by J. Jeffrey Inman, Venkatesh Shankar, and Rosellina Ferraro

This article was published in the Journal of Marketing, 68 (April 2004),  51-71.

Consumers purchase goods from a variety of channels or retail formats such as grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, club stores and convenience stores. To identify the most appropriate channels and to efficiently allocate the distribution of products among channels, managers need a better understanding of consumer behavior with respect to these channels. We examine the moderating role of  “channel-category associations” in consumer channel patronage by extending the literature on brand associations to the context of channels and estimate a model linking channel-category associations with consumer geodemographics and channel share of volume. We identify the product categories associated with particular channels through a correspondence analysis of a field intercept survey. We then use these channel-category associations, along with geodemographic factors to estimate their direct and interactive effects on channel share of volume. These channel-category associations have significant main effects and interaction effects with channel type and geodemographic factors on channel share of volume and account for the majority of the explained variance (72%) in channel share of volume. Overall, the findings provide several conceptual and managerial insights into consumer channel perceptions and patronage behavior.