Comparing with other H&M stores, it only attracts a small number of customers. As a result, our group made a research about the shop in order to discover the problems and provide meaningful suggestions. Based on the group member’s real introspection about the shop and the servicescape which enabled us to have general beliefs, feelings, and behavioral intentions toward the store (Elisabeth 2011), our group analyzed the problem of H&M through three aspects, vision, odor and auditory sense.
In order to draw more customers’ attention, we concluded several alternative choices that can be adopted to redesign the shop’s physical evidence. However, on account of the fact that only four introspections obtained, this research has several limitations. In the further study, researchers can interview more customers to acquire more reliable advices. The Introduction H&M Hennes & Mauritz is Sweden multinational company which is involved in the design, production and retail of fashion clothes and accessories.
It had opened more 2,200 stores in 38 countries over the world until 2010 and continued to expand and open their new store in other five markets in 2011. The business concept of H&M is to offer good quality fashion products at the best price. Without owning any production lines or factories, H&M is supported by 700 supplies in 300 countries, and most of them are in Europe and Asia. In 2010, H&M online store opened in the UK, which is one of the most significant markets. (H&M Annual Report 2010) There are two H&M stores located in Liverpool One.
The H&M Liverpool that is prepared to redesign the servicescape is on the Church Street, which is opened much earlier than the one on the Paradise Street. It is a three storeyed shop selling fashionable clothing and related accessories for women, men and kids. Compared with the H&M on the Paradise Street, its decor style seems more old- fashioned looked from the exterior and the interior layout looks sort of crowded and disordered. Therefore, the redesign and modifications of the servicescape are considered necessary.
Among a variety of factors in the auditory, visual and olfactory dimensions, music, color and scent will be the main focuses. Redesigning the auditory dimensions In terms of the musicscape, variables that may affect customer cognitive or emotional response to the service encounters in the store are the demographics of the firm’s target customer and the popularity of the music (Baron et al 2009). Oakes also found that factors regarding to the characteristics of the background music can be the type, tempo, harmony and volume (Oakes 2000).
These two main aspects need to be considered together when modifying the auditory dimensions. Music Genre The H&M 2010 Conscious Actions Sustainability Report states that their target customer is people at any age who love fashion and enjoy shopping fashionable and trendy products (H&M 2010). In this sense, it might be better if the genre of background music in the store is pop and frequently heard in most instances. For example, research has found that customers tend to stay longer and spend more money if they think the background music is in accordance with the shop style (Radocy and Boyle 1997).
The current music played in the store is basically congruent with the taste of the target customer. However, the constantly repeated melody can annoy customers who stay longer in the store. As the experience showed by our group member in the Introspection 4 (Appendices), the background music initially excited him but eventually became noise to him to some extent. In addition, North and Hargreaves also revealed that although pop music is more liked by most people, classical music can stimulate customer’s purchase intention and buy more expensive items (Oaks 2007).
Therefore, the store can adjust the music style timely according to different needs of customers. Music Tempo H&M Liverpool has been adopting the fast tempo music all the time. However, Baron et al suggest that slow tempos are more likely to create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere than fast tempo music, which make customers stay longer in the service environment and purchase more products (Baron et al 2009). For this reason, it can be worthwhile for the manager to consider changing the fast tempo music into relatively slower tempo music.
Besides, Sweeny and Wyber’s research also demonstrated that both the service quality and shopping pleasure perceived by customers can be positively influenced by slow popular and fast classical music in the retail environment (Sweeny and Wyber 2002). Music Volume The volume of the background music in H&M Liverpool is comparatively high. The findings of Oaks’s studies revealed that low volume music facilitates a longer period of stay of customers in the retail store; nevertheless, loud music can influence the shopping pace of customers to become faster.
Additionally, Stipp’s research indicated that women prefer slow and soft music than faster and louder music in contrast with men (Stipp 1990). Since female customer will normally account for the largest proportion in the total number of consumers, it is advisable to take this fact into consideration seriously. Furthermore, based our group member’s real experience, the loud background music in the store facilitated their quick leave indeed (Introspection 1).
As a result, it is recommended that H&M Liverpool can lower the music volume a bit, to avoid the noise effect perceived customers caused by the long time exposure to the high volume, and play more elegant and tasteful music. Redesigning the olfactory dimensions In terms of olfaction, although there is a voice claims that the effect of this stimulus on consumer behavior is inapparent and also has received less attention compared to other atmospheric factors (Teller and Dennis, 2011), more people argue that olfactory stimulus does influence the consumer behaviour and lead them to develop a holistic impression of the store (Ward et al, 2003).
Therefore, scent is an indispensable part of store environment which should be paid more attention and improved by H&M store. In fact, the positive effect of scent on retailing marketing has been proved and also used widely. For example, aromas are chosen in Las Vegas casinos to stimulate exciting emotion to promote larger bets. Likewise, in fashion industry, Victoria Secret lingerie store uses the smell of potpourri which can contribute to the particular identity of their products (Grewel and
Baker, 1994). However, it seems like that H&M has not realized it. Their olfaction does not help them and even creates opposite effects. According to the experience of one group member which is showed in introspection 1 (appendix), the strong bad smells caused by the accessories made of artificial leather made him feel uncomfortable and did not want to stay there any longer. In this case, the sense of smell can have strong effects on consumer responses to retail environments (Bone and Ellen, 1999).
Moreover, the bad scent can also create a negative image of products for consumers in H&M store. In order to overcome this problem, ventilation needs to function well in the store. Besides, air freshener should be used to remove those terrible smells. Additionally, H&M also can utilize odors’ strong persuasive power to achieve competitive advantages (Bone and Ellen, 1999). For instance, as Victoria Secret mentioned before, H&M could add various fragrance in their retail environment to build a better impression for consumers.
Based on the theory of Mitchell and the market positioning and product characteristic of H&M, fresh and dynamic scent congruent with the products could encourage the sales directly (Mitchell et al, 1995). Furthermore, H&M need to pay attention to keep consistency between scent and music which can leads more favorable influence (Spangenberg et al, 2005). Redesigning the visual dimensions In servicescape, color, regarded as one of the most salient determinants in atmospheric attributes, is a strong visual component in a physical setting, especially in an interior setting.
The effects of colors have been widely studied and used from physiological and psychological impacts to produce autonomic biological reaction, create certain emotional and draw attention (Bellizzi et al, 1983). In general, specific influence of color is produced varying from different circumstance. There are two main aspects, which are color and lighting, need to be considered when redesigning the visual dimensions this store. The color of the shop front The current color of the store front is white on the whole with a typical red H&M trademark as a sign, which a traditional store image of H&M.
However, since it is located on the high street of Liverpool One, the decor style of the front can make it not noticeable and attractive. As a result, the entire shop front is suggested to be modified into transparent glass so that people on the street who pass by the shop can easily see the display of the clothing in the store, and it also can be an effective way to marketing the new season products and fascinate more potential customers to come into H&M. The color of the walls
According to the characteristics of H&M’s target customer and its clothing design style, the white color of the wall in the store could be maintained since white is regarded as a basic color that can sets off the diversity and beautifulness of colors of the clothing and it is widely adopted in most retail stores as well. Moreover, depending on different type of clothing, a number of theme walls painted by distinct attractive colors can be designed to display the features and functions of the products.
For instance, when it comes to leisure wears, particular theme wall painted in light yellow with somber light irradiate on it can create a feeling of relaxed and warmness (Bateson. J &Hoffman D. , 2010). Additionally, colors such as red or orange are more suitable to be used on the background wall when exhibiting fashionable female cloths. It can strongly arouse the potential excitation or an elated mood of customers and also their perception of a high quality of the products.
(Schaie & Heiss, 1964). Concerning men’s clothing, violet combined with bright color could be appropriately applied to state the sense of coolness and dignity (Bateson. J &Hoffman D. , 2010). In this case, what need pay attention to is that the product color must be coordinated with color in walls to avoid terrible color assortment. Layout John said that in a high contact service operation, the consumer expects the facility and layout to be fashionable.
Due to this concept, we already finish doing the three previous changes which contains odor, vision, and auditory sense on H&M to construct the shop as a whole into a modern store. However, considering the significance on the convenient of consumers, we attempt to adjust the layout of fitting rooms, add more necessary signage, and rearrange the location of shelving to leave more space for customers. Firstly, it might be better if the fitting room could contain a
larger mirror, a chair, two hangers and one staff which assist consumer to try on the clothes in order. Secondly, for a shop it is essential to arrange enough signage to guide customers to find different type of products (John, 2008). Based on this circumstance, it is suggested to add several signage, such as one in the fitting room, one beside the elevator, one over the cashier desk and the others in the different shopping area to show the classification of the clothe.
Additionally, the shop can add several cloth-boards to put folded clothes in order to save space. Finally, reclassifying the cloth through size, kind, sales and season will enhance the convenience for consumers when searching clothes. Conclusions To sum up, based on the servicescape, we provided several alternative choice through odour, vision, and auditory sense of H&M’s physical evidence to draw customer’s attention.
Compared with the original shop, we recommend to enhance the function of the air conditioner to filter the air, change the colour of the wall to set off clothes and highlight the new product, play the slow tempo pop music to facilitate consumption, use the yellow, warm light to construct a harmonious atmosphere to select clothes, add several kind of signage to instruct customers finding products needed, rearrange the layout to expand the space of the shop to make the whole shop feel clean and tidy, and finally redesign the fitting room to let customers feel more comfortable when they try on clothes.
Because these changes integrate both introspection of our group member and the theory of the servicescape, we wish that H&M can accept the plan and redesign the physical evidence of the shop to draw customer’s attention, increase sales and build a newly improved brand image. Recommendation On account of H&M’s situation, ambient factors including auditory, olfactory and visual factors and functional perceptions such as design and layout have been analyzed. However, the store environment is a combination of all of those factors. Thus, the interaction between those varieties should not be ignored.
For further research, the interdependence of ambient factors needs to be paid more attention. For instance, in terms of olfactory dimensions, the recommendations regarding odors in store need to be explained further studied to find more science-based ways of utilizing scent effects. Besides, the effects of different scents should be proved by evidences. Therefore, the further research should focus on interaction among ambient factors. More research should be conducted in order to figure out more details of ambient factors’ influence.
On the other hand, the high volume of music is also helpful to protect customers privacy, for instance, I can feel free to talk with my friend in that environment. However, sometime I may feel stressful due to the loud background music and humdrum music also drove me to leave as sooner as possible. In terms of colour, I like the various colour combinations in the H&M store. I feel warm within some soft colour and also more confident when the light is harmonious with the cloth. Colourful store environment really attracts me and promote me to watch more product and try them.
However, some stores of H&M are seemed like not really care about the colour because they just have very simple decoration which cannot have any effect to attract customers. Personally, don’t like the scent in H&M store. The strange smells which come from the new cloth make me really uncomfortable. Maybe the staff could use some air freshener to cover it. Introspection (2) One day, I plan to buy a jean skirt on H&M, located in Liverpool One. H&M gives a good impression upon me before I entered the shop because of succinct storefront design-decorate with glass and dull woods.
When I entered the shop, I felt a bit uncomfortable due to the high temperature and strong smell of painting, which led to annoyed emotion during the following shopping behaviour. When I searched the items I wanted to buy, I found there was no sign to guide where I could pick out my ideal goods in mussy clothes set. I needed to hunt for this skirt through crowed passageway without any help from personnel. After I picked out a dream skirt and intended to change in fitting room, located in the hidden corner, I had no idea where it is without any signs or guidance from the shop or staff.
When I finished and wanted to settle accounts, I waited for a long time because there were no personnel in cashier desk. When I finished the whole process of that purchase behavior, I realized it was a unpleasant experience in H&M. Compared to this shop, another H &M store is impressed to me. This shop was full of warm light and light music, to relax the customers and beautify the clothes due to light tone. Meanwhile, the passionate personnel and clear symbols decreased the time waste in looking for which might led to negative mood.
In addition to, efficient organization operation helped me to pay quickly. In a word, this H&M did better in management than that one. Introspection (3) Last week, my friend and I went to the H&M which is located in Liverpool one to buy a T-shirt for doing exercise. The first time I came into the shop, I found the temperature in this place was really warm that made me happy to go shopping. However, the air, smells of paint, caused me uncomfortable to find my clothes. When I came to the ground floor, I didn’t find any signage to show the segmentation about the clothes.
Due to this circumstance, I spent half an hour to search the T-shirt which is suitable for me. On account of the terrible layout between each clothe rack; I got several troubles to go around the shop. Fortunately, i found the clothes in the corner of the second floor, but to my surprise, there were only two mirrors in the second floor, so I had to go to the fitting room to try the T-shirt. The fitting room was quite comfortable if you didn’t need the shop assistant to help, because there were no one service in this place. Finally, both of us found the suitable products and went to the cashier desk.
Unfortunately, there were no shop assistants waiting for us, so we had to stand for 2 minutes to pay the T-shirt. To make a conclusion, If the H&M didn’t change their physical evidence, I would never go back again. Introspection (4) Before I entered into the store, the whole shop front left me a plain and clean impression due to the dull coloring, which makes it not as prominent as the other stores on the high street. I felt quite warm after I got into the shop, and the fast tempo music kind of excited me, which makes me feel pleased, interested and enthusiastic about the clothing and accessories displayed in the shop.
In the first place, I came in sight of the new season’s fashions because they were arranged at central or front areas and bright lights shone on them. In spite of the fact that the whole store looked fairly crowed, I find them easy to notice. I selected a top that I thought might be suitable for me, and its price is also relatively reasonable. All the price tags were clearly placed in a vertical position on the clothes stand, so I still saw the promotion area through the sales signage though it was far away. However, I did not find anything I like among the products that were on sale.
A number of accessories were all over the place and no staff was coming to put them back to the hangers. Moreover, a strong bad smell that may aroused by the artificial leathers drove me stay shorter. After I found nothing else interests me, I took the staircase to see what is on the second floor. The staircase was so narrow that customer can only took it one by one. There was no specific signage shows the main product type on the second floor, so I got confused about where I can find nightwear that I was intended to buy. I walked and looked around for some time and finally saw a numbers of nightwear arranged near the gym suits.
Besides, I also found that the fitting room was just right behind, so I went into it to try on the clothes I picked up. The location of the fitting room was not as obvious as the nightwear as well; I felt that it could take some time to find if I did not see it by coincidence. There were no staffs in the changing room waiting to serve; as a result, I used the self-service. The design of the fitting room was fairly sensible and considerate. Two whole length mirrors enable me to see the appearance of front and back of the clothing I tried on.
Moreover, there was a room which is twice as large as normal rooms designed for disabled people. I was very pleased with the items I chose, so I decided to pay for them. While I was in a queue waiting for the payment, I became impatient and annoyed by the background music. There were two cash registers but only one shop staff available. After I paid all my items and went out the shop, I suddenly felt the outside air was much better than the inside, but sort of cold. Figure 1: Summary of the servicescape redesign.