An investigation of shopping centres as situational influences on consumer behaviour in the greater Durban area.
Docrat, Suleman Hoosen.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that influence the consumers' decision-making process in the selection of shopping centres. The South African society is undergoing a rapid transformation in its consumption patterns. The development and expansion of shopping centres means that consumers, in most cases, have an increasing choice of shopping destinations that meet their needs for goods, services and entertainment. The development and rapid expansion of planned shopping centres, often called Shopping Malls, has been one of the greatest retail revolutions in South Africa in the last twenty years. The competitive retail environment poses serious threats and opportunities for growth and profitability of shopping centres. The empirical research, which was conducted amongst shoppers at the various centres in the greater Durban area, confirms the significance of the various situational influences, which are the physical surroundings, the social surroundings, time, task definition and antecedent states as they impact on the shopping centres. The findings of this study reveal that stakeholders of shopping centres should go beyond the tactical aspects of shopping centre operations and adopt a strategic approach to business, in which customers' needs and competitors' actions are monitored in their quest to obtain preference vis a vis their competitors. The need to create and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage over other centres is at the heart of ensuring the continued viability of individual shopping centres. Against the urgent need to adopt a strategic approach to shopping centre development and management, recommendations are provided for developers and managers to acknowledge the impact of the dynamic aspect of the factors that influence the consumers' decision-making process and their implications for shopping centre development and promotion. This study is aimed at providing valuable information to a variety of stakeholders such as the tenants, property developers, investors, shopping centre managers, retailers and consumers at shopping centres as well as academics interested in consumer behaviour and the impact of shopping centres in South Africa.