommended that comparable studies examine what store features and/or design elements have the most impact on customer satisfaction. In turn, this information could help guide conservative business owners as to which improvements are financially worthwhile to undertake, while also proposing alternative solu tions to the retail and design communities. Researchers might also consider performing a similar case study to this one, but instead, structure it as a before-and-after study design. Importance of Design Elements It would be instrumental to the retail industry and design prof essionals to further research the level of importance boutique customers place on particular store design elements. In this study, it was revealed how customers reacted to each identified feat ure as it had been implemented in the boutique, while previous stud ies mainly involved large department stores whose shoppers typically hold different store exp ectations than boutique shoppers. It may be useful to understand how shoppers rank these va rious features and why. For example, color scheme may play a large importance for one pa rticular group; thus, it may make sense to investigate what color properties are most appealing to that audi ence and of those colors, which generate(s) a style that suppor ts the desired store image.

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66 Another study may find that customers at a sp ecific store classify style as the most important design feature. This might be approach ed in different ways, two of which are 1) to develop a new measure for testing this type of pr ocedure; or 2) to leverage existing preference rating methods to use in conjunction with simula tion or mock-up visuals for determining which style is most preferred by the intended audience. Use of these visualization techniques will allow the researcher to provide the sample with more illustrative options without having to physically construct anything. By testing a specific features various altern atives, it is possible that a broader range of variat ion may occur and, as a result, produ ce more statistically significant results. Likewise, it may be interesting to investigate the ways in which small stores space plan or demarcate their space. Perfumer ies, apothecaries, social areas, and salons are all becoming desirable constituents located within independen tly owned boutiques. In essence, they are boutiques within boutiques. However, with mo st of these shops being relatively small (most under 1200sq/ft), it would be interesting to ex amine if boutiques are actually embracing this departmentalized concept, and if so, what techniques are they u tilizing for layouts and general spatial considerations. What ot her solutions can interior designe rs propose to retailers? Can designers discover new solutions using other resear ch practices? If so, wh at are these forms of research and how can they contribute to the greater body of design knowledge. Customer Preference of Boutique Design Due to the ever-changing industry that fashion intuitively represents, apparel retailers must often consider updating their store s physical environment in order to portray a current image of status and style. By testing customer percep tion of space improvement va riations, designers and researchers will be able to build a repository of cases that can be referenced if boutique retailers desire multiple store environment examples. Pursuing this study type will also generate multiple

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67 prototype examples, enabling designers to explore various scenarios in true environments. Are physical environment improvements encouraging for existing shoppers? How willingly does this audience embrace change? Do they interpret the modifications as positive or negative? How frequently should a cutting-edge retailer alter interior environmen ts? Is it more frequent than classic stores, such as Ta lbots or Brooks Brothers? Further, it may be beneficial to investigate if boutique customers really prefer a store design that reflects the merchandise style. Does mirroring the two styles actually improve store profitability? Will potential custom ers then typecast the store and elect to shop elsewhere if an extreme style is dictated? Having answers to many of these questions could enhance designer credibility amongst the retail industry and, even possibly, expand the crea tive design possibilities for retail environments. Conclusions By definition, interior designers strive to enhance the human component of built environments. These professionals study how physical surroundings affect the human experience; therefore, presenting designers with supplementary solutions for retail environments would augment a sector of this body of knowledge. Shown here, are positive customer reactions to the identified retail design elements of atmo sphere, style, color, a nd lighting in an upscale womens apparel boutique. Additionally, it is re vealed how customers evaluated a boutiques business components of store loca tion, product variety, and services. These findings reveal that the implemented design selections were not on ly well received by existing shoppers, but also considered pleasurable and desirabl e. Shoppers moods were also test ed to see if it had an effect on their evaluations; however, in this case, mood was not seen to have a noteworthy impact. The results also uncovered the basic de mographics of the boutiques ex isting clientele, as well as what age group is the most loyal and when these cust omers prefer to shop. It is postulated that

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68 future boutique design research would considerab ly impact this growing market segment of independently owned apparel specialty shops.

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69 APPENDIX A FOOTPRINT OF ORIGINAL BOUTIQUE LAYOUT Below is the form used for the behavior mapping exercise. The footprint is of the boutiques existing floor plan. It is not to scal e, however it is proportiona tely representative of the spatial relations and pr oduct placement methodologies.

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70 APPENDIX B PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EXISTING BOUTIQUES INTERIOR ENVIRONMENT The following are photographs of the experiment al boutiques pre-exis ting style, layout, and other design features. Figure B-1. Existing Store Entry Right Side Figure B-2. Existing Store Entry Left Side

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71 Figure B-3. Existing Store Cash Wrap Figure B-4. Existing Store Line-of-Sight

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72 Figure B-5. Existing Store Denim Area Figure B-6. Existing Store Jewelry Display

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73 Figure B-7. Existing Store Displays Figure B-8. Existing Store-Displays

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74 APPENDIX C PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BOUTI QUES DESIGN MODIFICATIONS The following are photographs of the boutique after the design modifications had been implemented. Figure C-1. Modified St ore, Entry Right Side Figure C-2. Modified St ore, Entry Left Side

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75 Figure C-3. Modified Store, Cash Wrap Figure C-4. Modified St ore, Line-of-Sight

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76 Figure C-5. Modified Store, Denim Area Figure C-6. Modified St ore, Jewelry Display

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77 Figure C-7. Modified Store, Displays Figure C-8. Modified Store, Displays

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78 Figure C-9. Modified Store, Alternate View Figure C-10. Modified Store, Alternate View

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79 APPENDIX D DATA COLLECTION TOOL

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80 APPENDIX E INFORMED CONSENT DOCUMENT

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81

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82 APPENDIX F INTSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD

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88 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH In March of 1977, Lauren was born in Chicago, Illinois. As the second daughter of Gary and Susan Anderson, she was often known for ta lking excessively, taking risks, and being creative. Throughout her adoles cent years, Lauren frequen tly moved around, having taken up residencies in Georgia, Michiga n, and California, until she fina lly graduated from Lake Mary High School in Orlando, Florida. After receiving a fully paid sc holarship, Lauren attended the Un iversity of Florida, where she pursued a Bachelor of Science in busine ss administration. While attending undergraduate college and working part-time at a restaura nt, the marketing major became involved in community activities and held several sorority leadership positions. Following graduation in May of 1999, Lauren went to Boston to pursu e a Field Marketing position for a Software Development firm. After two years of extens ive travel and extended work hours, Laurens creative side reemerged and she began taking night classes at the New England School of Art and Design. Before returning to University of Florida to pursue a Master of Interior Design, Lauren took a quick hiatus to San Francisco, wher e she managed a friends contemporary womens boutique and explored the beautiful west coast. Having worked in retail since 16 years of age, Lauren had a strong interest in fashion and was beguiled by the phenomenological concept of store image. She was particularly interested in how store environment impacts the consumer. Throughout attending the Interior Design graduate program, Lauren worked at an upscale womens apparel boutique, which ultimately wa s the impetus for this topic of study. Today, Lauren owns and operates her own contemporary womens boutique in Tampa, Florida, where she has successfully implemented several of the marketing practices and design recommendations mentioned in this study.