The importance of atmospherics in the fashion industry

Morkel, Anel (2011-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.


Customers expect from a store that displays expensive products to make an effort to decorate the store with atmospheric elements to create a prestige atmosphere. The four stores that the participants visited target upper-class customers and display expensive products. One of the participants mentioned that the atmosphere in Hip Hop remind her of a take-away restaurant. Hip Hop was making no effort to decorate its stores to create a hedonic experience for its customers. They were relying on their well-known brand name to sell their products. In the long run, this strategy will not be effective as the competition gets tougher and more brands enter the market. High-class fashion stores focus more on hedonic customers. Customers do not need to buy expensive clothes as there are many discount stores that could fulfil their clothing needs. In order for high-class fashion stores to attract customers they need to create a hedonic experience for their customers in the store. The customers must want to enter the store and spend time in the store. Atmospheric elements can attract customers to the store and influence the time they spend in the store. It is important that new fashion stores have the right atmospheric design in their stores. New stores cannot rely on a name as this is not well known. The atmospheric design of a store tells customers what they can expect in the store. One of our main findings is that there is a difference between the atmospheric designs in shopping centres. The fashion stores in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town use atmospherics in their stores to create a prestige atmosphere for their upper-class customers. On the other hand, the atmospheric designs in the fashion stores in Canal Walk, which attracts middle-class customers, had a lower quality and were not regarded to be as prestige as those of the V&A Waterfront stores. The most expensive merchandise was also found in the fashion stores in the V&A Waterfront. Most of the stores in our sample use some atmospheric elements. However, the combination of the atmospheric elements in the stores did not always match. The participants viewed the atmospheric design as a whole and it was important to them that all the atmospheric elements fit together. The participants were noticeably disappointed with a store that did not make use of atmospherics to enhance its customers’ shopping experience. They found the store too plain as the storeowner did not make any effort to decorate the store. When they entered a store that did make use of atmospherics, the participants mentioned that they would like to spend more time in the store.

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