Springdale Shopping Survey: Shopper Insights to Improve Mall Performance


The U.S. retail and food services market was estimated to generate more than $4 trillion dollars in sales in calendar year 2009 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).  As retailers seek to find ways to gain share of the growing pie, knowledge of shopper perceptions and behaviors are used to build competitive advantage.  Increasingly, shopper insights “necessary to understand the shopping experience including shopper need states, shopping occasions, and shopper behavior in-store” (Weber, 2009, p. 1), play a larger role in business planning in the retail and consumer product goods markets.  Shopper surveys are an important tool to provide useful insights into the shopper experience that can drive retailer improvements, particularly when supported by statistical analysis.  The Springdale Shopping Survey, a telephone survey of 150 shoppers of three community malls, offers key insights into shopper perception that can inform mall marketing, design, and business improvement strategies.

Background

The Springdale community has three local shopping areas, “the Springdale Mall, the West Mall, and the downtown area on Main Street” (R. M. Weiers, J. B. Gray, & L. H. Peters, 2011b, p. 54).  The Springdale shopping survey was conducted to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each, and the shopping attitudes and perceptions of local resident (R. M. Weiers, B. J. Gray, & L. H. Peters, 2011a).   The survey data (Weiers, et al., 2011a) was analyzed using frequency distributions and cross-tabulation techniques to determine:

  1. How the three areas compare in terms of residents’ general attitudes towards each.
  2. Whether residents spend differently at the three areas.
  3. The strengths and weaknesses of each area.
  4. The demographic makeup of survey respondent’s based on gender, marital status, and average age. (Weiers, et al., 2011b, p. 56)

Results

1. How the three areas compare in terms of residents’ general attitudes towards each.

The survey used a five-point Likert (1932) scale to measure resident’s general attitudes towards each shopping area, asking residents whether they 1) dislike very much, 2) dislike, 3) neutral, 4) like, or 5) like very much.  Three separate frequency distributions were completed, one for each shopping area, represented in Table 1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1. Frequency distributions for variable 7, 8, and 9 of the Springdale Shopping Survey, measuring resident’s general attitudes towards each area.

To compare resident’s attitudes towards each shopping area, the cumulative percentage of the number of residents that either like or like very much, each shopping area, are placed in the bar chart in Figure 1:

 

 

 

 

Figure 1.  Percentage of Surveyed Shoppers that selected Like or Like Very Much by shopping area.

More than 81% of residents surveyed like Springdale Mall, while only 52% and 42% of residents like the Downtown area and West Mall, respectively.  Further analysis of the differences between the strengths and weaknesses of each shopping area may illuminate the factors that contribute to resident’s attitudes.

2. Whether residents spend differently at the three areas.

The survey asked residents to select their per shopping trip spend from an interval scale, selecting a range from less than $15 dollars to more than $200 dollars for each shopping area.  Three separate frequency distributions were completed, one for each shopping area, represented in Table 2:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2.  Frequency distributions for variables 4, 5, and 6 of the Springdale Shopping Survey, measuring resident’s spend per trip to each shopping area.

The frequency distributions in Table 2 highlight that Springdale shoppers spend the most per visit, with nearly 35% of Springdale shoppers spending more than $25 dollars per visit, compared with only 19% for West Mall and 18% for Downtown.  Further areas of analysis should seek to determine which variables, if any, show a strong relationship to shopper spend.

3.  The strengths and weaknesses of each area.

The survey asked residents to describe which shopping area best fit their description across eight different variables.  Frequency distributions were completed for each variable to determine the percentage of residents that perceived a shopping area best fit the description of the variable.  The frequency distributions are provided in Appendix 1.  For brevity’s sake the results are summarized in bar chart form in Figure 2:

Figure 2.  Bar chart summarizing frequency distribution data for variables 10 through 17 of the Springdale Shopping Survey, measuring resident perception of which shopping area best fit the description of each variable.

West Mall is likely perceived as the “bargain mall” based on the high percentage of residents that perceive West Mall has low prices and a lot of bargain sales.  Although, it is worthy to note that despite the fact that few residents perceive Springdale Mall to have low prices, many still perceived Springdale Mall to have a lot of bargain sales.  While not the subject of this analysis, this author’s hypothesis is that resident’s perception of bargains may have a relationship with both price and quality.

While Springdale Mall was not perceived to be a best fit for a “bargain mall”, the mall was perceived to be the best fit for many other variables, including clean stores and surrounding area, convenient shopping hours, friendliness and helpfulness of sales staff, good variety of sizes/styles, quality of goods, and ease of returns and exchanges, suggesting that both the Downtown area and West Mall could learn much from the Springdale Mall operation.  Further analysis should include the importance of each variable to residents to narrow to specific improvement opportunities.

4. The demographic makeup of survey respondent’s based on gender, marital status, and average age.

The Springdale Shopping Survey also gathered qualitative data about each respondent, including gender, number of years of school completed, marital status, number of people in the household, and age (Weiers, et al., 2011a).  The attributes of Springdale area shoppers may be important to their attitudes, perceptions, and spend.  While this initial analysis does not seek to draw correlations between shopper attributes and the survey data, it remains useful to understand the demographic makeup of survey respondents.  A cross-tabulation table was completed showing the average age of each respondent across gender and marital status categories.  The results are highlighted in Table 3:

Average Age of Respondent

Gender

Marital Status

Male

Female

Married

45

35

Single or other

28

26

Table 3.  Average age of respondents based on marital status and gender, based on variables 26, 28, and 30 of the Springdale Shopping Survey.

Table 3 shows that married respondents tend to be older than single respondents and male respondents tend to be older than female respondents.  Future analysis should seek to correlate resident attitudes, perceptions, and spend with resident demographic information to determine the extent to which demographic information is related.

Discussion

            Of the three shopping areas in the Springdale community, the Springdale Mall appears to have the mindshare and wallet share of area residents.  More area residents like the Springdale Mall over both the Downtown area and the West Mall.  Moreover, residents appear to spend more money at the Springdale Mall.  In addition, many area residents may consider West Mall a bargain mall, suggesting an opportunity for West Mall operators to target bargain conscious shoppers in future marketing efforts.  There are additional opportunities to conduct further analysis to understand which variables are positively and negatively correlated with resident spend, and to determine the degree to which respondent attributes impact attitudes, perceptions, and spend.

Conclusion

            As retailers devise strategies and business plans to gain a greater share of consumer’s wallets, surveys are increasingly used as a tool to create shopper insights that identify opportunities to improve retailer performance.  Analysis of the Springdale Shopping Survey highlights how statistical analysis of survey data can provide shopper insights to inform mall operators in the Springdale area of opportunities to improve mall revenue performance and gain competitive advantage.

References

Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. New York,.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Estimated Annual Sales of U.S. Retail and Food Services Forms by Kind of Business: 1998 Through 2009.  Washington DC: U.S. Census Bureau Retrieved from http://www2.census.gov/retail/releases/current/arts/sales.pdf.

Weber, W. (2009). Shopper insights and shopper marketing: “Getting it right” (pp. 1-4). Memphis, TN: Winston, Weber & Associates.

Weiers, R. M., Gray, B. J., & Peters, L. H. (2011a). Springdale Shopping Survey. Australia ; Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Weiers, R. M., Gray, J. B., & Peters, L. H. (2011b). Introduction to business statistics (7th ed.). Australia ; Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

 

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