To date few research studies exist on consumers' responses to the adoption of Wal‐Mart into towns and cities. This paper seeks to examine the expected impact of a Wal‐Mart store in a community before its arrival.
Media reviews, participant observations and in‐depth interviews were applied. Positive and negative articles relating to Wal‐Mart as exhibited in the newspapers – the Guelph Tribune and the Guelph Mercury – were reviewed. Participant observations were conducted in three different shopping areas of Guelph: the Downtown area, the Stone Road mall area and the Willow West mall area. A total of 13 participants from these shopping areas were interviewed.
Overall, this study found that the participants were receptive to the notion of Wal‐Mart coming to Guelph despite the negative publicity and strong opposition Wal‐Mart had faced in the media. Additionally, this study offered insights for this marketplace based on the consumption context of hedonic and utilitarian shoppers. The intensity of these shoppers' perceptions and beliefs were found to be different for different contexts such as retail shopping, businesses and social.
This study demonstrates the importance of wider contextual comprehension when trying to understand what values consumers hold for retailers in the marketplace. However, these findings are restricted by the limited range of opinions captured. A fully holistic view is only possible when taking into account the perspectives of local business owners, future Wal‐Mart employees and managers, activists, or politicians – all of whom have an impact on the situation of Wal‐Mart in Guelph.
Insights from this study can assist management personnel for their future expansion plans.
This study extends the application of consumers' value dimensions by focusing not only on consumers' hedonic and utilitarian values but also by incorporating the community context. Furthermore, it offers a multi‐method qualitative market research approach for discovering insights that would not have emerged from utilizing just one method of data collection. This is also the first study to assess consumer responses before a store's construction.
Teed, M., Norman, C., Aung, M., Adlam, D., Goswami, S., Surgeoner, B. and Zhu, B. (2010), "Wal‐Mart is coming to Guelph: hedonic to utilitarian shoppers' perceptions", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 130-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/13522751011032584Download as .RIS
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