Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)

First Advisor

William C. Black


Much of the research in marketing involves the study of consumer choice behavior. This study in concerned with the development and testing of a theory of retail choice or patronage. The last several years have witnessed dramatic changes in the retailing industry. In addition to the traditional department, discount, and specialty stores, consumers may increasingly choose from a wide variety of non-store retailers. Thus, any comprehensive study of retail outlet choice behavior should incorporate all of the alternatives available to the consumer. This research developed a model of patronage which extended previous research with the addition of alternative retail outlets and the explication of important determinant variables. The inclusion of all available retail outlets presents a more comprehensive view of consumers' retail choice decisions and aids researchers in understanding the varied choice behavior of individuals. Consumer shopping motivations, involvement, experience, knowledge, and contextual influences were proposed as primary determinants of retail outlet choice. A large focus of the dissertation research involved the construction and validation of a consumer shopping motivation scale. Three stages of data collection were conducted to develop a comprehensive, a reliable and valid measure. Motivations were proposed to represent underlying forces that stimulate and compel individuals to interact with the retailing community. The research proposed motivations to greatly influence the number and types of retailers consumers patronize. In operationalizing retail choice, this dissertation employed a choice set process paradigm. Herein, the research considered store or outlet choice to be a complex decision process. The choice set formation process recognizes consumers have many alternatives to choose from in selecting a retail outlet and is concerned with the cognitive process of alternative evaluation and the derivation of choice sets. The dissertation proposes consumers categorize retail alternatives into four groups. The results of the dissertation demonstrate the proposed shopping motivation scale to be a reliable and valid indicator of consumers' underlying needs. In addition, the results demonstrate how the various determinants of patronage are related to each other as well as their influence on the size of consumers' choice sets.