Understanding the Influence of Culture on Retailing

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Understanding the Influence of Culture on Retailing
The fundamental aim of this essay is to, show understanding of the influence of culture on retailing. In the essay the power of culture and how this power affects retailing will be explored. I am going to illuminate the meaning of culture in our modern life and discuss and explain the influence of cultural factors that can be put forward for shopping. I will look on how culture linked with retailing, how our society has changed and how these changes influenced on consumers, and how retailers should react. There are many different definitions of culture, however the Harrison’s definition (1992, pp. 9-10) uses an operational definition of culture as group or national value systems, attitudes, religious and other institutions, intellectual achievement, artistic expression, daily behaviour customs, lifestyle, and many other circumstances.” The definition of retailing by Newman and Cullen (2002, p.12) “is the set of activities that markets products or services to final consumers for their own personal or household use. It does this by organizing their availability on a relatively large scale and supplying them to consumers on a relatively small scale.” Culture and retailing are closely linked with each other. Culture includes absolutely everything that surrounding us and that is inside us; such as our beliefs, views, opinions, our behaviour and lifestyle. We are influence on culture and culture in one’s turn influence on us. Each of us play many completely different roles and one of these key roles is as a consumer. I know some people who have never been in theatre, they have never seen ballet or opera, and however I do not know anybody who has never buy something. “Shopping is important, and it is underestimated. It’s one of the most common things we do, and it dominates our lives. Almost everything in life requires shopping. When it comes shopping, everyone can participate. Shopping is the most common shared experience- everyone does it and everyone talks about it.”(Pooler, 2003, p. 4) Shopping became an integral part of our life and part of our culture in recent years. “Shopping is culture. It is solemn rite, a ceremonial act that is an integral part of every person’s life. There are unwritten rules of shopping, customs of shopping, and conventions to be followed. There are many interesting things to learn by studying our own day-to-day culture and shopping is one of the primary parts of it. Shopping is an almost invisible element of our daily culture that is central to our lives.” (Pooler, 2003, p. 5) In the last thirty years our life has changed, it has become much faster; new technologies, increasing working hours and income, working women are just a part of factors that affected us as consumers. “Changes in our natural and social environment are constantly affecting what consumers want and how retailers can provide them with their requirements. Retailers are interested in these changes because they affect how much people want to buy and the costs of providing customers with the products and services that they want.”(Newman and Cullen;2002, p. 33). Consumers and retailers depend on each other and if culture affected consumers, retailers must correctly react on these changes in order to be successful. The two main questions for retailers are; “Why consumers shop and what they want?” and “How we can respond?”To answer on these questions is necessary understand why consumer behaviour has changed and which factors affected this. Newman and Cullen, (2002) highlighted the following changes which can affect consumers, such as demographic, technological, economic, social, political and cultural changes. One of the most significant changes is technological changes. The Internet provides a great opportunity of increased choice. It is now possible to buy online absolutely everything; grocery, books, clothes, toys, cars, insurance and many more. Consumers use online stores instead...
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