Place marketing and urban retail agglomerations: An examination of shoppers’ place attractiveness perceptions
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This article approaches the perceptions of shoppers towards urban retail agglomerations from the perspective of place marketing. Acknowledging that place marketers need to be mindful of how place users can be best fulfilled, this research conceptualises the agglomeration as a place marketing site. The literature reveals the role of place users, in particular the retail customers, in the place-formation process. As such, an evaluation framework proposes antecedents of (retail-related) place attractiveness in order to understand what the key drivers of this behaviour are. An empirical study is presented involving almost 500 face-to-face interviews of shoppers at the time they visit a town centre. The results show that the retail tenant mix and the atmosphere influence attractiveness most significantly. Critical reflection of the literature, with respect to the empirical findings, reveals the crucial necessity to understand and integrate the place user's point of view into the concept of place marketing. This research addresses a gap in the literature on place marketing, focusing on place users’ perceptions as opposed to the dominant theme of place actor's strategic needs.