Store Environment, Personality Factors and Impulse Buying Behavior in Egypt: The Mediating Roles of ...

Mohamad Saad, Madiha Metawie

Journal of Business and Management Sciences OPEN ACCESSPEER-REVIEWED

Store Environment, Personality Factors and Impulse Buying Behavior in Egypt: The Mediating Roles of Shop Enjoyment and Impulse Buying Tendencies

Mohamad Saad1,, Madiha Metawie2

1Department of Psychology, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt

2Business Department, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt


This study aimed at investigating the relationships between store environment factors, personality factors and impulse buying behaviors in Egypt. In addition, the mediating roles of shop enjoyment tendency and impulse buying tendency were also investigated. The data were obtained using a structured questionnaire from 500 participants, with a reasonable mix of demographic characteristics, recruited from mega mall customers working in Cairo –Egypt. The results indicated that three personality factors (impulsivity, excitement, and esteem) and two shop environment factors (music and layout) were significantly associated with impulse buying behavior. In addition, impulse buying tendency appeared to fully mediate the relationships between personality factors, shop enjoyment factors and impulse buying behavior. While shop enjoyment tendency appeared to fully mediate the relationship between store environment factors and impulse buying behavior, but did not mediate the relationship between personality factors and impulse buying behavior. The results were discussed in line with the extant literature. Research limitations and implications were reported.

Cite this article:

  • Mohamad Saad, Madiha Metawie. Store Environment, Personality Factors and Impulse Buying Behavior in Egypt: The Mediating Roles of Shop Enjoyment and Impulse Buying Tendencies. Journal of Business and Management Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 2, 2015, pp 69-77.
  • Saad, Mohamad, and Madiha Metawie. "Store Environment, Personality Factors and Impulse Buying Behavior in Egypt: The Mediating Roles of Shop Enjoyment and Impulse Buying Tendencies." Journal of Business and Management Sciences 3.2 (2015): 69-77.
  • Saad, M. , & Metawie, M. (2015). Store Environment, Personality Factors and Impulse Buying Behavior in Egypt: The Mediating Roles of Shop Enjoyment and Impulse Buying Tendencies. Journal of Business and Management Sciences, 3(2), 69-77.
  • Saad, Mohamad, and Madiha Metawie. "Store Environment, Personality Factors and Impulse Buying Behavior in Egypt: The Mediating Roles of Shop Enjoyment and Impulse Buying Tendencies." Journal of Business and Management Sciences 3, no. 2 (2015): 69-77.

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1. Introduction

Impulsive buying behavior (IBB) is an important phenomenon in the context of retail business and marketing [60]. It is a behavior that accounts for a substantial volume of the goods sold every year across a broad range of product categories [27]. According to [31] most consumers end up buying impulsively one time or another. Previous reports show that most people - almost 90 per cent - make purchases on impulse occasionally [62] and between 30 per cent and 80 per cent of all purchases can be classified by the buyers themselves as impulse purchases [8,13,25,27-35]. Some authors even suggest that, in general it is possible to assign a higher percentage of purchases to impulse buying behavior than to planned behavior [1, 13, 38, 50, 51, 53, 53]. For example, in the USA, impulse-buying sales account for $4 billion annually [1]. Similarly, a Canadian grocery chain observed that its profitability would increase by more than 40 percent if each customer purchased an additional item on impulse [4]. Therefore, it seems important to devote time to understand the factors that trigger impulse buying. However, it can be noticed that most of the available research about IBB can be found in the western cultures. Unfortunately, there is a severe lack of research of IBB in different cultural contexts. Therefore, it is not surprising that research on the influence of culture on impulsive buying behaviors shows mixed inconsistent findings (for example, [36, 66]).

Studying consumer behaviors in developing countries (e.g., Egypt) adds more insights to our understanding for such behaviors. Egypt started major economic reform operation since 1990s. Such reforms are accompanied by a rapidly growing middle class in Egypt, especially in major cities. Such increase in middle-class consumers creates a very attractive market for international firms because they are increasingly exposed to Western products and lifestyles through the media [15]. Accordingly, because of the increasingly important role of international business and the growing interest in cultural differences in consumer behavior [39], it is necessary to examine consumer behaviors in general and consumer buying behaviors in particular in developing countries, including Egypt.

Furthermore, extant research has focused on a variety of aspects related to impulse buying, but mostly on the underlying nature of impulse buying, the definition and measurement of the concept, identifying its antecedents, and the attempt to distinguish impulse buying from non-impulse buying [13, 40, 47, 48, 49].

However, there is little attention paid to the influence of store environment on impulse buying despite its increasing importance in making the retail “experience” a key differentiator [28]. Moreover, there is much less researches had focused on identifying impulsive buyers’ profile and characterize groups of consumers according to their individual profile.

It is clear that there are very few theoretical and empirical models that link both personality and situational variables with impulse buying. This paper attempts to come out with a comprehensive model that incorporates both to explain impulse buying. This research aggregates insights from previous studies and presents a three-level conceptual framework for interpreting IBB. Specifically, this paper addresses this major gap in extant literature by studying the impact of four store-environmental (i.e., music, light, layout, and employees) and three personality factors (i.e., esteem, excitement and impulsivity) on customers' impulse buying, mediated through two personal tendencies (i.e., shop enjoyment tendency and impulse tendency). By doing so, the study responds to many research calls (e.g., [34,40,42-52]). to integrate personal and environmental factors in interpreting impulse buying behaviors, especially in different cultural contexts.

2. Conceptual Framework and Hypothesis

Impulse buying is a continual and unique aspect of consumers' lifestyles and also a critical point of considerable marketing management activity. Impulse buying occurs when a consumer experiences a sudden, often powerful and persistent, urge to buy some-thing immediately. Buying impulses are often strong, fast and urgent. It is more likely to involve grabbing a product than choosing one. Impulsive behavior is more unstructured than cautious [49]. A buying impulse tends to disturb the consumer's behavior flow, while a thoughtful purchase is more likely to be a part of one's regular routine. Impulse buying is more emotional than rational, and it is more likely to be perceived as "bad" than "good." Finally, the consumer is more likely to feel out-of-control when buying impulsively than when making thoughtful purchases. [6,42-49]. Compared to planned purchasing behavior, impulse buying is more arousing, not on purpose, and more irresistible buying behavior [31].

Impulse buying may be influenced by internal states or traits of consumers, or by environmental factors experienced by them. Reference [65] noted that there is a personality profile for impulse-ridden individuals; they are, usually, spontaneous, intuitive, and careless, their decisions are made quickly and their emotional fluctuations are readily noticeable. They tend toward immediate satisfaction of their desires even when such gratification is inconsistent with the reality of their situation or their own final goal. A generalized lack of control or impulsivity is therefore seemed to be a potential contributor to impulse buying behaviors. The tendency to engage in impulse buying was most highly correlated with a lack of control (or Impulsivity).

Furthermore, they have many needs or desires that can be satisfied by buying behavior; the needs for novelty, social interaction, and ``fun'', commonly termed hedonic motives. In addition, consumers may purchase products during these shopping trips that were not expected but, once consumers see the product during the shopping exploration, they recognize its appropriateness for satisfying a particular need [27].

On the other hand, the influence of physical surroundings in retail stores is considered a very important issue for retailers in that retail environmental cues directly influence consumers’ experience and their purchases in stores [22]. Numerous variables guide retailers' and service firms' design of store environments including in-store music, aroma, merchandise quality, service quality and price perceptions (e.g., [5,12,29-61]. Reference [64] noted that in (tourists’) impulse buying is influenced by various external factors such as unique store environment, social interactions with sales associates, time pressure as well as others’ purchase behavior in the store.

Both of the personality factors and store environment factors are combined together to create two important personal tendencies (shop enjoyment tendency and impulse tendency) that pave the road for the impulse buying behaviors. Figure 1 indicates a suggested theoretical framework that explains these relationships.

2.1. Personality Factors

Consumers’ impulsive decisions to purchase something depend on several personality traits, namely, esteem, excitement, and impulsivity. Reference [27] found that the efforts to satisfy esteem and self-actualization needs drive consumers to make impulse purchases that provided satisfaction for such needs. Moreover, some empirical evidence indicated that consumers need to satisfy their self-esteem and desire to gain others’ respect will have a positive impact on their impulse buying intentions [26].

Reference [49] suggested that various and high levels of excitement can explain impulse buying behavior and can distinguish it from more calm and rational consumer decision making. These extremes of pleasure and pain suggest that impulse buying is hedonically quite complex. The buying impulse is often accompanied by intense feeling states. Consumers, in several qualitative studies, reported feeling uplifted or energized after a shopping experience. Consumers’ impulsive behaviors are derived by the needs for fun, novelty, and surprise. For some people shopping has become a reward and not any utility resulting from the purchase. Accordingly, consumers shop to satisfy a variety of hedonic needs. The goal of the shopping experience is to provide satisfaction of hedonic needs, the products acquired during these excursions appear to be chosen without prior planning and represent an impulse buying event [27, 40]. Consumers’ desire and need for excitement encourages both impulse buying intention and impulsive purchase of innovative products. Clearly, consumers’ innate desires and need for excitement, fun, and variety promotes their intentions as well as impulse purchases of new products [26]. Thus, female consumers who felt more excited, enthusiastic, fun, happy, interested, inspired, and joyful about shopping were more likely to make purchases that were not planned [46].

Reference [65] found that impulsive buying tendency was linked to impulsivity (the personality trait of lack of control) where impulse buyers lack the cognitive control of not purchasing on impulse. The impulsivity trait demonstrates that a general characteristic of impulsivity may lead to acting impulsively in a specific consumption context [37]. A significant body of research supported that impulsive consumers who are more responsive to their affective states and less responsive to their cognitive states (more likely to be sensitive to their emotions and feelings) have been found to experience a strong urge to buy and are more likely to engage in impulsive buying behavior [33, 49, 65].

In addition, some empirical evidence indicated that both of impulsivity and excitement are correlated. For example, [41] indicated that over-stimulation (i.e. high levels of excitement) directs to a temporary loss of self-control (impulsivity), thus enhancing the likelihood of impulse purchases. Similarly, impulse buying may satisfy hedonic desires and create the desire for fun and excitement [27], [47].Accordingly, it can be proposed that impulse buying is based on an innate consumer personality trait, rather than a response to particular products. Therefore, the following hypotheses can be proposed:

H1: There is a significant positive association between personality factors sand shopping enjoyment tendency

H2: There is a significant positive association between personality factors and impulse buying tendency

H3: There is a significant positive association between personality factors and impulse buying behavior

2.2. Store Environment Factors

Store environment consists of ambient factors such as lighting, and music; design factors such as layout and assortment; and social factors such as the presence and efficiency of salespersons [5]. Highly stimulating and pleasant store environments lead to enhanced impulse buying tendency. Self-reported impulse buying was maximized when the store environment was perceived as over-stimulating (i.e. higher than desired in terms of excitement and stimulation) [41]. This means it is better to stimulate and excite customers in a store environment to the degree to over-stimulation to increase impulse purchases. Therefore [42] suggested that retail managers invest in improving the store environment to increase the level of impulse buying in their stores. Specifically, they need to focus on enhancing friendliness of store employees, playing suitable music, designing proper layouts and having well-lit stores to encourage impulse buying. And because retailers can vary the cues (e.g., lighting, music, colors) used in the store, Reference [24] proposed that they can also experimentally manipulate such factors to determine which prompts have the most positive impacts on consumers.

In attempting to create an appropriate atmosphere, management may adopt a lighting scheme that inhibits shoppers from examining the merchandise, inducing negative effect. Improper illumination levels reduce visual perception that is needed to complete environmental tasks. Some empirical results indicated that brighter lighting influenced shoppers to examine and handle more merchandise which may enhance the buying tendency [3]. This was supported by [24] who found that shoppers made more unplanned purchases when they viewed the products under proper (blue) light. This simple atmospheric cue significantly affected perceptions and behavior. Lighting offers a simple, relatively inexpensive way for retailers to manage their customers’ experiences.

Another important factor, Music, has long been considered an efficient and effective means for creating positive moods and communicating nonverbally. It is therefore not surprising that music has become a major component of positive store stimuli. According to [11], human beings non-randomly assign emotional meaning to music, experience non-random affective reactions to music and as such using music marketing-related contexts is capable of evoking non-random affective and behavioral responses in consumers. Music is considered by many researchers, to be one of the cues that has a significant direct effect on shopping intentions and play a central role in integrating other atmospheric variables to create a consistent, and in some cases, transformational experience. This can be attributed to several reasons. First, in-store music often reinforced prior perceptions of the brand, thus reinforcing the consumer–brand relationship. Second, where consumers had no prior experience or expectations of the brand, music was an important indication about the brand's position and target market. The right music could attract a consumer to enter the store, possibly beginning a brand relationship. In either case, the brand effect could be one of reinforcement resulting in a pleasant, expected experience, or music could be part of a transformational experience, resulting in enjoyment and increased loyalty [9, 10]. In addition, research indicates that variations in music can form the stimulus environment and encourage changes in listeners' feeling states [9, 32]. Moreover [10] noted that music, through its various elements, can arouse and express feelings such as happiness or sadness. It was found that happy music has a significant direct effect on shopping intentions. Subjects’ intentions to shop in the stimulus store were higher if they were exposed to music they perceived to be happy. In addition, [61] found that favorable perceptions of in-store music influenced arousal and pleasure positively.

Among all the store environment elements, layout had the highest effect on impulsive buying [42]. Layout refers to the way in which products, shopping carts, and aisles are arranged; the size and shape of those items. Product variety is the total set of items offered by a retailer. An optimal layout gives the ability to facilitate the access to information and aids the shopper in decision-making. Peg boards and end caps encourage urge to buy impulsively [2]. Reference [24] found that placing an attractive sign in an unexpected place, namely, on the floor can negatively affect customers’ movement patterns. Also it was observed that the simple movement in shelf location can change consumers’ price perceptions.

Considering the fact that humans are programmed to pay attention to other humans, human variables can make an impact in retail settings, which encompass salespeople and customers. Therefore, it is essential to understand the human variables in retail environments as they are a critical factor affecting consumers’ perceptions and consequent behaviors [34]. Some research suggests that the effect of employee friendliness should be considered as an important factor in store design [41]. High-social-imaged store environments (e.g. high availability and friendliness) were found to provide greater stimulation to consumers than their low-social-imaged store counterparts (e.g. low accessibility and friendliness). Moreover, employees’ appearance was found to be critical variable in the retail environment [34].

The store environment is tackled in the current research as the customers’ perception of four environmental elements, namely, lighting, music, layout and employees friendliness. Accordingly, the following hypotheses can be proposed:

H4: There is a significant positive association between store environment factors and shopping enjoyment tendency

H5: There is a significant positive association between store environment factors and impulse buying tendency

H6: There is a significant positive association between store environment factors and impulse buying behavior

2.3. Impulse Buying Tendency

Reference [42] defined impulse buying tendency (IBT) as the tendency to make unplanned purchases and to buy spontaneously, with little or no deliberation or consideration of the consequences. Consumers with higher IBT scores are more likely to experience impulsive urges and to buy impulsively in a retail store [6, 17]. These empirical evidences, combined with psychologists' constant treatment of impulsiveness as a basic human trait, support the notion developed by [45] that individuals' impulsive buying tendencies can be conceptualized as a consumer trait. Therefore, impulsive buying tendency can be defined as a uni-dimensional construct that embodies shoppers' tendencies both to think and to shop in identifiable and distinctive ways. Specifically, impulsive buying tendency is the shopper's tendency to shop around, spontaneously, unreflectively and immediately. Reference [65] also found that consumers with a higher IBT were more likely to be affected by marketing stimuli such as advertisements, visual elements, or promotional gifts and thus engage in in-store browsing and tend to respond more frequently on urges to buy impulsively. In summary, higher levels of impulse buying tendency may lead to higher levels of urge to buy impulsively. Therefore, the following hypothesis can be proposed

H7: There is a significant positive association between Impulse buying tendency and impulse buying behavior.

H8: Impulse buying tendency mediates the relationships between personality factors, store environmental factors and impulse buying behavior.

2.4. Shopping Enjoyment Tendency

Shopping enjoyment tendency is defined as the pleasure one obtains in the shopping process [6]. Higher levels of shopping enjoyment tendency lead to higher levels of positive affect [42]. Consumers who enjoy shopping engage more in non-planned purchases, and get psychological rewards from the shopping process per se [7]. Consumers exhibiting higher shopping enjoyment tend to show more positive attitude toward pop-up retail, considering it to be good [33]. Therefore, the following hypothesis can be proposed.

H9: There is a significant positive association between shopping enjoyment tendency and impulse buying behavior.

H10: Shopping enjoyment tendency mediates the relationships between personality factors, store environmental factors and impulse buying behavior.

3. Methodology

Testing the hypotheses proposed in the previous model involved developing and administering a questionnaire to a convenience sample of consumers, Then assessing the reliability of the scales employed, and conducting a path analysis model to examine impulse buying behaviors among respondents.

3.1. Sample

A total of 750 consumers were recruited from several mega stores in Cairo-Egypt, out of which 578 agreed to participate in the study. After removing 78 incomplete questionnaires we had a usable sample of 500 questionnaires yielding a reasonably high response rate of about 66.7 percent. Participants were approached when entering the store and were asked to fill the questionnaire. Before distributing the questionnaire, all participants were assured that their participation was voluntary and anonymity was guaranteed. The age of participants ranged between 17 to 45 years, (mean = 27.49, SD =10.27 years). The sample had almost similar proportions of males (51 percent) versus females (49 percent), the majority of them (91%) was pursuing or has finished their university degree. More than half of participants (55%) were working on a full time basis, (30%) on a part-time basis, and the rest of them were unemployed or housewives. These characteristics indicate a reasonable mix of demographic groups represented in the data.

3.2. Measures

Five-part questionnaire was used to assess the study variables; Personality factors were measured using twelve items that assess three personality factors: excitement and esteem (six items adopted from [26], and impulsiveness (six items from Barratt Impulsiveness Scale adopted from [55]. Store environment factors was measured using twelve items that assess four aspects of store environment: music (three items adopted from [43], light (three items adopted from [3, 53, 58]), employees support and store layout (six items adopted from [19]). Shop enjoyment tendency was measured using three items adopted from [56]. Impulse buying tendency was measured using five items adopted from [63]. Finally, Impulse buying behaviors were measured using three items adopted from [41]. Demographic variables including gender, age, education and job level were also assessed. All items were measured on a five-point Likert scale. Answers ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, and reliability coefficients of these scales are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. The descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, and reliability coefficients of study variables

4. Data Analysis and Results

Based on prior research on reflective versus formative measurement models (e.g. [14, 18, 30]), we treated personality construct in our model as a second order reflective construct with three variables (i.e., impulsiveness, excitement, and esteem) as reflective manifestations of the impulse buying personality, while we treated store environment as a second order formative construct with four elements (i.e. music, lighting, employees, and layout) as formative indicators since store environment does not exist as an independent entity independent of these four elements; rather, it is a composite measure of these four elements. We treated store environment as a formative second order factor construct since a priori there is no reason to believe that lighting, music, layout and employees would be correlated with one another and that they would be driven by store environment, a second-order factor. Rather, it makes much more conceptual sense to think of the perception of store environment being influenced by perceptions of lighting, music, layout and employees' assistance. This is also consistent with [30] who advocates using a formative model under such conditions.

Since this study uses the predictor and criterion variables from the same source in a single survey, we took several precautions to minimize the impact of common method variance (CMV). Specifically, we did not collect any personal information from the participants to reduce socially desirable responding and evaluation apprehension by ensuring the anonymity of the responses. The survey items for both independent and dependent variables were shuffled. Using the above procedural remedies helped us minimize CMV in this study.

The correlation matrix indicated that there are significant positive relationships between shopping enjoyment tendency and both of excitement and esteem but not with impulsiveness. This gives partial support for H1. In addition, there are significant positive relationships between impulse buying tendency and both of impulsiveness and excitement but not with esteem. This gives partial support for H2. Furthermore, there are significant positive relationships between impulse buying behavior and impulsiveness excitement and esteem, which support H3.

Likewise, it can be noticed that there are significant positive relationships between shopping enjoyment tendency and all shop environment factors, which supports H4. While two factors only, namely, music and layout, were positively correlated with impulse buying tendency and impulse buying behavior. This gives partial support for H5 and H6 respectively. Furthermore, both of impulse buying tendency and shop enjoyment tendency were positively correlated with impulse buying behavior, which support both of H7 and H9 respectively.

To test the mediating effects of both of shop enjoyment tendency and impulse tendency for the relationships between personality factors, store environments factors and impulse buying behavior, two composite scores for standardized personality factors and standardized shop environmental factors were calculated. Table 2 summarize the results of hierarchical regression analyses that were conducted to investigate such mediating effects.

Table 2. Hierarchial regression analysis to test the mediating effects of shop enjoyment tendency and impulse tendency

It can be shown from the previous analysis that impulse tendency fully mediate, since the regression coefficients lost their significance, the relationships between personality factors, shop enjoyment factors and impulse buying behavior. These results support H8. In addition, while shop enjoyment tendency fully mediate the relationship between store environment factors and impulse buying behavior, it does not mediate the relationship between personality factors and impulse buying behavior, which gives partial support for H10.

Moreover, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) technique was used to fit the collected data to the conceptual model. The fitted model has a good fit indices with all the fit-indices better than the recommended cut-off values (χ2/df = 1.339; RMSEA = .026; CFI =.989; NFI =.958; GFI = .986; AGFI = .971).

The SEM analysis adds more support to the previous correlation and regression analyses as summarized in Table 3.

Table 3. Path coefficients and significances

5. Discussion and Conclusions

Impulse buying is a pervasive behavior and an important aspect of consumer behavior. Our research has achieved a certain success in examining this behavior and factors influencing it in the context of mega stores working in Egypt. The findings may be important from a theoretical perspective, because they contribute to a better understanding of impulse buying behavior in a new cultural context of a developing country. An overarching theme of this research is to gain a better understanding of the simultaneous effects of different factors in the store environment and consumers’ personalities on their tendencies (shop enjoyment and impulse buying) and subsequent impulse buying behaviors. The study offers two important contributions to research on impulse buying behavior. Firstly, this study integrates relevant store-environment factors and personality factors into a holistic model. This model accounts for the relationships between in-store factors and personality variables and contributes to an understanding of how they affect customer behavior. Secondly, an examination of the mediating effect of personal tendencies suggests that store environment and personality factors cannot affect the customer outcomes directly without the personal tendencies of the customers. Extant literature largely examines personality factors and store-environment factors separately. Importantly, this study provides insights into how these two sets of factors influence downstream variables separately and jointly, offering new insights to both researchers and practitioners.

Overall, the results of the study show that two personality factors (excitement and esteem) and four store-environmental factors (music, light, employee assistance and layout) were significantly correlated with shop enjoyment tendency. Consistent with the extant literature, the present study found that consumers exhibiting higher enjoyment tendency were likely to appreciate the positive hedonic aspects of pop-up retail, including the excitement of the experience and positive feelings of high self-esteem associated with shopping experience. This finding supports past research; consumer shopping enjoyment is related to the desire for new and unique experiences as well as novelty seeking [21, 57, 59]. Reference [23] emphasized that consumers with high levels of shop enjoyment tendencies should be the target of marketing efforts, as they are typically less price sensitive, and more likely to be heavy product users. This focus on consumers with such tendencies appears to be sound advice for experiential marketing efforts, such as pop-up retail. Consumers exhibiting higher shopping enjoyment showed a more positive attitude toward impulse buying behavior considering it to be good, appealing, interesting, and pleasant. Since there is a positive relationship between pleasant shopping environment and consumer’s emotional experience (enjoyment), marketers and retailers may be wise to ensure that pop-up retail should design the store environment in a way that emotionally engages the customer to such environment in a positive way.

In addition, the results of the study show that two personality factors (impulsivity and excitement) and only two store-environmental factors (music and layout) were significantly correlated with impulse buying tendency. Consistent with the extant literature, the present study found that consumers who lack control and who seek excitement and arousing experiences will demonstrate high levels of impulse buying tendencies. However, the current results did not support [46] results concerning the role of employee assistance in predicting impulse buying tendency. They suggested that Shoppers who develop positive social interactions with salespeople develop higher levels of impulse buying tendencies and therefore may purchase more products on impulse.

Furthermore, the results of the study show that three personality factors (impulsivity, excitement and esteem) and two store-environmental factors (music and layout) and two personal tendencies (shop enjoyment and impulse buying) were significantly correlated with impulse buying behaviors.

Such results extend [5]’s work by showing that store environment influences not only personal tendencies but also impulse buying behavior. Moreover, extant literature shows the long term effects of store environment such as store choice [16], whereas this research shows that it has immediate and spontaneous behavior on immediate and spontaneous effects such as impulsive buying. It also adds to the findings of [20], [54] by showing that store environment affects not just unplanned purchasing (which may be due to more in-store searching or developing an affect-based liking to a product), but pure impulse buying as well, which is a result of spontaneous impulsive urges.

The current study also clarifies the mediating role of impulse buying tendency and shop enjoyment tendency. More specifically, impulse buying tendency appeared to fully mediate the relationships between personality factors, shop enjoyment factors and impulse buying behavior. While shop enjoyment tendency appeared to fully mediate the relationship between store environment factors and impulse buying behavior, but did not mediate the relationship between personality factors and impulse buying behavior. These results support [44]’s arguments that personal tendencies and emotions play a vital mediating role in an experiential retail setting. An appealing store environment along with arousal-seeking personality can create high level of impulse buying tendency which may results in actual impulse buying behaviors. On the other hand, shop enjoyment tendency appears to be affected only by the store environment factors that enhance the probability of impulse buying behavior.

In conclusion, the current study suggests that consumers buy products for a variety of non-economic reasons, such as fun, esteem, and social or emotional gratification. Since these benefits are normally not included in calculations of consumer utility, previous researchers conclude that impulse buying violates assumptions of profit maximization and is irrational. Once hedonic components are added to the equation, impulse buying can be viewed as a valued pastime rather than just a means of acquiring goods.

5.1. Management and Consumer Implications

The managerial implications of this analysis should be fairly obvious. If retailers wish to promote impulse buying, they should create an environment where consumers can be relieved of their negative perceptions of impulse. Retailers may stress the relative rationality of impulse buying in their advertising efforts. Similarly, they may stress the non-economic rewards of impulse buying.

Additionally, retailers could use basic methods such as creating an attractive shopping environment to get more attention and visits from shoppers and enhancing salespeople's roles in providing shoppers with immediate, anticipated gratification through their "courtesy," "respect," "helpfulness," and "charm" [27, 51].

Importantly, our model also offers options for consumers to control their buying impulses, if they choose to, or feel better about their impulse buying, by relieving their negative evaluations of impulse. Consumers should recognize that heuristics and impulse are not bad, but implicitly involve a trade-off between rapid, hedonically satisfying purchases and less affective, but more thoughtful planned purchases. Once consumers recognize that products are more than commodities and that they are buying to please their hedonistic desires as well as their physical desires, they will feel more comfortable with the impulse buying decision.

Consumers should be more aware of retailers' efforts to manipulate their moods to influence their buying decisions. Moreover, they can reduce enablers by only shopping when they need specific purchases and only carrying enough cash or credit for necessary purchases [27].

5.2. Limitations

While our research has valuable contributions, it also has some limitations that warrant consideration. One of the major constraints is the use of a non-probability convenience sampling design and sample size, which limits to the generalization of findings and imposes caution in drawing conclusions. Moreover, as impulse buying is an extremely complex phenomenon, the results would benefit from the comparison of different products and buying environments.

Although our analysis covers some important external and internal factors that affect impulse buying behavior, we believe that the study would definitively benefit from the introduction of other factors, which were not addressed in this study. We strongly believe that impulse buying behavior is affected by many different variables, it is virtually impossible to address them all in one study.

Moreover, this analysis does not attempt to explain all impulse buying behavior. For instance, children probably have an entirely different set of variables that motivate their buying impulses. Similarly, impulses experienced while shopping with a purchase pal probably involve additional social variables. In addition, considering the widening gap between urban and rural areas in Egypt, it would also be useful to examine the difference in impulse buying behavior between urban and rural areas. When the conditions for impulse buying behaviors are improved in rural areas (e.g., certain level of income, shopping infrastructure), it would be meaningful to examine the impulse buying behavior between these markets.

In addition, we used a survey design with elements of store environment as situational variables. Future research may use experimental design to manipulate various environmental cues and study their impact on real impulse buying behavior, and study the impact of other situational variables on impulse buying such as in-store browsing and type of shopping trip. Moreover, we did not consider the aesthetics and appearance of a store, and the role of in-store promotions, which may also affect impulse buying.

The limitations of this study will inevitably serve as guidelines for the implementation of improvements to be made and can be seen as challenges for further investigations. Thus, would be interesting to expand the scope of the study including other products and a more heterogeneous sample; nevertheless, this study represents a good starting point for further debate and scientific investigation on impulsive buying behavior. We believe it is crucial to both theory and practice to receive more research investigating consumer behavior in general and impulse buying in particular in the context of developing countries that have, to date, attracted only modest attention.


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