ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (7): 1482-1495.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.01482

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Understanding local community customers: Perspectives from place attachment and customer satiation

ZHANG Sha1(), XU Mengchen2, JIANG Peiqi1(), ZHAO Hong1,2()   

  1. 1School of Economics and Management, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10090, China
    2Sino-Danish College, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100090, China
  • Received:2021-10-04 Online:2022-07-15 Published:2022-05-17
  • Contact: ZHANG Sha,JIANG Peiqi,ZHAO Hong;;


Because of the decline of traditional shopping centers and malls and the diminishing customer shopping radius caused by COVID-19, local neighborhood businesses have begun attracting increased patronage from customers, more capital investment, and enhanced attention from policymakers. However, research on local neighborhood businesses and their local community customers is lacking in mainstream marketing and consumer behavior literature. Specifically, existing research does not reveal the unique characteristics of local community customers compared with nonlocal customers. As a result, the picture of local community customers is still unclear.
To fill in this gap, the current study first seeks to provide a clear definition and conceptualization of “local community customers.” This paper proposes a six-dimensional characterization of local community customers: proximity, a high willingness to join a loyalty program, more susceptible to word-of-mouth effects, a propensity for place attachment, a propensity for customer satiation, and family-related consumption. We thus provide a brand-new framework for local community customer research. Then, considering the proximity of local community customers to neighborhood stores with a high frequency of consumption, we further propose that local community customers may develop place attachment to local stores because of frequent and long-term interactions, yet they may also become satiated with local stores because of repeated consumption. These two opposing mechanisms may trigger complex cognitive and emotional responses of local customers, which in turn may affect their repurchase behavior.
Based on these two contradictory mechanisms, this paper offers a series of propositions and a theoretical framework regarding “how to enhance local community consumers’ place attachment” and “how to alleviate their satiation”. Specifically, in terms of improving place attachment, this paper proposes that local community customers have a higher intention to purchase from local stores whose brand name contains (vs. does not contain) the Chinese character “home” or “family”, whose salespeople exhibit a warm (vs. competent) image, that offer (or do not offer) additional services, or that organize experiential (vs. material) membership activities. This is because the former options help form higher place attachment. In previous studies, place attachment has often been used to describe the emotional connection between individuals and families, communities, cities, regions, countries, or even entire continents, but less attention has been paid to the possible emotional relationships between customers and retail spaces. We expect that the findings of this paper would significantly promote place attachment theories.
In terms of reducing the satiation of local community customers, this study proposes that local community customers are more willing to buy from local stores that adopt a cross-industry alliance loyalty program (vs. non-cross-industry alliances), offer rich (vs. single) product lines, or launch shareable (vs. non-shareable) coupons, because the former options can more effectively relieve local community customers’ satiation. In this part, we explored the influence of resource endowment factors (cross-industry alliances), situational factors (social experience in which coupons can be shared), and product factors on customer satiation, thus enriching customer satiation theories.

Key words: local community customer, place attachment, customer satiation, local neighborhood business, offline community

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