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The shopping experience of older supermarket consumers

The shopping experience of older supermarket consumers
The shopping experience of older supermarket consumers
Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate the difficulties and challenges faced by the older supermarket consumers in order to form insights into potential ways of applying IT support and design solutions within the supermarket service for older consumers. The rationale for this research stemmed from observations and discussions with supermarkets with regards to the use of IT and better process design for a growing segment of their consumer base.

Design/methodology/approach – A mixed research methodology was used for this research. Firstly, an ethnographic approach based on direct observations was felt appropriate as this would offer a visual unbiased view of the processes involved in the shopping experience. Secondly, it was felt that it would be appropriate to support these findings with semi-structured interviews. The data was clustered to provide contextual awareness of the problems involved within the shopping experience.

Findings – The findings indicated a range of areas where senior consumers faced difficulties. One major problem was around understanding where certain products were placed on shelves and why. The other areas of concern were access to products (shelf height), poor signage, labelling and inappropriate portion sizes.

Research limitations/implications – The main research limitation is the small sample size that was studied. Obviously with a much larger sample a wider range of problems would be uncovered. The other area of concern is the fact that studying particular customers invades the privacy of customers that are inadvertently caught up on videos. In future, it may make sense to get participants to film themselves and talk into smart mobiles, recording real-time data.

Practical implications – The research indicates that it is important for supermarkets to improve signage and customer support, and use IT more freely in most areas. The use of electronic ink signage is a new and important area that they could invest in. This would allow real-time updates.

Social implications – As many countries are faced with growing numbers of senior citizens, it is important that their lives are made easier and the shopping experience improved.

Originality/value – There are limited attempts at the use of an ethnographic approach to explore elderly consumers’ shopping experiences in the UK. The existing studies do not look at the practicalities of everyday shopping problems faced by this segment of the population. It also adds value to the retailers’ understanding of the behaviour patterns of this important customer segment, at the same time offering solutions to certain problems such as signage and directions through the utilisation of IT.
elderly consumers, shopping experience, ethnographic method, it, elderly people, consumers, older consumers, supermarkets
1741-0398
444-471
Yin, Yuanyuan
cdb7e6d5-a9d9-4ecc-bbaa-a10ea4350f39
Pei, Eujin
5722dec0-5ffc-4db2-a4cd-b21c0c0ea936
Ranchhod, Ashok
4502275c-3dca-4c29-a2cb-3a0356e4de0e
Yin, Yuanyuan
cdb7e6d5-a9d9-4ecc-bbaa-a10ea4350f39
Pei, Eujin
5722dec0-5ffc-4db2-a4cd-b21c0c0ea936
Ranchhod, Ashok
4502275c-3dca-4c29-a2cb-3a0356e4de0e

Yin, Yuanyuan, Pei, Eujin and Ranchhod, Ashok (2013) The shopping experience of older supermarket consumers. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 26 (4), 444-471. (doi:10.1108/JEIM-05-2013-0025).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate the difficulties and challenges faced by the older supermarket consumers in order to form insights into potential ways of applying IT support and design solutions within the supermarket service for older consumers. The rationale for this research stemmed from observations and discussions with supermarkets with regards to the use of IT and better process design for a growing segment of their consumer base.

Design/methodology/approach – A mixed research methodology was used for this research. Firstly, an ethnographic approach based on direct observations was felt appropriate as this would offer a visual unbiased view of the processes involved in the shopping experience. Secondly, it was felt that it would be appropriate to support these findings with semi-structured interviews. The data was clustered to provide contextual awareness of the problems involved within the shopping experience.

Findings – The findings indicated a range of areas where senior consumers faced difficulties. One major problem was around understanding where certain products were placed on shelves and why. The other areas of concern were access to products (shelf height), poor signage, labelling and inappropriate portion sizes.

Research limitations/implications – The main research limitation is the small sample size that was studied. Obviously with a much larger sample a wider range of problems would be uncovered. The other area of concern is the fact that studying particular customers invades the privacy of customers that are inadvertently caught up on videos. In future, it may make sense to get participants to film themselves and talk into smart mobiles, recording real-time data.

Practical implications – The research indicates that it is important for supermarkets to improve signage and customer support, and use IT more freely in most areas. The use of electronic ink signage is a new and important area that they could invest in. This would allow real-time updates.

Social implications – As many countries are faced with growing numbers of senior citizens, it is important that their lives are made easier and the shopping experience improved.

Originality/value – There are limited attempts at the use of an ethnographic approach to explore elderly consumers’ shopping experiences in the UK. The existing studies do not look at the practicalities of everyday shopping problems faced by this segment of the population. It also adds value to the retailers’ understanding of the behaviour patterns of this important customer segment, at the same time offering solutions to certain problems such as signage and directions through the utilisation of IT.

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More information

Published date: 2013
Keywords: elderly consumers, shopping experience, ethnographic method, it, elderly people, consumers, older consumers, supermarkets
Organisations: Winchester School of Art

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 359489
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/359489
ISSN: 1741-0398
PURE UUID: a2dc3dc2-3f14-4883-beea-696af29f4121
ORCID for Ashok Ranchhod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4269-8825

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Nov 2013 16:12
Last modified: 16 Sep 2019 18:34

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Contributors

Author: Yuanyuan Yin
Author: Eujin Pei
Author: Ashok Ranchhod ORCID iD

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