Guest editorial

Brigitte de Faultrier (ESSCA School of Management, LUNAM University, Angers, France)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 December 2014

Citation

de Faultrier , B. (2014), "Guest editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42 No. 11/12. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-07-2014-0105

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Guest editorial

Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 42, Issue 11/12.

Part 1 – channel strategy and children in the store

The contributions to this double issue are the best papers presented at the first international colloquium on Kids and Retailing held in June 2013 at the initiative of the Centre of Expertise and Research on Retail, based at ESSCA School of Management and the cluster Nova CHILD, which aims at developing knowledge and innovation for the welfare of the child (under 12 years old) and their family. The context of the international colloquium was to present current thinking of retailing for children as consumers and as tomorrow’s adults. The double issue is presented as two themes. The first theme focuses on channel strategy and children in the store and the second theme on children channel preferences and the influence of product characteristics.

This issue has a child focus within retail from four distinctly different perspectives. The submissions include the design of a retail channel strategy applied to young children, a methodology to reveal the children’s shopscapes for providing information about how children perceive their retailing experience, a report on children in store experiences as participants in the family food shopping and an exploration of the involvement and the entertainment of children from four to seven years of age in the purchase process at Hungarian retail stores.

The first paper by Faultrier (de), Boulay, Feenstra and Muzellec presents the results of a study of how to design a retail channel strategy applied to young children. The purpose is to explore the combined perspective of configuration and integration of the channel-to-market as part of the retail channel strategy and the contribution from young children to the retail strategy. The consumer perspective was used to develop a qualitative study employing an investigative channel-scan approach applied to twelve retailers selling childrenswear. The research shows that the combination of channel configuration and integration contributes to reveal a diversity of approaches among the retailers leading to distinguish eight different retail strategies. It also provides evidence of child orientation in retail channel strategy but the evidence of specific selling channels designed for children is limited to the store.

The second contribution by Nicol develops the concept of shopscapes defined as the imaginary geography each person or group of people builds based on his daily experiences and practices in reference to retail environment and activities. To reveal the children’s shopscapes, a child-centred methodology is proposed, combining drawings and interviews. The approach focuses on the drawing activity per se where children work in pairs and collaborate supporting that a drawing can only be interpreted through the content of an open verbal exchange with its authors. The nature and range of children’s shopscapes appears to potentially provide reliable information about on how children perceive retailing experience.

The third paper by Marshall contributes to the discussion around children’s consumption and their role as an active consumer. It looks at children’s first-hand accounts of their visits to the supermarket and reports on their in store experiences as participants in the family food shopping. To capture the children’s perspective on this everyday consumption activity, qualitative discussion groups with children aged 8-11 years were used. Young children claim to actively participate in family food shopping in store contributing in a variety of ways to family food purchases that includes making request in store, negotiating over product choices and assisting with the food shopping. The research finds relatively little conflict and more cooperation between children and their parents in an attempt to influence what goes into the shopping trolley.

The final contribution by Deli-Gray, Matura and Arva aims to explore the involvement and the entertainment of children aged four to seven years in the purchase process at Hungarian retail stores. A two-phase exploratory study was conducted. First 160 retail stores selling goods to children were observed and then 120 face-to-face or mini groups interviews were made with children. The study reveals that retail store manager rarely provide any entertainment for children, do not involve them in the shopping experience and fail to do it in the right way. It also appears that store personnel do not have the right mentality towards children. At the same time, the children would like to be actively involved in the shopping experience by completing little missions or challenges which sheds light on the big gap between what is offered by the retail management and what is expected by the young children during their shopping.

Part 2 – children channel preferences and influence of product characteristics

This second issue includes contributions that focus on the child within retail in two perspectives, channel preferences then the influence of product characteristics. After the investigation of the preferences of children under the age of 12 regarding sales channels, specifically perception of online vs offline shopping and the potential connections between brick-and-mortar and online stores, the submissions includes the identification of the original process through which preadolescents appraise two brands that endorse one product, the study of the effect of packaging chromatic vs achromatic colour on children’s brand recall and recognition, the examination of the impact of recalling visual and child oriented product packaging elements vs informational content on children’s influence on household purchase.

The first contribution by Boulay, Faultrier (de), Feenstra and Muzellec investigates the preferences of children under the age of 12 regarding sales channels with a specific focus of how young consumers perceive online vs offline shopping and if they make connections between brick-and-mortar and online stores. Results are drawn from a qualitative exploratory study on a multi-category approach involving 64 children aged 6-12 years who were interviewed. The findings suggest that traditional sales outlets are more popular than online shopping. Physical stores offers variety and instant gratification. Product can be tried out and tested on-site, making the offline retail experience a fun activity. Conversely, children express a very negative perception of e-retailing, which they often consider to be dishonest, offering limited choice at higher prices. No cross channel shopping perceptions were found suggesting that the cross-channel perspective may not apply to very young consumers.

The second contribution by Charry and Demoulin represents an empirical investigation of co-branding strategies whose target is children. It aims at identifying the original process through which preadolescents appraise two brands that endorse one product. A leisure centre-based survey was undertaken involving 128 children between 8 to 12 years old. The findings confirm that co-branding strategies may have a very positive impact on attitudes towards partner brands, intentions to consume co-branded products and the host brand. They also indicate that consumption intentions for other products from host product category are enhanced. The mediating role of brand fit enables preadolescents to integrate simultaneous evaluations of two brands while constructing their attitudes towards one product. The asymmetric spill-over effect is also confirmed benefiting to the non-familiar brand.

The third study by Zeghache aims at studying the effect of packaging colour (chromatic vs achromatic) on children’s brand memorization (recall and recognition). The research examines the impact of age and school grade on brand memorization and the relationship between packaging colour and memorization. The experimentation concerned 160 French children from 7 to 12 years old. The findings show that chromatic colour of packaging has a positive impact on brand name recognition but not on recall. Furthermore the age variable has a significant positive effect on recall capacity but not on brand name recognition.

The last paper by Hota and Charry examines the impact of recalling visual and child oriented product packaging elements vs informational content on children’s influence on household purchase. The study was conducted through a quantitative survey among 100 French consumers of breakfast cereals aged six to 11. The paper identifies that the recall of the various types of packaging elements is equivalent across age groups. The findings show that the impact of visual and child-oriented element recall on purchase influences is high, especially for younger children but not superior to the impact of recalling informational packaging elements. Adding information and other elements to visuals reduced young children’s intentions to influence purchases, suggesting that the overload and not the nature of elements has a negative impact. Finally, packaging recall seemed weakly related to purchase influence, at least for well-known brands.

Professor Brigitte de Faultrier

ESSCA School of Management, LUNAM University, Angers, France