The differential effects of retail density: An investigation of goods versus service settings
Two studies investigate the impact of retail density and time pressure on shoppers' store attitudes and behavioral intentions. In a goods setting, experiment 1 results show a curvilinear pattern as the level of retail density increases. That is, individuals prefer a medium level of crowding to a store with low or high crowding. This inverted-U shaped crowding effect has not previously been tested in the retailing literature. Experiment 2 employs a service setting, where the relationship between retail crowding and outcome variables is found to be linear rather than curvilinear, except under conditions of time pressure. In contrast to the goods setting, individuals have more favorable attitudes and expect to pay more for a service as the level of crowding increases. Thus, our study findings suggest that the optimal level of crowding depends on the type of retail setting.
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