The Perceived Store Authenticity: A New Retailing Concept
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Although research suggests that consumers attribute authenticity (or the lack thereof) to stores (e.g., Kraak and Holmqvist, 2017; Rego et al., 2015; Walumbwa et al., 2008), the retailing and consumer services literature lacks an explicit conceptualization capturing this theoretical notion—the perceived store authenticity. Drawing from the brand authenticity (e.g., Morhart et al., 2015) and the destination authenticity (e.g., Wang, 1999) literatures, this study introduces a new retailing concept, namely store authenticity. The study defines store authenticity as the extent to which a customer perceives that the store is truthful toward itself through exerting efforts in preserving its identity, true to its customers, guided by ethics and motivated by genuine social responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves (cf. Morhart et al., 2015). Particularly, the study conceptualizes store authenticity as a multidimensional construct consisting of four dimensions, namely continuity, credibility, integrity, and symbolism. Furthermore, the study integrates this new concept into a nomological network of antecedents and consequences to investigate (1) how does the store retail-environment influence store authenticity?, and (2) What are the consequences of store authenticity to the store management? More precisely, the study proposes a literature-based model that includes three main categories pertaining to the store retail-environment (i.e., design, ambiance, social) (cf. Baker et al., 2002; Baker, 1986) as exogenous antecedents affecting the four store authenticity dimensions. These store authenticity dimensions are hypothesized to positively influence store attachment which in turn positively predicts store patronage in terms of store loyalty and positive word-of-mouth communications. To test the proposed conceptual model, structural equation modeling (SEM) is applied to data collected from patrons in two dining restaurants (N=475). The empirical results are broadly supportive of the proposed model. Theoretical and managerial implications to the retailing and store management literature are discussed.
- Master of Science in Marketing [13 items ]