Predicting Consumer Outshopping Activity: A Propensity to Outshop Scale

Article excerpt

Predicting Consumer Outshopping Activity: A Propensity to Outshop Scale

Retailers are daily immersed in an environment of intense competition. The more prevalent view of retail competition is to appraise the retailers located within the local trading area, but retailers are often in competition with retailers located outside of their primary trading area and city or town geographic limits. Many consumers prefer to leave their local trading area to visit nearby larger cities to shop; this retailing phenomenon is called outshopping. Outshopping occurs in all cities but primarily in smaller towns and cities. The median percentage of smaller town residents shopping outside of their local trading area is approximately 65%, while about 20% of the population of larger cities shop beyond the trading area of local merchants [8, 13].

Researchers have examined consumer outshopping over a period of more than twenty years. Studies have investigated products purchased by outshoppers [3,4, 5, 6, 13], motivations for outshopping behavior [4, 11, 12, 13], demographic profiles [3, 5, 8, 13], and outshopper orientations and typologies [4, 5, 7]. Consumer outshoppers shop for a wide range of products and services varying from appliances to restaurants [3, 5, 8]. In regard to motivations for outshopping behavior, previous research has indicated that selection, price, and quality are primary motivations for consumer outshopping [6]. Dissatisfaction with retail offerings in the local retail trading area has been cited as another motivation for consumer outshopping [8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. The outshoppers' attraction to out-of-town merchants' facilities appears to be influenced by the attractiveness of out-of-town facilities as well as the discontentment with local retail facilities and product offerings.

FOCUS OF THE STUDY

The focus of this study is to develop a method whereby outshoppers can be accurately predicted through the use of a propensity to outshop scale. Thus, the scale, when administered to a representative sample of the population of a city, could be used to accurately discriminate between inshoppers and outshoppers. The approach of this study is to focus on the macro measure of the number of shopping trips made by consumers, which is a generalized measure that should apply to the majority of outshopping environments and situations.

METHODOLOGY

Data Collection

The data for the study were collected in Hammond, Louisiana. Hammond has a population of approximately 25,000 residents. The town is situated between two major cities in Louisiana connected via two interstate highways. New Orleans,33 miles to the south, has approximately 1,000,000 residents and has many shopping centers, malls, and active CBD retailers. Baton Rouge, 45 miles to the west, has approximately 250,000 residents and has two regional malls as well as several community shopping centers and smaller malls. Hammond's merchants are located predominantly in the downtown area, within several community shopping centers, and in a multilevel mall that has approximately 80 stores with 3 major department stores.

A drop-off, self-report questionnaire was used to gather the information inthe study. In order to provide a comprehensive database for the study of outshopping, an effort was made to contact each household in Hammond. The city's official map was used to identify each street and road in Hammond. Thus, an effort was made to contact every household within the city limits. An attempt was made later to contact residents who were not at home during the initial data collection period. Slightly over 1,000 questionnaires were gathered from Hammond residents who agreed to participate in the survey. Approximately 95% of the residents contacted agreed to participate. Respondents were asked to complete the questionnaires at their leisure, and the instruments were collected during the day of original contact or on the following day. …