Shopping has become one of the most important reasons why tourists go to South Korea. Previous research has proven that indeed, shopping can be an avenue of enjoyment and relaxation for people. In South Korea, shopping means that there is a booming business for entrepreneurs who are out to take advantage of the Chinese tourists, who are more affluent today. The research will try to establish the reasons behind pre shopping and post shopping value. Of particular interests will be factors such as shopping values, attributes, pleasures, and satisfaction. This will help in coming up with a measure of tourist perceptions of shopping satisfaction, and establish a mechanism for doing so in future.
To better appreciate the variables at play, it must be understood that shopping experiences vary from time to time and person to person and very much depends on the environment of shopping, individual values on shopping, and behavior of the shoppers, as well as other people involved in the shopping chain. This means that, while shoppers shop for products that they actually need, they also need to satisfy their urges by shopping. The shoppers should feel the usefulness and aim of their shopping balancing both pleasures above everything else even pain. This would eventually lead them to getting so much pleasure out of the shopping and even the touring of the beautiful sites in the country. This refers to the utilitarian and hedonism characteristics of shopping.
Problem Statement and Hypothesis
The importance of shopping tourism means that this is a need for research on what works on customers, to leave them more satisfied, and even see more coming. The research paper intends to present ideas on how pre shopping and post shopping value differences can be bridged, as well as the relationship between these perceptions and shopping attributes. Knowing this will help shopping outlets to align their goods and services to the needs of the customer whether its preferences or desires. The purpose of the paper is to interrogate the difference between pre shopping and post shopping values of the Chinese. The hypothesis is: There is a positive relationship between post shopping value and tourists’ satisfaction.
Chinese tourists are willing to get out of their country and go for Shopping in South Korea. This reflects the perception that South Korea’s products must be of very high quality, and that the tourists are likely to get what they need. Similarly, tourists are also keen to ensure that they get value for money. This is in line with the utilitarian theory, which would imply that Chinese tourists are in South Korea for shopping because of the value they get from the country’s products. The other major interesting thing about shopping in South Korea is that, there is ease of price comparison, product comparison, and even research as you tour one place after another.
While this is the case, tourists may also go to South Korea because they feel this will interest them, and make them happy thereby satisfied. As a way of relaxation, they will go shopping, regardless of the value of the things they buy, or whether they even need or want these things. This is hedonism. The shoppers may even go to South Korea as a statement of their status. Status makes people place themselves in a certain category of lifestyle and must be constantly upheld and even shown off. The post shopping value and attributes should, therefore, consider this factor too.
Effect of the environment
Value is key to consumer behavior. Value is a factor of several factors, which include the price that a product is offered at, the time and money spent to get the product, besides the actual price, and other exigencies. The overall perception of the whole business of shopping is key in determining whether the customer sees value in the product. Shopping value is also related to consumer behaviour. This, in turn, generates loyalty and satisfaction of the customer. According to Oliver (1997), consumer value is dependent on the service environment, which thereby informs satisfaction and future intentions to buy hence loyalty.
Shopping - Objectivity and Subjectivity
According to Holbrook (2006), shopping experiences are aimed at producing both utilitarian and hedonic values in the shopper. A consumer, who consciously reviews products, examines their suitability for the task or person he has in mind, capability to perform its intended task and decides to buy or not to buy is appealing to the utilitarian urge, whereby he does not attach any emotional significance to the task at hand. Instead, the shopper will employ rational analysis and seek to fulfil a specific task in shopping. On the other hand, the shopper may also be in attaching emotional value to shopping experiences. The person will feel entertained, and will not be subjective in shopping. This shopper will fill contained with the outcome of the satisfaction from whatever they would be shopping for. This is the personal side of shopping, which may eventually determine the difference between different shoppers.
Turner and Reisinger (2001) look at the phenomenon of customer satisfaction through other avenues. They believe that besides the hedonism and utilitarian reasoning behind shopping, shoppers are also greatly affected by shopping attributes. The attributes include things like various selections of products, good prices, up to date innovative products and flexible services. The results indicate shopping enjoyment, prices, convenience, durability and selection of services are influential in shopping mode decisions. For instance, the quality of the shopping experience – how pleasant a store is, for instance, is a major determinant, as is the question of the price. The price does not have to be low or high to appeal to customers, but sometimes, customers tend to attach the price to quality, and therefore believe that they are getting good value from being able to buy from a store which is highly priced.
The shopping environment, besides the store, also informs satisfaction. How pleasant staff assistants are, diversity of products at a store, for instance, will be enough to tilt a customer’s perception about their feeling of satisfaction. When a shopper feels that they are appreciated and respected by the sellers or shop attendants, their perception about buying something also changes. With this in mind, tourists who go to South Korea from china are likely to attach more post shopping value to their experiences if they feel that their experiences are of high quality, and worth the money, and time spent on the exercise (Bissell, 2008).
As Bissell finds in his research, so does Turlet and Milliman (2000) opine in their research on the impact of the store in determining satisfaction, and hence, post – shopping value that consumers attach to shopping. Shop owners and managers play close attention to how their stores look. They renovate them to make shopping easier and faster and with well-marked and indicated categories of whatever they are offering to their shops. This instead makes things easier to identify using well visible signs, and employ technology to make the whole exercise easy and convenient for the shopper. This has been found to have a strong influence on how shoppers perceive their experiences since it will not be time consuming. While this may be argued to be utilitarian in nature, it also has hedonistic influences as well. Customers are willing to forego other things such as price discounts, so that their shopping experience is less stressful.
The layout of the store as discussed above does include the packaging and promotion of the product. This is another element of the race to satisfy the customer, altogether. People who are out to enjoy shopping will favor a more direct approach to shopping –physically, and at the best place they can find and afford. This informs Chinese shopper’s tendency to pick South Korea over other places, even in their own countries (Oliver, 1997).
Politics and the Economy
Tourists from China to South Korea are not only trying to fulfill their urges, or to find the best buy. For instance, many of the products that Chinese tourists but in South Korea are readily available all over china, and even in other countries close by. China is also home to world renowned shopping malls, and historical sites which serve as to attract thousands of thousands of tourists to the country. The Chinese urge to go to Korea is therefore a factor of other factors as well.
In recent years, relations between Korea and China have improved. The two countries share a common past and circumstances, though they may be ideologically different. Chinese tourists may not have been able to visit Korea previously since they lived in a country that frowned upon any positive relations with Korea. While they are still not in the best of terms in this respect, political tensions drastically eased over the years, making the phenomena being witnessed today to be possible in the first place. At the same time, Chinese tourists have not always had the means to go shopping in a foreign country. The increase in tourists to South Korea from China is therefore a clear sign of the changing economic and political realities in this region (Hancock, 2017).
In view of the above, it is clear that hedonism is a far greater motivator for tourists going to South Korea. They may not be there for the quality, but for the positive feeling of being able to go shopping in a country they previously would not afford to visit, or would have been restricted (Hancock, 2017).
Demographics and social factors
In addition to the analysis on politics and economic status, the youth of tourists to South Korea is also a telling. Many of the tourists who opt to for to South Korea f or shopping are young working professional, who feel that they can afford the trip, and that it will be an enjoyable experience. For the South Korean entrepreneur therefore, the prospect of handling tourists from China should be grounded well in the ability to deal with young, confident and affluent shoppers, who are there not just for the goods and services, but also for the thrill of shopping outside their country (Huang, 2017).
The reasons why Chinese shoppers have opted for South Korea and not other countries is also grounded on other factors. Japan, Australia, Singapore and even Hong Kong are highly advanced economies, just like South Korea. The countries may offer similar experiences, and are not even far away, in a way that would justify the overwhelming traffic to Korea. Rather, the affinity for South Korea is driven by the close and similar cultural ties and demography between the two countries. Chinese tourists and the government may feel more at ease with friendly relations with South Korea, than other countries in the region, with which they are not very close in political or social terms (Huang, 2017). Eventually political, economic, social familiarity puts the Chinese in the South Korea radar.
Tourism in South Korea is not insulated against the political happenings of the day. For instance, the South Korea and China are on the opposite sides in their relations with the United States. In recent times, South Korea and the United States have conducted military campaigns that are closely tied with the two countries past posture as rivals to China. Therefore, when the United States decides to deploy missiles in South Korea that, could be used to hit China as well. China was worried and decided to persuade South Korea not to permit this. In order to do so, the country has decided to halt the numbers of Chinese tourists who go to South Korea (Maesak, 2016; Xiang, 2016).
South Korea is highly dependent on Chinese tourists for its tourism sector. The tourists also help in driving its consumer economy forward, due to the large number of tourists who go there primarily to shop. The political tensions between the two countries therefore constitute larger problems in some instances, than the individual reasons which determine whether shoppers give them business or not (Maesak, 2016).
The economic boom that has been so good for Korea is also returning to haunt it in several ways. For instance, tourists to South Korea from china are under increasing economic strain due to the slow economic growth. This has negatively affected tourists to the country.
South Korea has over the years also been losing tourists to other countries, which are able to match, if not surpass, what South Korea offers Chinese tourists. This will mean that in the future, South Korea will have to do more to ensure that it retains its market share, through refined product offering to Chinese tourists (Maesak, 2016).
The research design will be based on an extensive review of the literature, using a set of tools that will only result in high-quality evidence of the task at hand. This will involve the use of reputable websites, questionnaires, peer- reviewed journal articles and books that are written by acclaimed authors and experts in the industry. Using this strategy, it will be possible to collect the necessary data and use it to test the hypothesis. The Sage Research Methods database will be used to source quality material for use in the research.
Due to the nature of the study, convenience sampling will be used. This method of sampling is used when not all sources are available for analysis, forcing the researcher to only use the available sources. In using these sources, it will be prudent to pay strict attention to the information detailed above, in the research design. The sampling will, therefore, be done along the lines discussed in the literature review, and also based on the availability of the data. The information collected will be analyzed for relevance and objectivity, especially if it is not sourced from peer reviewed journals.
The internet will be extensively used to collect the necessary information. Some high-quality databases such as Cochrane and Sage, as well as Elsevier, have been earmarked to utilization during this process. There will be no other methods used to collect data, o that the research can be uniform, and collect quality data. At the same time, selection of sources will not be random, but systematic to avoid irrelevant information being included in the study.
Data analysis and interpretation
After data has been analyzed for relevance to the study, it will be further analyzed for relevance, using the already stated hypothesis, it will then be interpreted, to either validate or nullify the hypothesis. The connection between the dependent variable and the independent variables will be extensively analyzed using the data. In other instances during the literature review, it has been found that some variables have a connection with each other, as well as the dependent variable. For instance, economic growth and political environment are closely related. This will also be reviewed.
There are several factors which affect the pre and post shopping perceptions for Chinese shoppers in South Korea. The satisfaction of these shoppers is down to a few factors, which are usually based on utilitarianism, and in other cases, hedonism. At the same time, China and South Korea are closely tied together by culture, politics and economic realities. Several tourists who go to South Korea from China go to but quality things that may be harder to obtain at home. These products may also not be easily accessible in the region, and at the cost they can be secured with in South Korea.
Tourists however go to enjoy themselves in South Korea. The shopping experience is pleasurable for some, and a social status statement. These tourists may be able to get similar or even better products at less cost they secure them for in South Korea. There may be even several other places to get the same goods, but the tourists are more interested in the adventure of shopping. Besides these, tourist flow from china is dependent on economic and political issues between the two countries, which may sometimes prevent tourist flow between the two countries.
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