The female innovation-generation consumer’s evaluation of traditional and virtual displays in South African clothing retail environments
Using virtual displays in South African clothing retail outlets could be a marketing communication strategy that attracted consumers to products or the actual stores. This marketing communication influences consumers’ purchase decisions and consequently enhances the competitiveness of the clothing retailer in a dynamic fashion industry. Thus the use of virtual displays is increasing. Implementing digital and virtual display screens in the visual displays of South African physical retail outlets could appeal to particular consumer segments. The innovation-generation consumer segment is the largest and foremost global consumer segment to date, with massive buying power, and this group’s affiliation for the virtual world should not be ignored, as it may prove to be useful when applying omni-channel retailing that stimulates a certain consumer experience. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to report on the evaluation of the female innovation-generation consumer with regard to a static traditional visual display or a virtual representation of the display. Two stimuli (displays) were presented to 653 female respondents from the innovation-generation consumer in Johannesburg (Gauteng). One stimulus was a static traditional visual display and the other a virtual representation thereof which included movement and music. The findings in this paper indicate that although the respondents understood the message of the virtual display and could identify with the symbolic meaning thereof, there is also evidence that the respondents’ emotions were evoked by both the stimuli. Nevertheless, it seems that the traditional visual display still seemed to be preferred with regard to the emotions that it evoked, especially regarding pleasure. The paper concludes with recommendations on the use of virtual displays to support South African clothing retailers.