In search of the dress : an analysis of the consumer decision making process of brides Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/b5644v320

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  • The US bridal industry has grown over the last 80 years to become a multibillion dollar industry. Surprisingly, little research has been conducted concerning the consumer behavior of brides. The bride is in a situation where purchase decisions need to be made. She has many things she will purchase over the course of the engagement. But the shopping situation is unique in regards to the budget, if there is one, as well as the fantasy involved in the purchase of a wedding gown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the consumer behavior of brides who were shopping for their wedding gowns. This study used Fishbein's Theory of Reasoned Action as a theoretical framework to study how attitude, subjective norm and perceived playfulness affected the behavioral results, store satisfaction and purchase intention. Consumer involvement and consumer shopping motivations were examined as moderating variables in the relationships between attitude and store satisfaction and perceived playfulness and store satisfaction. Based on previous literature, hypotheses were developed concerning the relationships among these variables. It was hypothesized that attitude, subjective norm, and perceived playfulness would all be positively related to store satisfaction. It was also hypothesized that store satisfaction would be positively related to purchase intention. Consumer involvement was hypothesized to be a moderating variable for both the attitude to store satisfaction relationship as well as the perceived playfulness relationship. Likewise, consumer shopping motivations (utilitarian vs. hedonic) were hypothesized to be a moderating variable for both the attitude to store satisfaction relationship as well as the perceived playfulness relationship. This study utilized survey methods to assess the shopping behavior of brides shopping for their wedding gown. All scales were adopted from existing literature and reliabilities of scales were established. Surveys were conducted in a store intercept format at three different area bridal retailers over a 12 week period of time. A total of 72 brides participated in the survey. Regression statistics were used to analyze the data. To look at the relationships between attitude, subjective norm, and perceived playfulness and store satisfaction a stepwise multiple regression was conducted. Attitude was found to be a significant, positive predictor of store satisfaction. The results from a simple regression show that the relationship between store satisfaction and purchase intention was significant and positive. Finally, a nested regression was used to analyze the moderating relationships of consumer involvement and consumer shopping motivations. Consumer involvement was found to be a significant moderator of the attitude – store satisfaction relationship. All other hypothesized relationships were not found to be significant. The results of this study show that bridal store managers need to be concerned with how their customers perceive their store, as store satisfaction is a significant predictor of purchase intention. In order for the store to maintain or increase sales, bridal customers need to be happy with the store they are shopping at. The results also show that brides differ on how involved they feel in the bridal gown shopping process. This in turn affected their attitude toward shopping and their store satisfaction. Managers need to make sure they are helping to encourage realistic expectations on the part of the bride, in order to keep the level of satisfaction with their store high. The findings from this study that can be directly applied in a managerial sense are limited. Future research is needed to discover exactly what aspects are important to brides as they shop in order to be more helpful to store owners and managers.
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