Retailer self-perceived store image and competitive position

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Store image has traditionally been studied from the perspective of the consumer. However, it is the way in which retailers perceive the image of their own store that determines how they will act to improve their store for the customer. This study is aimed at exploring the nature of retailers' perception of their own store image and, given some methodological problems related to previous research, developing a task to measure self-perceived store image in terms of competitive advantage. A task is developed in which retailers rank 17 store attribute positions to indicate what they think are their major competitive advantages. The paper reports results from an application involving 183 retailers in a European town. The research findings indicate that on average retailers consider service as the dimension on which they most positively distinguish themselves from competitors; price and promotion are considered least distinguishing. Empirical evidence further suggests six dimensions (price, location, store interior, selection, service and product quality) to underlie retailer self-perceived store image and three self-perceived image types: one based on product quality advantages, one on price and one on accessibility. No relation is found between these types and selected retailer background variables. Finally, the data suggest only few systematic image changes over time.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1997

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