Business Management in Grocery Stores
The revenue of a grocery store depends on the number of products that customers will purchase. Although most customers have their predetermined item lists before shopping, thirty to fifty percent of sales are created by impulse purchases. From this fact, people can conclude that increasing the likelihood of impulse item purchase by customers also increases the revenue. Many scholars have studied the behaviour of buying impulse items and the way to best attract customers to buy impulse items by different marketing strategies for example, by changing layout shape, promotional sale, and discount. None of them, however, have considered the use of a systematic method to place the product so as to increase the likelihood that “impulse” items are purchased. The current topic addresses this research gap and provides a systematic method for item placement within a store to increase impulse purchase. Customers visiting a grocery store purchase items according to their needs and specific utility of the item. When a customer visits a grocery or convenience store, they typically purchase a basket of items that contains a predetermined item-list which people name as must have items, and are inclined to also buy impulse items which are purchased only if the customer passes by them during his/her visit to the store. Many people define a customer category with reference to a set of must-have items and a set of impulse items, and assume that customer categories are known along with the sale price and potential purchase quantities for impulse items. In the model, there is a need to assume that a customer plans his/her route in the store using a nearest neighbour approach on his/her list of must-have items. The value of the layout is defined to be the total sales from impulse items. Therefore, all the issues and aspects related to Business Management of Grocery Story will be discussed in detail.
The mechanisms of store layouts
Store layout is an important issue in the success of a grocery store. The main objectives of a store layout are to guide the customer around the store and entice increased purchases to create balance between sales and shopping space to create effective merchandise presentation. Selling floor layouts are extremely important because they strongly influence the in-store traffic patterns, shopping behaviour, shopping atmosphere and operational efficiency. The three major types of store layouts are:
(a) Grid: The grid layout is a rectangular arrangement of displays and long aisles that generally run parallel to one another. It provides customers with flexibility and speed in identifying preselected items which appear on their shopping list.
(b) Freeform: The freeform layout is a free flowing and asymmetric arrangement of displays and aisles, employing a variety of different sizes, shapes and styles of display. It is mainly used by large department stores. The freeform layout has been shown to increase the time that customers are willing to spend in the store.
(c) Racetrack/Boutique: In the racetrack/boutique layout, the sales floor is organized into individual, semi-separate areas, each built around a particular shopping theme. It leads customer along the specific paths to visit as many store sections of the departments as possible, because the main aisle/corridor facilitates customer movement through the store (Chin, 1998, 617).
Past research on Grocery Stores
There has been a lot of research on and in grocery supermarkets to understand consumer behaviour. There are ongoing as well as completed studies focused on consumer buying behaviour, travel pattern, etc. A customer purchase can be categorized as a planned or unplanned purchase. A planned purchase is characterized by deliberate, thoughtful search and evaluation that normally results in rational, accurate and better decisions. Impulse buying results from spontaneous buying stimuli, prompted by physical proximity to desired product. Beyond spontaneity, impulse buying is an unexpected urge to buy without regard to the consequences of the purchase decision. Impulse buying could be categorized as (1) Pure Impulse Buying, (2) Reminder Impulse Buying, (3) Suggestion Impulse Buying, and (4) Planned Impulse Buying (Stern, 1962). Studies show that almost 90 percent of people make purchases on impulse occasionally and between 30-50 percent of all purchases were classified by the buyers themselves as impulse purchases. The choice of customer travel path has also received considerable attention. The researchers known as Farley and Ring in 1966 developed a model to predict area-to-area transition probabilities for traffic in supermarkets and proposed a stochastic model of supermarket traffic flow that provides a framework for predicting conditional probabilities of shopper’s traffic flow. The researcher known as Burke in 1996 studied consumer grocery shopping patterns using a virtual (simulated) store. The author known as Sorensen in 2003 tabulated purchase and time-of-stay statistics at different locations within an actual grocery store. The researcher known as Larson et al. in 2005 categorized grocery paths using a clustering algorithm, and identified 14 different canonical paths (Chopra, 2004, 154).
In a traditional retail channel structure, a retailer typically sells multiple differentiated products produced by multiple manufacturers. Manufacturers determine wholesale prices and the retailer selects order quantities, sets retail prices, conducts in-store promotions and manages the sales staff. We refer to this traditional structure as a retailer-managed retail (RMR) system because the retailer determines and manages the marketing environment faced by consumers. This structure may be advantageous because retailers typically have better information about consumer demand in the local market and possess core competencies in retailing activities such as merchandising and promotion planning. In addition, previous research has found that using a retailer as an intermediary may reduce competition between manufacturers and thereby may be preferable for manufacturers whose products are highly substitutable. However, RMR suffers from well-known channel coordination issues such as double marginalization and information distortion. These coordination challenges make it difficult for manufacturers and retailers to resolve their conflicting interests and maximize the total channel profits (Gainer, 1991, 602).
Manufacturing Related Steps
Recently, manufacturer-managed retailing (MMR) systems have become increasingly popular in select product categories and in Asian markets. In contrast to RMR systems, in MMR systems manufacturers set up selling counters and hire their own sales staff to sell their products inside the retail store. In return, the retailer is paid a percentage of the total sales revenue based on a revenue sharing contract. MMR is currently very common in department stores in China and Japan. A recent survey from 30 upscale department stores across major Chinese cities indicates that about 80 percent of product categories are manufacturer-managed. While less widely used in North America, MMR has been adopted in department stores in U.S. such as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, for categories such as jewellery, cosmetics and apparel. MMR is also a common practice for online retailers. For example, Motorola operates an online store within In Phonic websites, a leading online seller of wireless products and services. Amazon.com also provides marketplaces where individual sellers can list their items and decide selling prices. In exchange for the hosting services, Amazon receives a percentage of the sales price usually 10% – 15% if an item is sold. These channel innovations have attracted recent academic interest. In particular, the researchers known as Jerath and Zhang in 2009 study the economic incentives that make the store-within-a-store (SS) business model, which is very similar to the MMR system, attractive to both retailers and manufacturers (Gavirneni, 1999, 24).
Under MMR manufacturers have full autonomy in determining retail prices, setting inventory levels and managing their sales force. A possible consequence of direct competition between manufacturers within a store is aggressive pricing. However, because this system virtually allows vertical integration from manufacturers, MMR can resolve channel issues such as the double-marginalization problem, and reduce the frequency of stock-outs. Furthermore, manufacturers may have a strong incentive to provide better in-store service. The researchers known as Jerath and Zhang in 2009 argued that the SS (or MMR) business model is more useful for product categories (such as cosmetics and high-end apparels) for which inter-store substitutability is higher than inter-brand substitutability. A possible reason for the popularity of MMR in Asia is that retail stores in highly populated cities such as Shanghai and Tokyo are typically close to each other. This may results in intense competition. If MMR mitigates these competitive forces it may provide benefits to both retailers and manufacturers. Jerath and Zhang also emphasize that in order to implement the SS business model retailers need to possess sufficient bargaining power to dictate terms to manufacturers (Halter, 2000, 94).
The Design of Supply Chain Methods for Grocery Stores
In addition to the analytical work, there is a growing body of research that empirically examines the vertical relationship between retailer and manufacturer. The researcher known as Kadiyali et al. in 2000 measure the power of channel members by looking at how channel profits are divided. They find that greater channel power results in greater shares of the total channel profit. The author known as Sudhir in 2001 studied competition among manufacturers under alternative assumptions of vertical interactions with one retailer. The researcher known as Villas-Boas in 2007 extends this work by allowing for multiple retailers. These studies typically use cross market or cross-store data and rely on structural assumptions of vertical strategic interactions between manufacturers and retailers. The study provides empirical testing of the economic consequences using a quasi-experiment within a retail store. Another stream of relevant research is the supply chain management literature (Jackson, 1996, 1121).
When there is demand uncertainty, retailers may carry safety inventory to satisfy demand that exceeds the amount forecasted. This causes the bullwhip effect as demand fluctuations are more pronounced upstream (manufacturers) than downstream (retailers). Numerous channel structure changes have been proposed to mitigate the bullwhip effect, such as common data definitions, information sharing, electronic data exchanges, collaborative forecasting and planning, and reducing the number of intermediaries in a supply chain. Vendor-managed inventory (VMI) is an increasingly prevalent approach where retailers provide manufacturers with access to real-time inventory levels and let them decide inventory replenishments. Direct-Store-Delivery (DSD) is another approach in which upstream manufacturers are responsible for delivering product to retail stores, managing store shelf space and inventory, and planning and executing in-store merchandising. The author known as Chen et al. in 2007 empirically examined the economic efficiency of DSD systems using cross-market. In MMR manufacturers also have the autonomy in controlling inventory and product delivery but, in addition, they also set retail prices and manage product selling within stores (Lee, 2000, 643).
Pestle Analysis of Grocery Stores
Pestle analysis is one of the most important tools used by the business to assess their external environment. These days, every organisation makes use of Pestle Analysis because of the benefits it provides to various companies. The external factors such as political, economical, social, technological, legal and ecological create a strong impact on the businesses in different ways. The political factors are the biggest concern for the countries that operate in developing countries. The reason is due to unstable political environment, unrest and the riots that place at regular intervals. However, in the case of the current grocery store, they are operating in UK which does have these problems but there are other issues related to investment laws and taxation that needs to be taken seriously by any firm operating in the country. The investment laws and taxation requires businesses to follow some strict regulations. The economical factor also carries immense importance and is in fact the second biggest concern for the businesses. The economic factors such as a decline in the currency value, recession, high operating costs and rising unemployment leads to serious consequences for the businesses. The grocery stores are even facing the similar problems in UK and are affecting their business operations to a very large extent. However, once these problems would get resolved, then the Grocery store is going to experience a positive impact on their overall business operations. The best thing for the company is to prepare effective strategies to handle any situation faced by them (Louise, 2002, 617).
The social factor also has its own value. Though, it does not produce a strong impact on the overall business operations, but the grocery stores needs to take this impact seriously. Grocery Stores did not face many problems in this area because of the nature of their business but they need to be careful in the future to deal with this aspect in the best possible way. The fourth factor is the technological aspect that is important for those businesses that depends on the technological developments. The awareness of the latest technological tools is a key for most of the businesses that operates under a competitive environment. The application of E-commerce tools has increased rapidly over the last few years and most of the businesses are increasing the usage of e-commerce tools. This phenomenon is becoming common in those businesses that are highly dependent on Information Technology (Nicole, 2009, 713).
In the case of Grocery Stores, they even depend a lot on technological tools and are also increasing the usage of E-commerce applications in their business. This is the reason why this impact is certainly very useful for them. The fifth factor is the ecological issue in most of the businesses. The ecological issue deals with the environmental aspects of the businesses that have also gained lot of value in recent years. This is the reason why the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility has become quite popular these days and many businesses are investing huge amount of money to fulfil the requirements of Corporate Social Responsibility. In the case of Grocery Store, they also need to give importance to this factor. Since they are having large operations and huge budget for various operations, they can afford to invest money to fulfil the requirements of environmental issues. This will produce a significant impact on the goodwill of Grocery Store and might even set as an example for other companies operating in the same industry. The last aspect is the legal issues that are there for every business. Legal issues carry lot of value in those countries that gives lot of importance to the rule of law and various principles that are created by the Government for the whole population. In the case of Grocery Store, they did not have any issue related to legal matters but it was important for them to comply with all the rules and regulations of the country (Phillips, 1997, 66).
Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
The model of Porter’s five analyses was developed for the sole purpose of assessing the business operations and then comparing it with their rivals. This model has succeeded for most of the businesses that operates in an industry that has lots of competitors. In the case of Grocery Shopping Store, the threat of entry in their industry was low because the involvement of any other business required huge amount of money for setting up the business. The threat of entry is the first component that is measured by the company. The second aspect was the power of buyers which was not very high. The reason was the strong market position of Grocery Store that had placed themselves well in the market and was even looking for diversification to further strengthen their overall market position. The power of suppliers was not even high because it measures the overall value which the business has and it keeps them in a position to negotiate with the suppliers. The fourth aspect is the threat of substitutes which was low because of the inability of many businesses to earn the same position which Grocery Shopping Store has. This aspect is only high in those businesses when there is an opportunity available for the competitors to enter the industry. The fifth and the last aspect is the existing rivalry which is operating in the industry. Grocery Shopping Stores have few competitors and they did not pose any threat to the because it was very tough for them to gain the same position which the other major super chain store has. However, the competitors can work hard and give tough time to Grocery Shopping Store because they would need lots of effort in achieving this position (Schutt, 2006, 114).
SWOT Analysis is one of the very old techniques in measuring the value of the business. SWOT Analysis assist businesses in finding out their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The reason because of SWOT Analysis is conducted to help the businesses in regularly assessing the value and then preparing appropriate strategies to deal with the problems that are affecting the business operations. This is the reason why Grocery Store needs to conduct SWOT Analysis to assess the overall value. Even though, they are having a good position but still the businesses do not ignore the importance of conducting SWOT Analysis because it helps them to identify crucial factors which are very useful for business (Sherry, 1998, 123).
The Importance of Shopping For the Consumers
Spaces of shopping are locales where consumers browse for, and purchase, goods and services. They have also been called service scapes or places where people, processes that shape the selection and acquisition of products and physical attributes of the location interact. A more colloquial term is retail venue. Throughout history, locales where people acquire items to satisfy their needs and wants have become increasingly elaborate, and different types of retail venues have waxed and waned. Popular shopping spaces around the world in the early twenty-first century include shopping malls, boutiques, open-air markets (e.g., farmers’ markets), themed venues, kiosks, mom-and-pop shops (e.g., family-owned businesses), franchised stores, supermarkets, discount stores, regional shopping centers (including factory outlets), and destination retailers. Of the spaces that have declined in popularity, department stores are noteworthy because they dominated the retail landscape in consumption-oriented countries throughout most of the twentieth century (Williams, 2006, 94).
Shopping also takes place in the home through home-shopping parties, where an organizer sponsors an event to demonstrate goods offered by a particular manufacturer. The norms of social obligation and reciprocity that these parties engender within social groups help these parties remain highly successful means of selling goods, even as some consumers resent being invited and being expected to buy. Moreover, Internet home shopping has revolutionized the retail landscape; indeed, it is now often the case that Internet sales outpace those at traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. For example, although most retailers suffered sharp declines during the 2008 Christmas shopping season, Amazon.com actually reported its busiest Christmas season ever. All of these forms of shopping demonstrate the relevance of the home as a key retail site, even as changes in the workforce and increased concerns over crime have diminished other home-shopping activities (e.g., door-to-door sales). Finally, the destination retail outlet typically features themed merchandise, aesthetics, and aspects of retail entertainment. Two attributes distinguish it from all other spaces of shopping: an exceptionally large retail space and a setting that is both stand-alone and typically outside the perimeter of a major urban area. The fact that consumers choose to sacrifice time, money, and effort above and beyond what they would normally expend on typical shopping activities to visit these sites makes them destinations in their own right. Such venues position themselves by offering unique assortments of merchandise and value-added amenities that are designed to surprise and delight customers. One highly successful global destination retailer is IKEA, which offers a unique self-serve line of mid-quality furniture with a high level of design, a Swedish restaurant, a grocery store featuring Swedish-heritage food and gift items, a game room for children, and a bargain level where consumers are literally overwhelmed by a huge assortment of low-priced choices for the home. Another destination retailer, Cabela’s on its website promotes one of its locations outside of Austin, Texas, as an 185,000 square foot facility that features a décor of museum-quality animals, a shooting gallery, and a large aquarium (Zukin, 1998, 839).
Thus, the department store introduced the practice of selling by association. The excessive use of electric lights, modern ventilation systems, telephones, and pneumatic tubes for communication created a rationally managed and comfortable environment for both the public and employees. Technological novelties, such as escalators, not only facilitated mobility within the store but also functioned to stun the public as a kind of enchantment of modernity and rationality. The main public of the department store was the broadly defined middle class. An extensive range of goods was offered for prices accessible to a large public, and historians therefore often talk about the democratization of luxury, to use the words of nineteenth-century French author Émile Zola. The fact that department stores also offered a range of services, entertainment, and facilities that could be enjoyed by anyone for free supports this interpretation. On the other hand, new means of differentiation were introduced. Different departments were often hierarchically situated within the stores, with a bargain department, or bargain basement, on the lowest level. The more expensive the goods, the higher they were placed in the building. In addition, middle-class style and manner was not only shaped and sold by the stores but also expected from the customers (Nicole, 2009, 713).
The Role of Organization Theory for Grocery Shopping Stores
In the last few decades, a major theme of organizational theory has been the increased openness of the environment in which organizations operate. No matter how theorists and scholars try to answer the question of openness there is unanimity in the belief that organizations are now influenced by an increasing number of entities, and need to accommodate their specific demands. This extra burden on organizational resources, in an ever-changing environment, necessitates the need for businesses to have coalitions and engage in multifaceted and intricate transactions within their environment. The bottom line is that modern organizations are now facing a dynamic and an active intrusive environment. The new groups and entities, created by technology and several other conditions under globalization, are interested in what the firms do and how they conduct their business. These entities are not only affected by the firms but they can also influence firms. These changes, therefore, have altered the view that organizations are only answerable to their shareholders (Schutt, 2006, 114).
As already explained descriptive stakeholder theory tries to describe the firm as a centre of many converging and diverging interests representing numerous stakeholders. Descriptive theory also tries to show the impact of stakeholders on organizational decision-making. In short, it explains how organizational decisions are made and what affects them. On the other hand, instrumental stakeholder theory attempts to explain and establish a link between stakeholder management and firm performance. The researcher known as Dill in 1975 gives a broader concept of stakeholder management than the corporatist view, and covers both descriptive and instrumental aspects of the stakeholder theory. He argues that management must increase focus on strategic planning and, through kibitzing, bring stakeholders into the process of decision-making. Otherwise, the organization will be subject to increasing mistrust and loss of confidence. Dill not only talks about stakeholders that can influence the organizational decision-making processes but also mentions intermediaries like representative protestors, communicators, and opportunistic protestors, who intervene on behalf of the stakeholders, and aid them. He recommends that the management needs to deal with stakeholders by increasing the scope of their interactions and by making an effort to help the stakeholders understand the concerns and issues of the organization. The researcher known as Freeman in 1984 defined stakeholders as any entity that is affected or can affect the firm. He gives a long list of stakeholders and their possible interests. Freeman admitted that the list provided in his book is static and simplistic. In reality stakeholders have relations with other stakeholders, their interests change, and over time their salience can also vary. His model was basically a how to do guide for managers to assess the stakeholders’ interests, and formulate processes that will help them in dealing with these interests. Freeman’s model is instrumental and represents an enlightened self interest on the part of the managers aimed at creating a successful organization (Halter, 2000, 94).
The researchers known as Hosseini & Brenner in 1992 described organizations as having influence from a number of stakeholders, and give a descriptive stakeholder theory that focuses on stakeholder influence. Most of the scholarly works claim this aspect of multiple pressures on the decision-making process of the managers, but Hosseini & Brenner actually give a methodology to ascertain these pressures created by the stakeholders. They give a methodology to assess how ethical values are introduced, and subsequently influence managerial decision-making. They propose an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), which they propose is a solution to the multi-attribute and multi-dimensional problem posed by stakeholder theory. The researchers known as Donaldson and Preston in 1995, as already discussed, give an instrumental, descriptive, and normative stakeholder theory. They move beyond Freeman’s enlightened self interest view and say that all stakeholders have interests with intrinsic value and are important irrespective of the fact that they add to the value created for the shareholders. Their work is normative as they consider norms to be at the core of the organization. It is descriptive as they describe organizations as centres of multiple interests. It is instrumental as they consider that there should be a link between stakeholder theory and performance. The researcher known as Jones in 1995 developed a formal instrumental stakeholder theory. The main assumptions are: firms have relationships with many groups, each with either power over the firm, or with a stake in the firm; relationships between firms and their stakeholders can be described with the term contracts; contracts can be of many types (forms of exchange, transaction, delegation of decision-making authority, and legal documents); firms are nexuses of contracts; top corporate management has a special strategic position, therefore, firms are recast as nexuses of contracts between its top managers and its stakeholders; finally, markets move towards equilibrium and that produces a tendency for efficient contracting (Gainer, 1991, 602).
Based on the above assumptions the contracting process gives rise to a number of issues like: agency problems, transaction cost problems, and problems related to opportunism and commitment. If the firm is able to solve these contracting issues it will have a competitive advantage. Finally, Jones gives his solution that firms that contract through their managers with their stakeholders on the basis of mutual trust and cooperation will have a competitive advantage over firms that do not. The researchers known as Wheeler & Silanpaa in 1997 argue that long term value of a company rests on: knowledge, ability, and commitment of its employees; and its relationship with investors, customers, and other stakeholders. The basis of this relationship is how the company adds value beyond commercial transactions. There are two types of values an organization can produce: social and commercial. Both these values are mutually reinforcing and lead to loyalty and corporate resilience. The scholars follow Freeman’s 1984 definition of stakeholders and divide stakeholders into primary and secondary. They argue that basically stakeholder management is a question of creating a balance, and they predict that stakeholder inclusive organizations will outperform stakeholder exclusive organizations in the 21st century. The researchers known as Preston & Donaldson in 1999 did not really give a detailed model but they described the basic ingredients of stakeholder theory. They state that the stakeholder view includes firms and their networks of stakeholders, involved in collaborative relationships and routines, to increase firm revenue and reduce risk and cost. The collaboration works through stakeholder linkages and implicit agreements based on trust, mutual control, and ownership of collaborative activities by the firm and the stakeholders. Finally, organizational wealth-that is the aggregate value of a going concern-can be enhanced by appropriate linkages, both formal and informal, with most, if not all, corporate stakeholders. Hence the pursuit of organizational wealth is an appropriate goal and justification of stakeholder management (Jackson, 1996, 1121).
Different Aspects Related To Shopping
In many papers, the researchers found evidence of peer effects among retail cosmetic salespeople. The peer effects are not simply productivity spill over’s, as people also identify likely strategic responses by workers to the ability of their peers. The direction and magnitude of these effects depend on the compensation system used by the brand. When faced with high ability peers within the counter, workers under individual-based compensation employ two strategic responses. First, they discount the prices offered to customers. Second, they focus on retaining high-value repeat customers, who likely are more loyal to specific brands. Still, they lose (especially low-value) customers since they are unable to compete with high-ability peers in selling ability. Yet high-ability workers do not appear to benefit much from the losses of their peers. The reason is that workers at IC counters are less able to compete with outside peers, especially those from TC counters. Focusing on competing against each other, workers at IC counters can only devote limited effort to outside competition and are therefore greatly hurt by high-ability outside peers. The results show how the relationship between worker heterogeneity and team performance depends critically on compensation system under individual-based compensation, heterogeneity can lead to internal customer and price competition, and loss of sales to outside competition (Phillips, 1997, 66).
In contrast, heterogeneity enhances team performance under team-based compensation. Many researchers find that high-ability workers significantly improve the sales productivity of their peers. Workers appear to coordinate on which customers they serve: low-ability workers may focus more on loyal high-value customers while high-ability workers compete for the casual walkthrough customers who are most difficult to gain. Workers at these counters, finding it unnecessary to exert effort toward within-counter competition, can focus all effort toward outside competitors, and may also benefit from the help of high-ability peers. Consequently, these workers lose fewer customers to outside peers and offer less discounting to customers, hence suffering less revenue loss. High-ability workers at TC counters, on the other hand, have much larger negative effects on outside peers than do their IC counter peers. The peer effects identified in this study are conditional on the compensation system and workers chosen by firms. We test the treatment effects of two brands that changed the compensation system in a later period. The consistency of these results with the broader sample suggests that a large part of the relationship between compensation systems and peer effects is indeed causal. Similarly, the observation that compensation changes do not coincide with personnel turnover indicates that whatever endogenous hiring processes exist do not explain the compensation-specific peer effects (Williams, 2006, 94).
It can be concluded that the proper business strategies in any business can lead towards better operations for their whole business. The same case was with the current grocery store that needs a proper business management to run their operations in the best possible way. There are certain elements which are very crucial for any grocery store which they need to consider before conducting their operations. The same case happened with the present grocery store that also required a suitable strategy for running the business. In the future, the grocery store will be able to run its business operations in the best way that will satisfy the stakeholders and customers as well. Therefore, all the issued and aspects related to the Business Management of Grocery Store have been discussed in detail.
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