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Grocery shopping and the Internet: exploring French consumers' perceptions of the 'hypermarket' and 'cybermarket' formats

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The growth of e-commerce calls into question the viability of traditional retail formats. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), especially the Internet, now play a major role in retailing. With the stagnation of the hypermarket format in France, developing ICT could be a way for grocery retail companies to reinitiate growth. Some questions arise concerning the consumers' acceptance of these new technologies for food retailing. How does the consumer perceive the opportunities for the Internet and what associations do they hold for their favourite store? To what extent could consumers integrate ICT, especially the Internet, in their current or in future grocery shopping behaviours? Within this context, this paper focuses on the 'consumer-store' relationships. The research aims to explore consumers' perceptions of hypermarket and cybermarket formats for grocery shopping. The methodology is qualitative and based on 18 semi-structured interviews and on three focus groups of French consumers. Results show that the hypermarket format continues to appeal to French consumers while the cybermarket format remains unclear. The two targets - 'the organised' and 'the grumblers' - are an exception to this trend.

Keywords: French retailers; cybermarket; drive-in delivery system; e-grocery retailing; hypermarket

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: CREM UMR CNRS 6211, IGR-IAE, Universite de Rennes 1, Rennes, France 2: CERMAT, IAE de Tours, Universite Francois Rabelais, Tours, France

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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