Title

Comfort in Brick and Mortar Shopping Experiences: Examining Antecedents and Consequences of Comfortable Retail Experiences

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2017

Department

Marketing and Fashion Merchandising

Abstract

This paper explores the comfort construct in brick and mortar retail settings. As a psychological construct, consumer comfort reflects a sense of ease and peace of mind during a shopping experience. Previous research suggests comfort carries a number of positive consequences for managers, such as strengthening customer relationships and increasing customer satisfaction (Gaur and Xu, 2009). However, these studies take a more interpersonal relationship theory approach and have not considered the impact of non-social aspects of retail environments on consumers' comfort. Moreover, these extant studies have not considered how comfortable environments create value for consumers. Consequently, this study examines how atmospheric elements contribute to creating consumer comfort, and how comfort impacts consumers' perceptions of shopping value. Findings from survey data demonstrate that not all atmospheric elements influence consumers' comfort levels. Moreover, comfortable environments were found to increase both utilitarian value and hedonic value. The implications of the findings for academics and managers are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services

Volume

35

First Page

27

Last Page

35

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