Multi‐channel shopping: channel use among rural consumers

Kim K.P. Johnson (University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Jeong‐Ju Yoo (West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Jongeun Rhee (University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Sharron Lennon (The Ohio State University, Dublin, Ohio, USA)
Cynthia Jasper (University of Wisconsin‐Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
Mary Lynn Damhorst (Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 1 June 2006



The research purpose was to identify whether changes occurred between 2000 and 2003 in the retail channel use of rural consumers for searching product information and for purchasing food and fiber products and to investigate whether differences existed between channel use groups (i.e. store only shoppers, store and catalog shoppers, and multi‐channel shoppers) concerning perceived time property, satisfaction with local offerings, community attachment, shopping criteria, and financial security.


Survey methodology was used. Questionnaires were mailed to participants living in non‐metropolitan statistical areas of the USA with populations less than 12,500. In 2000, 2,198 participants returned the questionnaire. Follow‐up questionnaires were mailed to the same participants during 2003 and returned by 847 participants. The analysis is based on the responses of the 847 participants.


To search for information on apparel, food, or home furnishing products, internet use increased slightly as did use of the internet to purchase apparel and home furnishings. Multi‐channel shoppers rated themselves as time‐pressed, dissatisfied with local offerings, unattached to their community, and unconcerned with financial security while shopping.

Practical implications

Rural consumers are slowly increasing their use of internet even as they report their satisfaction with shopping with local brick and mortar stores increased during the time period studied. The time is right for rural retailers to enhance both personal and professional relationships with their customers. Rural retailers can capitalize on consumer satisfaction and provide outstanding value and service to keep local customers in local markets.


The paper provides information on new and different retailing practices that satisfy rural consumers in the USA.



Johnson, K., Yoo, J., Rhee, J., Lennon, S., Jasper, C. and Lynn Damhorst, M. (2006), "Multi‐channel shopping: channel use among rural consumers", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 453-466.

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