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I am, ergo I shop: does store image congruity explain shopping behaviour of Chinese consumers?

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Abstract:

Extant research on the relationship between consumer image congruence and retail store choice suggests that there exist four types of self congruity (actual self-congruity, social self-congruity, ideal self-congruity, and ideal social self-congruity) based on the identification of four types of selfconcept (actual self-image, social self-image, ideal self-image, and ideal social self-image). Mixed results have been produced by research undertaken in the western context particularly in terms of which type(s) of self-congruity is(are) significantly related to consumer attitudes and behaviour. To assess further the predictive power of different types of image-congruity, we conducted an empirical study among Chinese consumers on the relationship between self-congruity, satisfaction, perceived value and store loyalty. China was chosen for this study because recent entry of European and American retailers in China exerts strong need for better understanding of retail consumer behaviour. Moreover both anecdotal and literature evidences suggest that Chinese consumers could differ significantly from the western counterparts in terms of how their self-congruity influences their shopping behaviour. The results of structural equation modelling on our sample (n=320) indicate that consumer attitude and store loyalty are mainly driven by self consistence and social confirmation (i. e., actual self-congruity and social self-congruity) rather than by self-enhancement or esteem (i. e., ideal selfcongruity and ideal social self-congruity). Our finding offers strong managerial implications for western retailers' marketing strategies in the Chinese market.

Keywords: CUSTOMER; CUSTOMER SATISFACTION; LOYALTY; PERCEIVED VALUE; SELF-CONGRUITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725707X212766

Affiliations: 1: Norwich Business School, UK 2: Montclair State University, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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