Exploring the Everyday Branded Retail Experience-The Consumer Quest for ‘Homeyness’ in Branded Grocery Stores

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This paper extends theories of retail branding and consumer experience of retail stores by bringing consumer culture theory into the field of retailing. Using ethnographic data collection methods (photo-diaries, participant observations, long interviews, artifact collections) we studied the grocery shopping habits and life at home among Swedish middle-class working women with children. The analysis suggests that McCracken’s (1989) ‘homeyness’ framework succeeds to understand the orientations inflected in the everyday branded retail experience, as opposed to the ‘mythotypic’ (see Kozinets 2002) that explicates the power of the more spectacular.

The studied consumers held strong ties to their favorite grocery retailer brand where the ‘homeyness’ constellation, executed power over these women that went beyond mere convenience. Still, in terms of retail brand ideology, where the immersion into marketplace myths supports the agendas of ideologies. The myths conveyed in these everyday marketplaces rather supported unreflected dominant ideologies, than paradigm-breaking and emerging ideology which more spectacular arenas may strive for in their quest for an overwhelming consumer experience. Thus, the powerful and distinctive experience of ‘homeyness’ demands an ideology-neutral surrounding supported by marketplace-crafted myths.

Additional research is needed to see if and how the constellation of ‘homeyness’ is applicable in other national, gender, class, ethnic and lifestyle contexts. Hence, the conceptual implications of our analysis for consumer research concern on one hand the possible transferability and appropriation of the specific constellation of ‘homeyness’ to other important consumer cultural contexts, and on the other hand more generally the importance for consumer cultural researchers to not primarily always aim for the spectacular but also direct their eyes towards experiences of the more ordinary, yet culturally rich, kind.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • branded retail environments, consumer culture theory, everyday retail experience, ‘homeyness’
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Consumer Research
Volume38
StatePublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes