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Abstract

Research Purpose Consumers rely on various clues to evaluate their decision to patronize a retail store, and store brand is one of them (Dodds 1991; Grewal et al. 1998). As consumers find ever increasing variety of contact points connecting them to specific store, the value of experiential shopping as a means of increasing store`s brand equity warrants greater attention from scholars of retail management. Retail shopping values are credited for creating not only cognitive experiences like brand knowledge but also emotional experiences such as shopping pleasure and pride (Schmitt 1999). This may be because today`s consumers place emphasis on emotional values associated with shopping pleasure, lifestyle brought to life, brand relationship, and store atmosphere more than utilitarian values such as product quality and price. Many previous literature found this to be true (Ahn and Lee 2011; Mathwick et al. 2001). This brings forth important research issues and questions regarding the roles of shopping experiential values and brand equity with regard to consumer`s retail patronage choice. However, despite this importance, research on this area remains quite inadequate (Hwang 2010). For this reason, this study aims to verify the relationships among experiential shopping values, retail store brand equity and tries to link that with customer loyalty by surveying large-scale discount store shoppers in Korea and China. * Dept. of Business Administration, Ansan University(hshphj1003@naver.com) ** Dept. of Business Administration, Ansan University(drpeter@ansan.ac.kr) *** Dept. of Business Administration, Kyonggi University(sjyoon@kgu.ac.kr) 2. Research Contents In order to carry out the research objective, this study conducted comprehensive literature survey on previous literature by discussing major findings and implications with regard to shopping values and retail brand equity and store loyalty. For data collection, researcher employed survey-based research method where data were collected in two major cities of Korea (Seoul) and China (Bejing) and sampling frame was based on patrons of large discount stores in both countries. Specific research questions raised in this study are as follows; RQ1:How do Korean and Chinese consumers differently perceive of shopping values regarding shopping at large-sclae discount stores? RQ2:Are there differences in consumers` emotional consumption propensities? RQ3:Do Korean and Chinese consumers display different perceptions of brand equity towards large-scale discount stores? RQ4:Are there differences in relationships between shopping values and brand equity for Korean and Chinese consumers? For statistical analysis, SPSS17.0, AMOS17.0 and SmartPLS were employed. 3. Research Results The data collected through face-to-face survey conducted in Seoul and Bejing revealed appropriate data validity and reliability as a result of exploratory/confirmatory factor analysis and reliability tests, andh SEM model yielding satisfactory model fitness. The result of the study may be summarized by three main points. First, as a result of testing differences in consumption dispositions, Chinese consumers showed higher scores in aesthetic and symbolic dispositions, whereas Korean consumers scored higher in hedonic disposition. Second, testing on perceptions toward brand equity of large discount stores showed that Korean consumers exhibited more positive perceptions of brand awareness and brand image than Chinese counterparts. Third, the result of exploratory factor analysis on the experiential shopping values revealed different factors for each country. On Korean side, consumer interest value, aesthetic value, and hedonic value were prominent, whereas on Chinese side, hedonic value, aesthetic value, consumer interest value, and service excellence value were found salient. 4. Research Implications While many previous studies on inter-country differences in retailing area mainly focused on cultural dispositions or orientations to explain the differences, this study sets itself apart by specifically targeting individual consumer`s shopping values from an experiential viewpoint. The study result provides important theoretical as well as practical implications for large-scale discount store, especially the impotance of fully exploring the linkage between shopping values and brand equity, which has significant influence on loyalty. Therefore, the specific implications deriving from the result shed some important insights upon the consumption values based on shopping experiences and brand equity. The differences found in store shoppers between the two countries may also provide useful insights for Korean and Chinese retailers who plan to expand their operations globally. Related strategic implications derived from this study is the importance of localizing retail strategy which is based on the differences found in experiential shopping values between the two country groups. Especially the finding that Chinese consumers value consumer interest and service excellence, whereas Koreans place importance on hedonic or aesthetic values indicates the need to differentiate the consumer`s psychographical profiles when it comes to expanding retail operations globally. Particularly important will be to pursue price-orienated strategy in China in consideration of the high emphasis on consumer interests and service excellence, but to emphasize the symbolic aspects of brand equity in Korea by maximizing the brand equity associated with aesthetic values and hedonic orientations. 5. Recommendations This study focused on generic retail branded discount stores in both countries, thus making it difficult to tease out store-specific strategies based on specific retail brands. Future studies may benefit fro employing actual brand names in survey questionnaire to verify relationship between shopping values and brand-based store strategy. As with other studies of this nature, this study needs to strengthen the result`s generalizability by selecting respondents from a wider spectrum of respondents. Key words: experiential shopping values, retail brand equity, store loyalty, discount store, Korea-China comparison study, consumption disposition.

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