Standing out on the high street: how fashion retailers are embracing experiential marketing

Venter, Marike
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With an increase in competition, the retail industry is experiencing a paradigm shift as marketers revert to innovative retail experiences to influence consumer buying behaviour. Therefore, it is of interest to examine how consumers experience store environments in order for retailers to design atmospherics that are conducive to influencing purchase decision-making. Although several studies have explored store environment and consumer buying behaviour, few studies have explored atmospheric cues as a holistic construct to investigate the effect of these on brand loyalty and purchase intention. More specifically, few studies have explored this topic in a fashion retail context among the black middle class woman in South Africa. This paper aims to determine whether store environment influences consumers’ purchase intention and brand loyalty of fashion products. By means of a proposed conceptual model, store environment is the predictor variable, with brand experience, brand trust, brand satisfaction and brand attitude as the mediating variables, and purchase intention and brand loyalty as the outcome variables. The present study undertakes a quantitative approach in which 501 online surveys are distributed among black middle class woman to explore the influence of store environment on purchase intention of fashion brands. The findings support all nine proposed hypotheses. Therefore indicating that store environment influences consumers’ brand experience, brand trust, brand satisfaction and brand attitude. Likewise, the latter branding variables have a significant influence on brand loyalty, and ultimately purchase intention. The contribution of this paper is threefold. Firstly, by exploring the importance of store environment on consumer behaviour, this study adds to contextual knowledge on experiential retailing, fashion consumption and the buying behaviour of the emerging black middle class. Secondly, it adds to existing literature in retail management and fashion marketing. Theoretically, it is positioned in experiential marketing and contributes to empirical literature that focuses on consumer behaviour, branding, and retail. Lastly, by investigating store environment and it’s influence on consumers’ purchase intentions, the findings provide marketing practitioners with a better understanding of strategies that can be employed to influence consumers buying behaviour through the design of a conducive store environment.
A thesis Submitted in full fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Marketing) at the University of the Witwatersrand, 2016
Venter, Marike (2016) Standing out on the high street: how fashion retailers are embracing experiential marketing, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>