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The effects of store environment elements on customer-to-customer interactions involving older shoppers

Joana Tomazelli (Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Algre, Brazil)
Patricia Liebesny Broilo (Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Algre, Brazil)
Lélis Balestrin Espartel (Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Algre, Brazil)
Kenny Basso (IMED Business School, Faculdade Meridional, Passo Fundo, Brazil)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate older shopper behavior in a retail environment. The study focused on how the environment elements of supermarket stores influence older customers to interact with other customers when they shop for groceries.

Design/methodology/approach

Various qualitative research techniques were undertaken, including interviews with retail architecture experts, store employees, a psychologist and a gerontologist; in addition, five interviews followed by three focus groups were conducted with older shoppers in Brazil.

Findings

Customer-to-customer interactions that are related to the environment elements of supermarkets tend to influence the shopping experience of the older shoppers, which has an impact on satisfaction. Although some customers may value social contact, some interactions can involve discomfort and embarrassment.

Research limitations/implications

The study sheds light on the understanding of the influence of the environment elements of supermarket stores on customer-to-customer interactions, and it proposes such interactions to be a relevant strategy that is used by older customers to maximize their satisfaction, although such strategies can also lead to dissatisfaction.

Practical implications

The findings provide insights regarding the specific needs of older customers in a supermarket context, associated with the design and ambient elements of the store environment, which can be valuable for retailers and policy-makers.

Originality/value

Considering the limited understanding of older shoppers and their experiences, this study provides a thorough understanding of how the retail environment can influence customer-to-customer interactions that involve older shoppers. Moreover, the study captures how interactions, which are influenced by the retail environment, can result in dissatisfaction; however, such interactions can also be used by older customers to modify their satisfaction with the shopping experience.

Keywords

Citation

Tomazelli, J., Broilo, P.L., Espartel, L.B. and Basso, K. (2017), "The effects of store environment elements on customer-to-customer interactions involving older shoppers", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 4/5, pp. 339-350. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-05-2016-0200

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited