Shopping has become an integral part of modern life and it is very hard to imagine life without shopping. The very purpose of shopping to purchase the items one wishes to have. However, with the arrival of shopping malls, the other factors like the preference of others and the charm of the malls are exercising tremendous influence on individual decisions. In short, personal needs and choices are molded and reshaped by the forces in the market.
In the excellent essay on Shopping Towns USA, Victor Gruen and Larry Smith have traced the origin of the shopping malls and how they have begun influencing the shopping habits of people. . “Buying and selling is as old as mankind.”(273). In the past buying things was in the form of bartering system. Even in those times, the bartering of different things took place when people in large numbers met at one place. It has undergone tremendous change over the course of the history. The act of buying the necessary things has always been there since the ancient days.
A shop on the roadside can also serve the purpose of selling things that are required by people. However, the problems of parking and busy roads have made it necessary to have shopping malls at a distant place where parking can be provided for the people who want to visit the mall. As a result, the modern shopping malls have become increasingly popular day by day. As the shopping malls are located at a distant place, they began to attract people with other features and facilities making the mall literally a place for entertainment and relaxation as well. It is natural that one gets influenced by others at these places.
Several factors influence the decision of a buyer. The quality, price, durability in the case of non-consumables, packaging and novelty are some of the major factors that influence the decision of a buyer. The price consciousness is one of the strongest influences on the buyers’ decision. Any buyer would naturally prefer a better product for a cheaper price. However, when a buyer enters the shopping mall, his decision to be prudent is immediately lost by the ambience of the shopping malls. The ambience and the richness of the place do have their impact on the people who enter the premises. The modern shopping malls are built on the principle of attracting more number of customers. Attraction and excitement go hand in hand. Many of the malls today generate a sense of excitement to attract customers. In the wild world of excitement the buyer who is price conscious is lost amid a variety of products that dominate his sense of frugality and make him spend more than he has planned initially.
Another major important factor that influences the decision of a buyer is his quality consciousness. The better the quality, the more satisfaction he will have. In the perpetual attempt for providing the best quality products the different brands compete with one another to the advantage of the customers. However, it is not always the customer who benefits out of the race for better quality. It is the brand image that frequently influences most of the people. Shopping malls are the best places for the branded products to attract potential customers. The ever aspiring man to reach a higher level social level and to lead quality life, he is easily tempted to buy things which are beyond the reach of his purchasing power.
The sheer variety of products that are available at the shopping malls is another major factor that spoils the original decision of the buyer. The shopping malls place a variety of brands and buying options in different packages before the customers. The sheer variety tempts the buyers beyond any control. Many of the times it happens that the buyer gets to discover new brands and items at the shopping malls only. The temptation to go for a newer brand successfully alters the decisions of the customers.