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Store environment, emotions and approach behaviour: applying environmental aesthetics to retailing

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This exploratory study examines the influence of store environment on emotions and behaviour tendencies. The study brings insights from research on external environments to the study of store environment. We combined the idea of three distinct dimensions of emotions (pleasantness, arousal and dominance) and the role of mediating approach-avoidance behaviours with two variables taken from the field of environmental aesthetics - complexity and order. Twenty-four colour photographs of four sections of two grocery stores were rated by a sample of 43 subjects on their degree of complexity and order. A second sample of 87 subjects rated the same photographs on emotions and approach-avoidance tendencies. The relationship between complexity and order and reported pleasantness and arousal was consistent with findings regarding external environments. The three emotional dimensions mediated an inverted 'U' relationship between complexity and approach behaviour tendencies, as expected. Order had a positive correlation with approach behaviour tendencies. The study suggests the importance of examining general variables (such as complexity and order) in the context of retail environments and provides ideas for extensive research.

Keywords: Store complexity; consumer behaviour tendencies; consumer emotions; store order

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Tel-Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel., Tel: + 972 4 8122935, Email: 2: Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology., Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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