A Comparison of Consumers' Store Patronage Between South Korea and the United States: Suggestions for the Marketing Strategy of the South Korean Discount Stores
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Since 1997, the retail industry of South Korea has suffered a decline in sales due to the nation's financial crisis. Because of the increase of price consciousness, discount stores have become the stores most attractive to South Korean consumers. The purpose of this study was to (a) compare the differences between South Korean and the U.S. consumers in demographics, shopping orientation, perception of the importance of store and product attributes, and store evaluation, satisfaction and patronage in discount stores and (b) examine the relationships among the six variables. In addition, South Korean consumers' preferences toward the strategies used in the U.S. discount stores were examined to determine whether these strategies could be adapted to South Korean discount stores. The proposed model suggests that consumers' shopping orientation affects their perception of the importance of store and product attributes. Consumers' perception of the importance of attributes affects how they evaluate a store. Consumers' evaluation of the store then influences their satisfaction with the store. If consumers are satisfied with the store, they choose to patronize the store. A total of 234 participants recruited at Wal-Mart were included in this study, 117 from South Korea and 117 from the U.S. Results showed that there were significant differences between the two countries in participants' occupation, marital status, age, education, the perception of the importance of attributes in discount stores, and store evaluation and satisfaction. When the relationships between variables were examined, results showed that the proposed model is partially supported. When South Korean participants' preferences toward the strategies used in the U.S. were examined, they showed high preferences toward some strategies. The implication of the results were discussed.
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