The purpose of this study is to understand how narratives are generated in stores.
The study design is based on ethnographies documented in 10 sports stores in the Paris region. The ethnographic method enables a precise and in situ observation of how narratives are structured. Narrative structures develop from the accommodation of the narratives specific to retailers and narratives specific to the customer.
The findings of this study identified four main narratives in retail spaces (the serial, the tale, the epic, the legend), each of which is distinguished by the commercial/non-commercial orientation of the narratives and by a superficial/in-depth modification of the narratives produced outside the store. These four narratives are characterized by the vendors’ roles and by the distinct interactions between customers and retail stores.
The originality of this study is to propose a narrative framework for retail structures. It illustrates the fact that the narrative is not solely a product of experiential marketing, but that it may be found in any retail store. From a practical point of view, it highlights other less costly experiential narrative strategies.
From a practical point of view, it highlights other less costly experiential narrative strategies.
The original value of this study is to apply structural semiotics to analyse narratives in the store.
Welte, J.-B., Badot, O. and Hetzel, P. (2021), "The narrative strategies of retail spaces: a semio-ethnographic approach", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 7, pp. 2012-2036. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2019-0250
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