The ultimate goal of retailing is to bring together supply and demand; to connect the needs and desires of shoppers with available products and services. While progress has been made managing the supply side, the news is not as good on the demand side. Merchants continue to have difficulty creating retail environments that engage shoppers and convert their desires to sales. To help address this issue, we introduce a model of “retail shoppability,” which relates the physical characteristics of retail stores, departments and product categories to shopper engagement and purchase likelihood. The model is based on an analysis of almost 5,000 shoppers taking over 16,000 shopping trips to a variety of retail formats and banners selling groceries in the U.S. It reveals five general shoppability dimensions and nine specific factors that capture the quality of the customer experience, and can be used to benchmark the performance of retail chains and identify opportunities to improve shopper satisfaction, store loyalty, and chain performance.
Raymond R. Burke is the E.W. Kelley Professor of Business Administration at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and founding director of the School’s Customer Interface Laboratory. Prior to this, Dr. Burke served on the faculties of the Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. His research focuses on understanding the influence of the retail environment on shopper behavior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-812-855-1066.
Neil A. Morgan is the PETsMART Chaired Professor of Marketing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Prior to this, Dr. Morgan served on the faculties of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on metrics for measuring company performance, retail category management, and marketing strategy. He can be reached at email@example.com or +1-812-855-1114.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of TracyLocke, and the assistance of Mr. Al Wittemen, who served as the agency’s managing director of retail strategy at the time of the study.