Which retail formats do consumers chose when they shop on-the-go?
Does it make a difference whether consumer by a coke versus a salad?
Summary of my research
Consumers patronize different store formats to purchase products. Prior literature describes store and format choices for big, multi-item shopping baskets, but limited insights determine consumers’ unique shopping routines when they seek to buy just one or a few items while on the go. Such shopping situations might affect consumers’ format selections for both search and experience goods. This study uses multi-attribute utility theory to develop a framework, tested with a scenario-based experiment. For search goods, a format’s economic utility (price level, speed) is more important; its functional utility (quality, variety) and psychological utility (atmosphere, service) become less important considerations. Furthermore, the tolerable range of formats is larger for search goods. The level of on-the-go purchase and consumption frequency moderates these effects. Therefore, this research helps to clarify what drives consumers’ format selections in on-the-go shopping situations, with useful managerial insights for how retailers can compete in the growing on-the-go market.