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    retailers should respond to specic consumer predisposi-tions.

    is generally difcult for practitioners to operationalize.

    now follow are a compilation of studies that range from thesociology of consumption to the psychology of specic

    shopping behaviour in the United Kingdom (UK).

    ARTICLE IN PRESSPractitioners tend to engage with the customer on a morepractical level, which equates to much of the academicresearch is too theoretical. The goal for educators in this

    Potentially, for those scholars and practitioners who wishto theorize the extent of change indicative of othergeographic regions, this paper takes a 20-year perspective

    0969-6989/$ - see front matter r 2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

    doi:10.1016/j.jretconser.2006.02.008Consumer behaviour is necessarily complex; it may bestudied from a wide number of theoretical approaches, and

    shopping behaviours. These are placed in context by therst manuscript, which historically considers the changingJournal of Retailing and Con

    Guest Editorial

    1. Introduction

    Retailing worldwide is passing through a dramaticperiod of transformation in a climate where businessesare obliged to generate ever-increasing levels of differentia-tion just to maintain market share. New technologies andpractices combined with the globalization of products andservices have driven retailers to leverage every part of thebusiness in strategic response. Consumers have become, toa large extent, more sophisticated and demanding withtheir expectations of products, services and businesses.Crossing geographical and cultural boundaries generatesparticular sets of conditions, internally and externally, thatstretch the resources of retail institutions that are oftendesperately short of knowledge capital. To succeed in mostmarkets requires retailers to place great (some would sayoverriding) emphasis on the consumer, with the formula-tion of contemporary retail strategy necessitating adeveloped knowledge of consumer behaviours, intentions,expectations and proles. This Special Issue sought there-fore to provide a collection of articles on contemporaryresearch in consumer behaviour and related elds, drawingtogether the current and potential strands of academicresearch to elucidate future directions for JRCS readers.An editor is faced with many complications when

    confronting the task of attracting and assembling scholarlyresearch in the eld of consumer behaviour. The rst ofthese is to gather a suitably varied number of articles thatappeal to the widest possible audience. This importantgoal, and the diverse nature of human behaviour, creates asecond level of difculty that of integrating the verydifferent perspectives and stances held. Psychologists andsociologists may well argue ercely for their favouredtheoretical stances. Some scholars may assert that theeclectic and rich blend of perspectives inspires and deliversnew advances and directions, for academics and practi-tioners alike. The variety of perspectives and orientations,however, make it inherently difcult to suggest hower Services 13 (2006) 377380

    d Commentary

    eld is therefore to integrate and, where possible, todisentangle the commercial relevance from the theoretical.Above all, we should attempt whenever possible to offernew insight into the development of successful retailstrategy.Popular consumer behaviour texts (e.g. Schiffman and

    Kanuk, 2004; Solomon, 2003; Blackwell et al., 2001)mostly stem from the US and contain material of acontextual nature to international or European specica-tions. These works have substantially supported theresearcher and reader with numerous propositions, con-cepts and theories. Texts written in the European market-place (e.g. Hogg, 2005; Foxall, 1990; Foxall et al., 1998)tend to offer a more theoretically developed approach fromwhich to frame studies and management programmes, orare case driven and culturally specic (Gerrit and VanRaaij, 1999). As with other domains, the practitioner rarelycontributes to this knowledge pool. The majority ofmanagement insight (for academics, students and practi-tioners alike) emerges via the journal route and empiricallybased research applied in retail contexts. It is thesescholarly works that guide our management students andpractitioners of the future.

    2. The manuscripts

    Research into consumer behaviour has enthusiasticallyupheld the importance of recognizing cultural diversity andits impact on consumer choice. However, in terms ofresearch output the story is very different with a paucity ofempirically developed theory that successfully crossescultural divides. I therefore took the decision to offer inthis Special Issue a series of papers that delivered as muchinsight as possible over a range of contexts. The ensuingarticles deal with the detail of an individual consumersbehaviour and the macro environmental inuences onbehaviour, and mostly in a manner that alludes to culturaldifferences between such behaviours. The ve papers that

  • ARTICLE IN PRESSetaion changing consumer behaviour. From the authorsstandpoint, research of this nature necessitates considera-tion of a wider social practise embedded in a dened socialcontext (place and time), rather than the practice ofviewing each purchase as a unique decision.Taking the view that a symbiotic relationship exists

    between consumer behaviour and long-term retail change,Hallsworth et al. argue that the consumer affects and isaffected by the altering retail scene or landscape. One of thekey drivers of change is thus society, the work people doand the consumption of goods, with later emphasis onretail structure, in-store provision, local choice and retailchange and legislation. In illustration of this the authorsdraws our attention to the poor and immobile consumers,and Taubers (1972) question [in a very different era andcultural landscape] who shops where, suggesting thismay be reduced to wherever they can reach and theoverwhelming issue of convenience. Hence, the authorsassert that (consumer) choice is partly a function of what isreadily available and, invariably, begs the question howdoes this compare with other cultures?For some JRCS readers this explanation of the devel-

    opment of the UK retail-consumer scene will seem familiarand perhaps analogous with their own. Others may bringto the discussion Wal-Marts one-stop appeal in thedramatically different consumer culture (and geography)of the US. Is this also a function of convenience or is itabout value? Interestingly, the unstoppable retail giant iscurrently struggling (at time of writing) to adjust to thelocal Japanese consumer culture (Parker, 2005). Similarly,French retailing scholars may reect on the alteringpatterns of their consumers from parochial tendency toconsume in local and often expensive stores in pre-1978France, to the hypermarket mentality promulgated by theCarrefour and Continent phenomenon. We are thus drawnto the Hallsworth et al. manuscript as a particularperspective on retail consumer behaviour that drawstogether the facets of socio-cultural detail that applyequally to disparate social and cultural systems. In effect,this paper acts as a useful starting point and precursor tothe manuscripts that follow and emphasises the diversity ofthe subject area.At this point we turn to the micro marketing of

    individual behavioural choices, as well as the widercommercial implications of such choices. The next paperexamines and ties together human personality traits andconsumer choice behaviour in respect of own and nationalbrands, and in the context of three major retail businessesin the food, cosmetics and grocery sectors. Whelan andDavies argue that traditional (marketing) methods ofmarket segmentation based on demographic variables haveshown mixed results in differentiating between consumerswho are more likely to buy own brand products and thosewho prefer national brands. Taking advantage of theemerging convergence in human personality research on

    Guest Editorial and Commentary / Journal of R378the big ve dimensions and its implications for consumerresearch (Baumgartner, 2002), the paper focuses on thepotential of human personality as a method of identifyingdifferent customer segments.Whelan and Davies draw attention to the lack of

    sophistication in the literature, which tends to concentrateon developing proles of shoppers based on demographic,socio-economic, and attitudinal or behavioural character-istics. Remarkable as it may seem, earlier studies of ownbrands focused primarily on demographics. The additionof human personality as a distinguishing variable offers asupplementary measure that may help to rene segmenta-tion techniques, and thus enhance the retailers response toconsumer purchasing patterns.Academic research of this type is critical for practitioners

    who seem more than ever before prepared to adopt andoperationalise new perspectives and concepts appertainingto consumer choice criteria. This increasing awareness hascompelled UK retailers and consultancies to allocategreater investment for the deconstruction of the customerexperience. Perhaps more importantly, there is mountingevidence on an international scale to suggest thatcompanies in both the UK and the US are more willingto embrace the academic foundations and theories ofconsumer research (Shaw, 2005). Recent initiatives in theUK retail sector have successfully driven the renementand sophistication of segmentation variables. This ismanifested in the super customisation of merchandisecategories in the 2000s from the rudimentary analysesperformed by the early retail marketing efforts common inthe 1960 and 1970s. For example, UK grocery giant Tescohas successfully harnessed the CRM principles to greatadvantage based on a stream of behaviourally rich datathat informs communications and placement dec


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