With the progress of Taiwan’s economic development, the diversity of the business pattern and the change of consumers’ habits were different in past years. The traditional retail stores were confronted with the strong competitions of the large chain stores and the shopping centers. The traditional retail stores had to combine all together in order to raise the competition. Then it gradually formed the commercial districts (Lin, 2009). The commercial district was a term which has the same meaning as the shopping district or trading area. According to Dawson and Lord, in their published book: Shopping Centre Development (RLE Retailing and Distribution) (2012), they defined the shopping district as “a concentration of shops and other commercial establishment each in individual ownership and on individual sits. One or more shopping centres may be embedded in a shopping district, or the shopping centre may be freestanding (pp. 3-4).”
During the past seventeen years, the government had made a great effort for developing about a total of one hundred one commercial districts in Taiwan. In 1995, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Department of Commerce promoted three projects in order to make more business opportunities for the shopping districts, the first was the contribution of the image commercial district; the second was the development of commercial districts and the third was the visual design of the business areas. These projects were related to the reconstruction of traditional commercial regions. In view of the transformation of the business activities, the government also promoted the helpful project began from the image commercial district, shopping street, the charming commercial district and the commercial district of Taiwanese brand (Ministry of Economic Affairs, 1995).
Moreover, according to the Industrial Development Advisory Council (2012), they mentioned that Taiwan had beautiful landscape, delicious food and people with virtue were key factors for the blooming of Taiwan’s tourism. The commercial districts were a good platform which combined with scenery, food and kindly service. In the future, how to emphasize on the characteristics in the commercial district and how to attract people in order to expand the value of the commercial district were the develop points. The government was active toward the constructions of Taiwan’s commercial districts. Such research about investigate the commercial district was very important.
The commercial district is the main business activity in the city. It is also important for cities that the development of the commercial district will bring great economic benefit. Also shopping is a key point for spurring economic growth. Moreover, for urban residents or foreign tourists, shopping or doing entertainments in the commercial district are the necessary activities. According to a study from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in 2011, they investigate what are favorite activities for foreign visitors when they come to Taiwan. The result shows that approximately 82 percent love shopping in Taiwan. See Table 1 :
Table 1 2011 Rank of Tourist Attend Activities in Taiwan
Unit: a person visit per-time / every one hundred time
Source: Tourism Bureau
Recently, due to the rapid economic development and the execution of the two-day-off per week policy, people want to have better life quality and they have more requirements of consumption. In order to satisfy the requirements of consumers, the practitioners will regard the consumer behavior and the consumers’ preference as the main points when they decide the marketing strategy of products. According to Dai, in his published book: Marketing Planning (2005), he indicated that “the marketing research is an important reference for enterprise when they making the marketing decisions. Consumer behavior is one of marketing researches and it included location, time, way, and the effect factor (pp.121~123).” Besides, the relationship of the consumer and the practitioners extend to the consumer behavior in the commercial district. According to Engel, Blackwell and Miniard (1990) give a clear definition of consumer behavior as “those activities include the previous decisive procedure and follow actions which are acquiring, consuming and arranging of products and services (p.4).”
There are many researches about the commercial district that scope from management, marketing, reconstruction, consumers, Pedestrian space and environment. Hsieh (2012) published a case study about the key success factors of the management in the Image Business District of Temple in Keelung; Chung (2010) discussed about the marketing improve the development of Shinshou Commercial District; Hsiao’s (2009) research about renewal and reconstruction of Tianmu Business Area; Lin’s (2009) study on Consumers’ Preferences for Hung Ching Pao Business District; Hou’s (2012) study on the renewal of urban commercial streetscape in Kaohsiung Wu Fu commercial district. Some literatures are related with this research: Tsai (2003) wrote about the consumer behavior and the Strategy management of Shinkuchan commercial district; Hsu (2002) interpreted the meanings of Youth Consumption Space in the Shinkuchan commercial district; Chen (2007) takes Sanduo station of KRTC for example to discuss the exploration of the Routing Model for Underground Space. After researching deeply, there are little researches studies about the consumer behavior in the commercial district. Especially there is rare research about the Sanduo commercial district. In view of the government has placed great importance on the commercial district. Consequently, this research chooses to investigate two main commercial districts in Kaohsiung - Shinkuchan and Sanduo.
This full dissertation is most conducted by these theoretical frameworks: First, the definition of the commercial district. Second, the definition of consumer behavior. Third, the theoretical framework about a consumers' behavioral which is Engel, Blackwell and Miniard (EMB modal). EMB modal refer to the decision-making process when consumer do consumption. This model widely applied in many research when researchers investigate the consumer behavior. According to Engel, Blackwell and Miniard (1997), they pointed out this model covers five basic stages in the decision-making process: (i) need recognition, (ii) search for information, (iii) pre-purchase alternative evaluation, (iv) purchase, and (v) consumption and post-consumption evaluation. According to Lake (2009) also mention the consumer behavior happened “when an individual realizes that he has a need, psychological process starts the consumer decision process."
All consumers from Shinkuchan and the Sanduo commercial districts are the targets sample in this research. The methodology is adopted by self-designed questionnaire. This questionnaire is divided into three different sections which are the demographic profile, consumer behavior, consumers’ attitude and consumers’ preference. The demographic profile is aimed to investigate the participants’ basic information. (E.g. age, gender, occupation, income) The criteria of consumer behavior are included consumer’s shopping habits, motivation, source of information and so on. The consumers’ attitude and preference contains about consumer’s emotion, recognition, or preference toward service or products between these two commercial districts. The distribution quantity is about the total of two hundred questionnaires which are distributed half for Shinkuchan and another half for Sanduo. The distribution location in Shinkuchan commercial district is in front of the Oscar Cinema. But in Sanduo commercial district, the distribution location is in front of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store. The distribution day is during January 14th, 2013 to February 8th, 2013. The appropriate time is during rush hours or weekends to distribute questionnaires respectively. After collecting questionnaires, this research applied some statistic system to analyze the data. For example, T-test descriptive statistics or ANOVA statistics and so on.
Such a study has two main purposes. First, it can offer the reference material to these two commercial districts’ practitioners or organizers. They can understand consumers’ information, their shopping habits and their preference of service or products. Then the managers of Sanduo/Shinkuchan commercial district can readjusted or plain their marketing strategy and organization. Because of these, the managers can provide the more ideal service and consumer will be satisfy and intends to revisit. Second, this study can help the government when they form the policy or create the projects of promoting the commercial district. In view of good strategies, the government also can contribute the brand of the commercial district and strengthen the characteristics of the commercial district. Through these benefits, they will expand the popularity of consumers, increase the operating revenue and improve Kaohsiung’s tourism.
Because there are many clothes store or food stand in the Shinkuchan commercial district. Many students love buying clothes over there or buy some unique dessert to eat. The research hypothesis is the Shinkuchan commercial district may have much more student consumers than the Sanduo commercial district. However, there are a lot of department stores located in the Sanduo commercial district. The department store has higher consumption level and office worker have steadily income can burden it; they may often shop at the department stores. So the Sanduo commercial district may have much more office worker consumers than the Shinkuchan commercial district.
The balance of this paper is arranged as follows. The next section provides the historical background and transition of commercial districts in Taiwan. This research is conduct by some literature review about commercial district, consumer behavior and the theoretical framework of consumer behavioral model. Next part is followed by the questionnaire of methodology which is base on the theoretical framework.
Finally, this research provides data analysis, author’s interpretation, limitations and concluding remarks.
The name of Shinkuchan was originally from the Juejiang commercial district in Kaohsiung Yamcheng District. In the past years, because of the geographical advantage that the Yamcheng District was near the Port of Kaohsiung, Juejiang commercial district began to be famous for importing foreign goods. It was very prosperous at that time. But due to the new construction of the second Kaohsiung Port and the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone, the commerce structure tended to develop in southern. Moreover, the department store had risen up, so the Juejiang commercial district had gradually fallen into decay. However, in 1988, the practitioner of Shinkuchan took “Old Juejiang” shopping area as a good lesson; Shinkuchan commercial district was started by a new innovative management instead of establishing the traditional way of management. The scope of Shinkuchan commercial district was from Wufu 2nd Road and Zhongshan 1st Road on Xinxing District in Kaohsiung City. It was also near the Datong Department Store, the Mercuries Department Store, and the Oscar Cinema. The content of commodity focused on the young consumer groups as market position, including trendy clothes, jewelry, watches, cosmetics, and beauty salons. There were also many café stores, American and Japanese fast-food restaurants, and all types of vendors to provide for their consumers. The Shinkuchan commercial district was Kaohsiung's biggest shopping destination and had become a shopping paradise for southern Taiwan people (Travel Information, Tourism Bureau & Kaohsiung Website).
Howerver, the background of the Sanduo commercial district is different from the Shinkuchan commercial district. Kaohsiung Sanduo commercial district developed in the late 1990s and it was adjacent to the Sanduo and Zhongshan Road traffic circles. There were many department stores and movie theaters located here include the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store, SOGO, Mega'21 Far Eastern Shopping Complex, Vieshow Cinemas and Sanduo Cinemas. The Sanduo commercial district was also surrounded by many small stores, including Japanese merchandise retailers Poya and A+1, a number of clothing boutiques, restaurants, and other shops selling cosmetics, handbags, and daily goods. In the planning of Kaohsiung city government, the Sanduo commercial district was connected with the 85-floor Tuntex Sky Tower and Kaohsiung Multi-functional Commerce and Trade Area. Moreover, Kaohsiung MRT had already set up the station here. In recent years, owing to the Sanduo commercial district had convenient transportation, the diversity of shopping quality and the international of tourism, so it had many developable potential and had gained popularity as a top shopping destination in Kaohsiung (Travel Information, Kaohsiung Website & Tourism Bureau).
The purpose of this research is to investigate the consumer's behavior, attitude and preference in the Kaohsiung's Sanduo and Shinkuchan commercial districts. On the basis of this purpose, the literature review covers five major themes which are commercial district, consumer behavior, consumer attitude, and consumer preference. First section indicates the definition of commercial district and the second section proposes to define the consumer behavior. In the third section, this research is most conducted by one of consumer behavioral model which is Engel, Miniard and Blackwell model (EMB model). Also this research applied the EMBmodel to interpret the decision procedure when a consumer in the purchase behavior.
The first section discusses and defines the commercial district. The basic concept of commercial district means that a retailer’s effective range. There are two ways to define the commercial district. The first subjective definition refers to a circle that retailers attract customers (trade area). The second objective definition refers to a lot of same types or different types of businesses are gathered to attract consumers do specific consumption (commercial district) (Sen & Chu 2007 in Wang, 2010, p.20). Moreover, some researchers also mention that trade area refers to consumers from a retailer come to a certain geographical area, but commercial district refers to consumers will go shopping in a geographical area which is a collection of business(Chou & Tu, 2002, pp109-110). In order to give the definition, this research discusses some literatures about “trade area” and “commercial district” in the following context,
The American Marketing Association (AMA) (1988) defines trading area as “a district the size of which is usually determined by the boundaries within which it is economical in terms of volume and cost for a marketing unit or group to sell and/or deliver products. It is also referred to as shopping radius.” Another definition is also given by Huff; he defines the trading area as” a geographically delineated region, containing potential customers for whom there exists a probability greater than zero of their purchasing a given class of products or services offered for sale by a particular firm or by a particular agglomeration of firms" (1964:38 in Maclaran, 2010, p.37). In other words, a trading area stands for a store can generate profit in a specific geographic area.
However, the definition of the commercial district is different from the definition of trade area. Both business district and shopping district are other synonyms of commercial district, Dawson and Lord (2012) define “the shopping district which is a concentration of shops and other commercial establishment each in individual ownership and on individual sits. One or more shopping centres may be embedded in a shopping district, or the shopping centre may be freestanding” (pp. 3-4). Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, they consider the commercial district is composed of a variety of retail industry, wholesale industry, service industry and other industries. Because of business planning, these industries cluster closely in a particular area (2000, Renewal and Reconstruction of Commercial District Project). To summarize, commercial district is a geographical region which stores are collected around here and consumers come from different places to do consumption. From the above definition of “commercial district” and “trading area”, the only difference is that trade area is in aspect of a retailer but the commercial district is base on the consumers’ viewpoint. This study is from the respect of consumers to investigate consumers, so commercial district is more appropriate applied in this study.
The second section is to define the consumer behavior. In past studies, many researchers have been proposed to explain what consumer behavior is. Engel, Blackwell and Miniard (1990) regard the consumer behavior as “those activities directly involved in obtaining, consuming, and disposing of products and services, including the decision processes that precede and follow these actions (p.4).” Loudon and Della Bitta (1992) define the consumer behavior is “the decision process and physical activity individuals engage in when evaluating, acquiring, using, or disposing of goods and services." Kardes(1999) consider as “the study of human response to products, service, and the marketing of products and services." Lake (2009) interpret the “consumer behavior represents the study of individuals and the activities that take place to satisfy their realized needs. That satisfaction comes from the processes used in selecting, securing, and using products or services when the benefits received from those processes meet or exceed consumers' expectations. In other words, when an individual realizes that he has a need, psychological process starts the consumer decision process." There were a lot of researchers had already discussed the consumer behavior from different aspects and they had varied definitions. But the common concept indicated that the consumer behavior was a kind of consumption choice procedure which started from the mind, thinking and action; people would accomplish it via choosing, buying or receiving service. With these ways and behaviors, people could achieve their anticipations.
In the third section of this paper, one consumers' behavioral model form the foundation of the study, it is named the Engel, Kollat and Blackwell model (1984). According to Engel, Blackwell and Miniard, in their published book: Consumer Behavior (1997), they mention the EKB model covers four parts which are input, information process, decision process and decision process variables. Among these parts, decision process is the core of the consumer behavior and this research apply this theory adequately. The decision-making process contains about six stages including need recognition, search for information, pre-purchase alternative evaluation, purchase, consumption and post-consumption evaluation. These stages are summarized in the Figure 1 below:
Figure 1 The Decision Process Stages of the EKB Model
(Source: Engel, Blackwell and Miniard,1997, p.134)
The consumption process starts from the need recognition. It means that when the consumer perceives the gap between the desired state and the actual state, then this consumer will form the need recognition. Two main factors of the need recognition are the internal stimuli and the external stimuli. The internal stimuli refer to the psychological or physical requirement from the consumer, but the advertisement information as the example for external stimuli (Li, 2006, pp22~23). In this research, the reasons why consumer comes to a commercial district is the internal stimuli and how does this consumer know the Shinkuchan or the Sanduo commercial district is the external stimuli.
The second stage is searching for information. When the consumer confirms the need recognition, this consumer will search information to evaluate which kinds of product can satisfy his or hers requirements. At first, the consumer begins to search the knowledge from the memory. Consequently, if a consumer has some good experiences toward a particular product, these good experiences can persuade this consumer repurchase. If the knowledge cannot offer sufficient information, then this consumer will turn to search the information from the external environment (E.g. mass media, friend, and other reference). These two ways of searching information, the former is called the internal search and the latter is called the external search (Chen, 2007, p.2-2). This research investigates the consumers whether have ever come to this commercial district before is the steps of search for information.
The third stage is pre-purchase alternative evaluation. After searching enough related information, the consumer starts to evaluate every possible choice. Alternative evaluation covers four parts. The first one is the evaluation criteria, it is the "the standards and specifications by consumers to compare different products and brands" (Engel et al.1997). The choices of the evaluation criteria are also influenced by individual's needs, values, motivations, lifestyles and so on. The second one is the belief, it is a consciousness that connects the product to the evaluation criteria, such as the sample of the product will influence the formation or change the consumer's belief. The third one is attitude, it represents that the consumer's reaction of like or dislike toward the evaluated choice. The final one is the intention which stands for the subjective percentage for the consumer chooses a particular product or brand. The intention is also influenced by reference group or family norms and so on (Li, 2006, p.23). In this research, to evaluate the consumer’s attitude toward the service of stores, services, products and environment are applied the stage of pre-purchase alternative evaluation.
The fourth stage is purchase, when the consumer evaluates each possible choices, he or she will choose the most workable choice and do purchase action which offer the solution to his or hers requirements. The consumer may also form the purchase intention which means the consumer tends to purchase the preference brand. However, the purchase intention, other people's attitude and the differences of individual may change, postpone or cancel the purchase decisions. Besides, when the consumer's attitude is more positive, then he or she raises the purchase intention, but it is also influenced by some unpredictable factors, for example, income changes or home environment. Moreover, the process of the determined purchase intention is influenced by the brand, supplier, quantity, time and the payment methods (Lu & Ho, 2006, p.32; Li, 2006, p.23). In this research, the consumer’s preference of stores or product, the frequency of shopping, and the payment methods are the stages of purchase.
The consumption and the post-consumption evaluation are regarded as the final stage. After the consumer purchases and uses a certain kind of product, it may happen two kinds of situations which are satisfaction and dissonance. Satisfaction means that if the consumer's initial belief is correspond with the determined choice. Then the consumer will feel satisfied and remember this consumption behavior into memory. In this way, it increases the repurchase chances for the consumer. On the contrary, when the consumer feels dissatisfied after the consumption, it forms the dissonance. At this moment, the consumer will turn back to search for information. Its purpose is in order to find the most satisfied decision; otherwise, the consumer may decline the repurchase possibilities (Chen, 2007, p.2-3).
To summarize this section, this research applies the theoretical framework of decision-making process from the EMB model. Moreover, according to these theories, this research designs the questionnaires about the consumer behavior, consumer attitude and preference.
In this section, the methodology applied to this research was described and the geographical region where this research was conducted also be mentioned in this section. Participants of this research, the study design and the sample questionnaire were expatiated in context.
The quantitative design was selected for this full dissertation. According to Huysamen (1994), he defined the quantitative research as “descriptions of quantitative research typically discern a cycle of successive phrase of hypothesis formulation, data collection, analysis and interpretation.” He also mentioned that the quantitative research was a deductive approach, it established facts, made predictions, and test hypotheses that had already been stated. Also, for the aspect of marketing, the quantitative research was most useful in gathering measurable information that could be track over time (Huysamen, 1994 in Nykiel, 2007, p.55). In this quantitative research, the data collection used the questionnaire as the method. McNabb (2010) indicated that the questionnaire could generate responses to specific questions, including questions about attitude, opinions, motivations, knowledge, demographics, and many more categories of data. He also pointed out “the questionnaire was the most popular way to gather primary data. It had been estimated that questionnaires were used in 85 percent or more of all quantitative research projects. They are particularly appropriate when the research problem calls for a descriptive design” (p.109).
This research was conducted at the Sanduo and the Shinkuchan commercial districts in Kaohsiung. All consumers from these two commercial districts were the targets of participants. However, not every consumer was willing to fill in the questionnaire because of their personal reasons. Consequently, there only valid subjects were collected through self-administered questionnaires distributed personally to the participants by the researcher. Because of the limitations of time and money, the random sample was adopted by distributing the questionnaires.
The amount of questionnaires was about the total of two hundred questionnaires which were half for Shinkuchan and another half for Sanduo. In the Shinkuchan commercial district, the researcher stood in front of the Oscar Cinema to distribute. But in Sanduo commercial district questionnaires, the researcher stood in front of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store to distribute questionnaires. Time of distributing the questionnaires was during January 14th, 2013 to February 8th, 2013 and the period of rush hours or weekends was appropriate to select. The questionnaires were distributed respectively in these two commercial districts.
This self-designed questionnaire was based on the criteria of consumer behavior by the researcher. This questionnaire was divided into three different sections which are the demographic profile, consumer behavior, consumers’ attitude and preference. First part of the demographic profile, the information was contained about consumer’s age, sexual distinction, marital status, residence, occupation, revenue and so on. Second part was the consumer behavior which included consumer’s shopping habits and consumer’s motivation, the companion and source of information etc. Final part was the consumers’ attitude and preference. Attitude was referred to consumer’s emotion toward the commercial district, service, products or the environment. The consumers’ preference was to compare consumers’ preference of stores or products in these two commercial districts.
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Appendix 1: Consent/Cover Letter
Sample Survey Cover letter
My name is Jenny (Ming-Jen Chang) and I am a college student at Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages. For my research paper in Research Writing course, I am examining consumers' behavior, attitude and preference in Kaohsiung’s the Shinkuchan/ the Sanduo commercial districts. Because you are the consumer of this Shinkuchan/Sanduo commercial district, I am inviting you to participate in this research study by completing the attached survey.
The following questionnaire will require approximately 15 minutes to complete. There is no compensation for responding nor is there any known risk. In order to ensure that all information will remain confidential, please do not include your name. Copies of the project will be provided to my Research Writing instructor. If you choose to participate in this study, please fill all blanks of each section in this questionnaire as honestly as possible and return the completed questionnaires to me promptly. Participation is strictly voluntary and you may refuse to participate at any time.
Thank you for taking the time to assist me in my educational endeavors. The data collected will provide useful information for me to analyze this Shinkuchan/ Sanduo commercial districts. If you would like a summary copy of this study please do not hesitate to contact me. Completion and return of the questionnaire will indicate your willingness to participate in this study. If you require additional information or have questions, please contact me at the number listed below.
If you are not satisfied with the manner in which this study is being conducted, you may report (anonymously if you so choose) any complaints to The English Department, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages, 高雄市三民區民族一路900號, TEL：+886-7-342-6031; FAX：+886-7-342-7942.