Conceptualising town centre image and the customer experience

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Abstract:

Compared with store image literature, the town centre is underexplored as a retail image context. This paper examines what is meant by town centre image by conducting an empirical study of 536 consumers to elicit top-of-mind images of five town centres. Following extensive content analysis and rigorous replication, the findings reveal a broader, holistic image construct than previously assumed in the literature. New psychological, intangible elements of town centre image are identified, confirming the need to measure image specific to the retail context. Further, drawing on the customer experience framework, a conceptual model of town centre image is developed. The model provides the basis for future conceptualisation and operationalisation of town centre image, combined with an approach for managing the customer experience in town centres.

Keywords: customer experience; place marketing; retail image; town centre

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2013.800900

Affiliations: Loughborough University, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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