Store Image Attributes and Customer Satisfaction of Convenience Store and Implications on Retail Innovation: The Malaysian Shopper Experience

Boon Chui Teo, Khairun Najwa Bt Ahmad Rathi, Siti Nor Syahirah Bt Mohd Saidi
Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA


New technology ideas have continued to change the retail industry landscape spurring innovation across the convenience store industry. Convenience stores (C-stores) are now considered as the fastest-growing retail vertically. Retailers are increasingly challenging the notion that c-stores should not be just mere pit stops. Modern c-stores are becoming convenience destinations. Recent developments witness new C-store chains popping up in Malaysia such as KK Mart, Happy Mart, Orange Mart, Family Mart and Irispay to compete along with conventional ones such as 7-Eleven and those stores subsumed with a petrol station. New C-stores have features beyond standard convenience offerings with digital technology to capture customer attention and drive store traffic. New players are expanding its brick-and-mortar presence, just like how Amazon shook up the C-store sector in 2017 with new checkout-free, ultra-convenient shopping experience. In the wake of this new retail innovation, how will other C-store retailers position themselves one step ahead of the game? This paper examines store image attributes influencing customer satisfaction of C-stores amongst the conventional one. These stores are considered as plain, outdated and at the boredom stage of its business lifecycle. C-stores may need to deliver a new experience that today’s digital consumers are looking for. The methodology utilized a survey questionnaire approach on 255 shoppers together with store observation and personal interview at a C-store franchise chain. Findings found personnel, pricing, merchandising and product assortment as predictors of customer satisfaction of C-stores. Findings had managerial implications for C-store retailers focusing on what innovations in-store image attributes can impact competition. Knowing how quick consumers are embracing technological advances in this C-store sector is imperative to stay ahead in this game.

Keywords: Convenience store, Customer satisfaction, Pricing, Personnel, Product assortment, Store image, Merchandising