VOL: 9 NO: 2  107-120  2012-2


Visual evaluation of the store environments: A comparative study on intercultural differences



Ervin GARÝP*, Alper ÜNLÜ**

* Istanbul Kultur University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Ýstanbul, TURKEY
** Istanbul Technical University, Faculty Architecture, Ýstanbul, TURKEY



Received: July 2011             Final Acceptance: September 2012






Today, the phenomenon of globalization plays an important role on the formation of interior spaces all over the world. Many designs ignore intercultural differences in general, pioneer the forming of similar interior designs in different places throughout the globe associated with globalization and standardization. Contemporary understanding of merchandising also displayed a similar tendency, similar physical environments manifested themselves. In the last two decades, researchers in “Environment and Behavior” field have increasingly shown an interest in the effects of the physical environment on shopping behavior. Besides, various studies on the store environments demonstrate that spatial organization and physical layout are important in the understanding of merchandising. The sudy presented in this paper aims to put forth the descriptive characteristics of different store layouts and tries to compare the visual preferences of the shoppers. 100 participants were selected from different countries that have different cultural characteristics; from NC State University (USA) and Istanbul Kultur University (Turkey). Additionally, in the scope of this study, it is suggested that different descriptive words can be used to categorize different store layouts. “Causal Comparative Case Study Methodology” was used in order to determine the similarities and differences in the evaluation of the participants and to compare the environmental characteristics of different layouts in the selected electronics stores. Photographs were used to simulate selected shopping environments, and nine descriptive adjectives were chosen to find out the perceptive characteristics of the settings. Data was collected through a questionnaire; statisticaly analysed by means of semantic differential scales and T tests. In contrast with the hypothesis that the intercultural differences should be effectiveon the evaluation of the store settings and the shopping behavior; the results showed clearly that both groups had similar visual preferences. Nevertheless, the participants gave different responses on choosing the settings as “like” or “dislike”.


Keywords: Store environments, store layouts, environmental perception, visual preference, culture.


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