DEVELOPMENT OF DESIGN QUALITY INDICATORS FOR COMMERCIAL SHOPPING CENTERS
Commercial shopping centers or Malls are economic places (Stolle et al., 2005) where people meet, gather, and interact (Bloch et al., 1994). We can define Malls in their traditional sense as a building that includes a group of retail stores constructed and managed as one unit (Kotler & Armstrong, 2017). In many countries, Shopping malls have become a core point in people’s lives.
Today, the demand for malls is not only for purchasing, but also for recreational shopping and to serve social needs such as interaction with family members or friends (Bäckström, 2011). Thus, modern Malls present a wide combination of products, services, and leisure (multipurpose stores, cinemas, and restaurants) rather than just a retail building. Therefore, Mall’s has evolved to become a community building (AHMED & HASSANAIN, 2020). The reason behind the evolution of malls to become wider and bigger is to maximize the ability to attract people by affording a better place for better sales (Marchiori, 2018). However, shopping centers should meet customers’ needs in a satisfactory way, in order to attract people and encourage them to repeat the visit many times (Anselmsson, 2006).
A ‘Dead Mall’ concept is a phenomenon that describes the condition of shopping centers that either closed, have a high vacancy rate, low level of consumer traffic, or deteriorated in some manner (Watson & Van Ness, 2016)(Parlette & Cowen, 2011). In general, it can be said that the mall is dead when it failed to attract people. Many studies seeking to answer the question of why people choose a certain shopping mall. (Meziani & Hussien, 2017)(de Juan, 2004) have studied the relationship between attractiveness and popularity of malls by understanding the behavioral aspect of visitors. In this context, it is important to mention the ‘servicescape’, it is a model developed by (BOOMS & B., 1981) which focuses on the impact of the physical environment over the service process and relates the customer’s behavior within the service environment. For consumers visiting retail stores, the physical environment is the first aspect that people are perceived and form impressions of the level of service they will about to receive (Hooper et al., 2013). In shopping malls, the level of visitors’ satisfaction is affected by a comprehensive, attractive, and well-functioning physical environment of the servicescape (Juhari et al., 2012). Consumer behavior influences the spatial organization of commercial distribution, and in turn has an impact on diverse aspects of economic and social life (de Juan, 2004).
The aim of any building is to achieve the required function for which it has been built in the first place. Shopping malls are not identical neither in design nor in service that they provide (de Juan, 2004), but they all have the same goal to provide an optimal physical environment to successfully serve economic and social activities. During the design process of shopping Malls, hundreds of decisions are made at different stages with multiple stakeholders. The decision-makers face many challenges in order to determine what design elements to be included and what to be ignored to achieve the optimum design. Wrong decisions such as ignoring or neglecting important design elements could lead to serious consequences that may affect business and/or people.
Having considered the dead mall’s causes and influences, furthermore, the steady increase in the number of shopping malls, and the competition with other shopping formats (online shopping), the need to understand the current situation of design features of the shopping malls became urgent. This can be achieved by developing an evaluation process to study the current condition of shopping centers using users-oriented satisfaction measurements.
This report aims to study the design quality indicators of shopping malls through the evaluation method from the perspective of experts and end-users. Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is one of the powerful tools used for evaluating the performance of a facility by obtaining user’s feedback considering the technical, functional and behavioral elements of the building after it has been built and occupied for a period of time (Riley et al., 2015)(Hassanain et al., 2019)(Li et al., 2018). The POE is widely used by researchers to analyze and evaluate different types of buildings (residential, educational, medical offices, governmental and commercial facilities). In spite of the prevalence of POE, there is a lack of the application of this tool over commercial buildings (Li et al., 2018).
The major objective of this research is to identify the design quality indicators of shopping malls to be used by the design teams and decision-makers during the design process to avoid unnecessary conflict and suboptimal decisions and allowing them to make proper trade-offs between different types of design elements. Ultimately, this method will impact positively the final building design, and therefore, the building’s social, economic, and environmental outcomes.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
Commercial buildings play an important role in any society by providing spaces for multiple activities not only shopping but also entertainment and socialization activities. In addition to their importance, commercial buildings have a significant impact on both social and economic aspects. In another hand, the evolving needs of customers and the changing of consumption habits demand more reliable evaluation methods to improve and predict the future image of shopping centers by facilitating the design process.
Thus, failing to make right decisions in the early design stage leads to severe problems that in some situations may affect the health and safety of people and failing to achieve the economic and social goals of the commercial building
In general, the current practice in designing commercial buildings is following the subjective approach where many decisions in design practice are made without a formal method or discussion, which often generate conflicts and waste in the design process. There is a lack of adopting an objective and systematic approach to design such buildings. Moreover, many practitioners are not even aware of the existence of evaluation methods that help designers making proper decisions based on the information gathered from the feedback of experts, users, and stakeholders.
The problem is that the literature does not provide enough support for practitioners to select an evaluation method in this context. This research fills the literature gap and provides practical advice for designers.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:
The purpose of this study is to:
- Develop a rational evaluation approach for assessing commercial shopping centers by studying Design Quality indicators’ technical, functional, behavioral.
- Evaluation and prioritizing the DQIs from the perspective of experts as a decision maker (Administrators, facility managers, architects) and end-users (Retailors, consumers).
The researcher believes that improving the design quality indicators will help the decision-makers to make better and more informed decisions for designing commercial shopping centers that meet users’ needs and satisfaction and be able to fit with the rapidly changing features of such buildings.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATION:
This study focuses on Shopping malls in UAE and limited to:
- Studying and evaluating the buildings’ performance elements functional, technical and behavioral aspects and developing a design quality indicator for shopping malls.
- DELPHI method will be used as a qualitative technique to evaluate the DQIs (design quality indicators). The assessment will include five categories of participants Administrators, FMs, architects, retailers and end-users.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
The results of the study will be of great benefit to the following:
- This study will help to improve the shopping malls to stay in line with the changing demands of the shopping field.
- The study will provide the architects and designers a comprehensive information and guidelines regarding the design of shopping malls.
- End-users satisfaction and loyalty will be increased by improving the attractiveness features of the shopping malls.
- Saving shopping malls from the dying phenomenon by increasing their adapting ability to rapidly changing features of the shopping centers hence, to be able to compete successfully with other malls.
- The study shall drive the investors to make better decisions regarding such buildings.
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The objective of this research is to obtain by reviewing the available literature to determine the performance requirements for commercial shopping centers. It include Technical, functional and behavioral elements that must be studied and evaluated to determine the design indicators that describe the quality of the facility.
Using a qualitative method for evaluating the design quality of the facility, a questionnaire will be prepared to be distributed to key-persons depending on their role at the selected facility, five main participating categories are projected (administrators, facility managers, Architects, retailors, and visitors). Delphi evaluation method will be used in this assessment. To ensure the accuracy of data collected, three rounds of questionnaires will be conducted to each category of participants. By the end of each round, the mean will be calculated for each design indicator. After completing all rounds, the average of the three-round will be determined to be then classified by the order of importance to analyze the result of each element.
Outputs obtained from the evaluation analysis will be used in the end to draw conclusions and offer recommendations, as well as creating an assessment questionnaire survey for post-occupancy evaluation of Shopping Malls.
2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE:
2.1 POST OCCUPANCY EVALUATION
Evaluation is an essential step in designing and building a facility that meets the need of all beneficiaries such as people, the economy, and the environment. Also, evaluation can help to maximize productivity and promote wellbeing by providing an instrument to understanding, yet developing the social, commercial, cultural, and environmental impacts of architectural design processes on investors, occupants, and the wider community
POE is an evaluation process model that was developed by (Preiser, et al., 1988) they defined POE as ” a process of evaluating buildings in a systematic and rigorous manner after they have been built and occupied for some time”. Multiple definitions can be found in literature describing the POE. (Riley et al., 2010) considers POE as a process to meet the need of the end-users while recognizing a way to enhance building design and performance. On the other hand, (Schwede et al., 2008) define POE as a tool used to detect which building elements perform according to design, and which elements are less performing than expected, consequently affecting users’ productivity and satisfaction.
(Cooper, 2001) has divided the scope of POE into three main correlated strands. Firstly, POE as a design aid (Feedforward) to provide design team to benefit from acquired data from feedback to be used in the future to improve buildings. Secondly, POE as a management aid (Feedback) by measuring the building performance to give an indicator of business productivity and organizational efficiency. Finally, POE as a Benchmarking aid for measuring transition toward sustainability of the built environment.
According to (Hay et al., 2016), POE is a central process in the architectural practice that addresses the gap between design intentions and the actual outcomes in use, crucial in understanding the wider socio-economic, environmental, and cultural impacts of the investment in a good design.
Accordingly, the implementation of POE is vital for developing the existed malls and also producing a long-lasting commercial building that can survive despite all changing needs of shopping habits.
2.2 THE DELPHI TECHNIQUE:
The Delphi method is one of the best techniques that companies use these days to make their business operations easier and faster. So, there is no doubt that discussing the Delphi method will be the best help possible. According to (Linstone and Turoff, 2002) Delphi method is a process and a forecasting framework that relies entirely on the different sets of questions. Those are sent to an expert panel comprising of people. These expert groups then provide the responses anonymously, and then those responses are collated and shared with the whole group after the end of each cycle. These experts are then asked to adjust the answers they obtained during the next rounds according to the interpretation they have of the group’s answer (Hsu and Sandford, 2007).
Since there are several rounds and different questions that are put to the group and also the fact that the group will be informed of the thinking process of the whole group, the Delphi method is supposed to seek the correct answer which can be perceived from the consensus responses (Geist, 2010). There are various applications of the method, depending upon the field – educational sciences, psychology, medicine, economics, management, etc. or as per the objective of the questionnaire – anticipation of a market or a trend, technological innovations, participatory management, strategic prospecting, participatory design, etc.
2.2.1 Characteristics of the Delphi Technique
Usually, this technique takes the form of a questionnaire. It allows independent and anonymous consultation hence, avoiding the shortcomings of direct confrontations both socially and practically. The answers are visible to the moderator only and not to the participants so as to avoid self-moderation prejudices (Schindler, 2013).
In conclusion, the method calls for an iterative consultation of stakeholders / experts, in the form of writing focusing towards attaining an increasingly consensual response. The experts can be either a dozen or hundreds of people, 2, 3 or more – and they will position themselves with respect to a question as per the answers of the participants. The answers are based upon the principle of anonymity as well as independence of judgement. Moreover, presentation of the questions may vary. They can be either open-ended or close-ended (qualitative and/or quantitative) (Munaretto et al., 2013).
The method was designed to encourage consensus on specific topics such as priority setting, technological foresight or decisions on certain technical or medical issues. More precisely, the Delphi method creates conditions favorable to a convergence of opinions, while allowing to clearly discern the points of dissent. The study of the latter is important because it legitimizes the method and often leads to redefining the initial problem, which again leads to a consensus. In addition, the essential characteristic of the Delphi method is its process of feedback controlled through several cycles (Ab Latif et al., 2016).
2.2.3 Multiple cycles and controlled feedback
Contrasting to traditional surveys, the Delphi technique comprises of an interactive and iterative consultation. A panel of participants consulted through rounds, and at the end of every round, the panel will receive the get the results of the previous rounds. The panel will position themselves with respect to the previous results which is the controlled feedback process. Along with the provision of feedback, participants will also be giving additional feedback which will justify their responses. Moreover, preserving the anonymity of the respondents is also very important. With a mix of closed-ended (multiple choice) and open-ended, the Delphi technique creates both qualitative and quantitative results (Baker, Lovell and Harris, 2006).
This particular method is one of the ways in which a person can seek different opinions and suggestions from different experts on a panel. To do this, it is not really necessary to bring the panel together in one place. You can send questions to them as well. In fact, there is no need to organize a physical meeting with the experts. In addition, the answers provided by these experts are completely anonymous and there is therefore no need to worry about the repercussions that the opinions of the experts might have (Young and Jamieson, 2001). Consensus requirement is essential over time. Because there are a lot of different opinions that are expressed from person to person. This is the reason why this is an effective method which is in practice by professionals everywhere.
But while it is true that this technique allows communities to have different participants from different places, the results are not the same as one might get from a live chat. There is no doubt that with the live discussions we will be able to achieve a better consensus. In addition, perceptions in live chats are properly broken down, analyzed, and reassessed. As the response time of the Delphi method can be a bit longer than that of live chats, most people choose the latter option (Ludwig, 1997).
2.3. Shopping Centers
Shopping has an association with the process of making a physical contact with shopping centers. Malls in a way that the customers come in a direct contact with some physical architectural features incorporated in the constructive structure of the malls (Anselmsson, 2006; Dholakia, 1999). Additionally, Howard (2007) states that shopping is rendered to be a recreation action particularly within the perspective of the increment of shopping centers where customers usually come into a direct contact with the physical architectural features of the shopping center for the sole reason of shopping (Fram & Axelrod, 1990). In another study, Sankar (2005) defines a shopping mall to be a shopping complex joined by walkways along with many other architectural features. The mall serves to be an easy access to a variety of different shopping products by utilizing the architectural features along with offering excitement to the targeted buyers.
Shopping centers tend to adopt various methods so as to develop connections with the local sense of the place (Ruiz, 1999). Attachment with a particular place formation through local characteristics and materials (Dennis et al., 2002a). Shopping tends to differ in size, services, facilities, design as well as management amongst other factors. Shopper attraction by one or more factors which influences their choice and taste depending over several reasons. With the increase in the number of shopping mall, the need to consider about the design quality indicators has also become imperative. There are some researchers who have focused on the concept of shopping malls attractiveness with an objective to understand the dimensions of attractiveness, the predictive production power and the level of consistency amongst them (Denis et al., 2002b; Wong & Yu, 2003; El-Adly, 2007).
2.4 Design quality of shopping centers
Various dimensional typologies are in use for the development of a model of design quality indicators of a shopping mall (North and Kotze, 2004). According to a study carried out by Munuera and Cuestas (2006), several international studies have maintained their focus over commercial establishments along with its individual features; however, these researches have failed in considering the shopping center as a unit of analysis. Furthermore, Micu (2013) indicates that most of the design quality indicators of a shopping mall are mainly focusing towards cultural and geographical features of the study.
Eventually, there lacks a consensus regarding design quality indicators because the variable which comprises these indicators are multiple and might refer both tangible and intangible aspects, which is also dependent upon the subjective assessment of each (North and Kotze, 2004). As a matter of fact, the design quality indicators of shopping centers are to be a strategy of competitive distribution. They need to attract more people towards shopping malls along with improving upon their experience (Bigné and Andreu, 2004).
Considering this aspect, assessing the design quality indicators of a shopping center becomes very important for the following reasons – to improve the management because of its association with the intention to visit (Michon et al., 2005), as well as provision of information about the connection between the design quality indicators and the consumer profiles which means giving knowledge over specialization and segmentation of the shopping malls that are based upon the understanding of the style of the clients’ purchasing decisions (Alavi et al., 2016).
2.4.1 Location of shopping mall
Previously, the location of shopping centers to be a design quality indicator and consider to be a component of convenience. This attracts shoppers to patronage the shopping center (Ahmed et al., 2007; El-Adly, 2007). As per a research carried out by Koçak (2010), location is not only important for the customers but, also for the managers who have the responsibility to complete day today activities of the shopping mall. The location of any business is a very crucial factor. It is the resposibilty of the developers particularly in the aspect of selecting various alternative sites. According to Syahara & Ristiana (1992) location is the key achievement as well as the success factor of a shopping mall.
Location holds wide significance particularly in those areas where there are residential places, offices and parks. Additionally, location also have relationship with accessibility of shopping malls (Nicholls et al., 2002).
A shopping centers having a strategic location that can easily accessable has the power to attract a large number of people as well as boost the possible sales of any retail opening (Rajagopal 2008a). Retail location is having an important strategic business decision for many reasons. Firstly, the selection of a shopping store by customers are greatly depend on the accessibility of the stores. It is as per the spatial interaction models which denotes the existing relationship between the perception of a consumer about utility and characteristics of the location (Saxena, 2011).
Secondly, the retailers will be in a position to develop a sustainable competitive advantage by means of a location strategy (Levy et al. 2007). Wrong selection of a location will mean business failure whereas, a good choice of shopping mall destination might lead towards business development and unprecedented success. Currently, the shopping trend amongst customers aims towards merging different places or destinations as well as purposes within a shopping trip. Llusar et al., (2001) states this trend to be cross-shopping which has become important to consider by the mall developers.
2.4.2 Aesthetics and cleanliness of shopping centers
There are various studies that emphasizes over the importance of physical environment for the behavior of visitors within shopping malls (Turley and Milliman, 2000; Khei et al., 2001; Bigne et al., 2006; El-Adly, 2007; Ahmad, 2012; Hira and Mehvish, 2012; Sujo and Bharati, 2012; Singh and Prashar, 2013).
The term aesthetics has everything to do with beauty, design and neatness. In the malls of today, this factor have a great deal of attention has the direction towards this aspect which as neglected in the past. This eventually calls for investing in and outside of the mall including the architecture and layout so that the shopper remains for a good amount of time and has the tendency to repeat visits (Craig & Turley, 2004).
According to a study conducted by Loudon and Britta (1993), better aesthetics or interior design helps in boosting the overall image of the shopping centers over time. Hence, shoppers tend to evaluate the mall by heavily drawing over its physical features as lacking or being available like elevators, air-conditioning, washrooms along with design features including architecture, high ceiling, interior landscaping, flooring, carpeting as well as the overall layout.
Several investigations revealed in literature emphasizing over the importance of environment and atmosphere in the process of design quality indicators. The evidences are in support of the design indicator (Grewal et al., 2003; Andreu et al., 2006 and Michon et al., 2007). These studies suggests that malls have now witnessed a shift with respect to its interior design – moving on from a classic design to that of a more sophisticated one that holds an eye-catching decoration and layout. Decorations are an integral part of the shopping center. However, you should keep the spaces as spacious and bright as possible (Anselmsson, 2006). Ever since, the establishment of the shopping mall. There are some malls which are focusing over the atmosphere. That are an advantage of comfort coming from the quiet and serenity away from traffic in contrast to other shopping venues.
Additionally, pro-aesthetics also claim that soft and subtle music stimulates a shopping mood rather than a noisy environment with the shopping venues. In accordance with this, the management pays close attention to the resources which lead towards better architectural and environmental aspect of the shopping center. Environments that are rich and sophisticated and are more fascinating are the main concerns of design quality indicators (Tiwari and Abraham, 2010).
The shoppers evaluate shopping malls that have a unique architecture or design, entertainment factors like a play area or theatres and sometime appealing restaurants serve to be the focal point in the shopping areas (Chun, Hassan, & Noordin, 2005; Yan & Eckman, 2009). According to Wakefield and Baker (1998) the architectural design of a mall serves to be the most decisive factor which impacts mall excitement whereas, the interior design of a mall greatly influences the desire of the customer to remain longer within the mall.
Other than this aspect, Frasquet (2001) states that the atmosphere of shopping center are also a crucial factor in influencing people’s decision to visit a shopping center. If a shopping mall has a good atmosphere, it will encourage shoppers to stay longer and buy more. There were very limited studies in the past dealing with these specific aspects related to aesthetics of a shopping mall and were mainly focused towards colors and the type of music (Solomon, 1994; Peter & Olson, 1994). Hence, atmospheric characteristics are rendered to be an enhancement within the product variety and can be exploited well so as to impact the behavior and mod of shoppers in a positive manner and on the overall image of the mall as a whole (Tiwari& Abraham, 2010).
2.4.3 Design and eco-natural environment
The eco-natural design perception of a shopping mall is of particular concern within the literature related to environmental. It has atmospheric features of the shopping center setting. According to Do Paço and Raposo (2009) ecological elements have a great influence within the commercial settings over the behavior and attitude as ell as the intention to visit or buy from the center.
Within the commercial field, Brengman et al. (2012) has proved that incorporating spaces with vegetation holds hug impact over shopping emotions and hopping behavior. Additionally, the environmental design of commercial settings oriented towards the lifestyle and consumption within natural spaces tend to favor the connection between their well-being (Amérigo et al., 2013; Herzog and Strevey, 2008).
According to a study carried out by Bigne et al. (2006), building an enjoyable environment a[[ears to be an objective in the process of improving the shopping experience of consumers. Moreover, Amérigo et al. (2013) highlighted the increasing interest in the research related to pro-environmental conduct along with an evaluation of the individual’s behavior or attitude towards the environment (Amérigo et al., 2007; Chebat and Michon, 2003).
2.4.4 Facilities and services of shopping centers
Usually, shopping centers are considered based upon the type of services provided or installed as well as the ways and means through which they are being delivered. These may incorporate transport facilities like escalators, lifts, conveyors, etc. that have now become an essential design quality indicator for many shopping malls that appreciates the sensitivity of the shopping industry (Hanif et al., 2010). Previous researches have added in that shopping centers offer services to public with respect to terms of access roads to the vicinity, amenities like restrooms and sign boards (Berman & Evans, 2001).
Additionally, services and facilities that deal with comfort factors which customers desires the most are also important. For example, cleanness, security and width of the shopping center. Installation of air conditioning services, central heating, rest rooms with comfortable seats, spacious parking as well as safety needs to be made available o as to allow customers for spending good time during their shopping or o even socialize within the mall. Moreover, it is also important to assure that customers are at their comfort level if they want to keep up with the quality indicators (El-Adly, 2007).
Different customers have different perceptions and expectations from services within shopping centers which primarily focuses upon the salesperson being courteous, knowledgeable and helpful. Some warm gestures on part of the salesperson like greetings, smiling, kind eye contact imposes a positive impression about the particular store or the mall in general (Winsted, 1997). Although, the service quality is difficult to determine as it is related with what is happening on the ground however, Wisniewski (2001) identifies service quality to be the difference between what the customer expects from a service and what services is received. In case, the expectations are higher than that of the performance, then the quality will be perceived as less satisfactory resulting in dissatisfaction on part of the customers. Creating a relaxed atmosphere such as a departmental store or other similar ideas like free kids lounge, food court, ATM machines, free of charge shuttle bus service from nearby residential areas to malls and dry cleansers all under a single roof shopping centers is also a main factor in attracting more customers (Jin & Kim, 2003)
2.4.5 Quality of structures in the shopping centers
The qualities of engineering structures play a very important role over customer choices regarding a shopping mall. Engineering structures includes multi storey car parking, basement car parks, roof trusses as well as structural steel frames tends to attract customers towards shopping malls and hence, are considered to be crucial design quality indicators. Modern shopping centers roofing elements that are specifically designed to conserve cold/heat within the mall premises is another way to attract customers towards the mall. This claim is supported by Tsiotsou (2005) which included that quality is a multidimensional concept which is quite difficult to determine. The quality of any structure relies upon its specifications.
Consumers are highly dependent upon their perception of quality so as to differentiate between various structures depending upon two distinct categories – intrinsic cues associated with the physical composition of a product or structure as well as extrinsic cues that comprises of the outer aspects of the product related to it but, is not a part of its physical components. Some attributes like the width, length, size, shape of the structure, texture color makes intrinsic cues of some of the elements. Extrinsic cues associated with quality includes the specifications curing time attractive colors (Yoon & Kijewski, 1997).
2.5 Previous studies
A study carried out by Roy (1994) determined the impact of various characteristics on the satisfaction level of the shoppers. These characteristics include – functional shopping motivation recreational shopping motivation, deal proneness, income, age and size of family. The result of the study indicates that all these factors play a considerable role in the frequent visits of shoppers.
Another study carried out by Bloch (1994) intended to study those reasons that push shoppers to visit shopping malls. The results indicated that shoppers visit shopping malls for entertainment purposes social interaction with friends, relief from boredom, relaxation along with variation in shopping products.
Another study carried out by Tabar et al. (2006) aimed towards identifying those attributes that preserves the image of shopping centers and are crucial for gaining loyalty and patronage. This study was applied in a Turkish Girls’ high school to determine their experiences, expectations and perceptions towards shopping malls. The study carried out that hyper-led shopping centers having larger departmental stores are not preferred by girls. The respondents were keen to gain utilitarian value when they visit a shopping mall and hence, malls do not serve as a proper place to shop. Accordingly, the factor of entertainment is the primary motive that pushes the girls towards visiting shopping malls. On the flip side, location, is the second-most crucial motive for the girls to visit shopping malls.
Furthermore, economic motives also comprised of various factors that influenced shoppers to visit shopping ceners whereas, some are driven with emotional motives. According to Ruiz et al., (2004) shoppers have a combination of economic and emotional motives. Other studies stated that important reasons for selecting shopping malls include convenience, services and prices as well as presence of a specific store in the mall (Bodkin & Lord 1997). This involves considering those design quality indicators that makes mall attractive for shoppers and promises them a place with all kinds of products in a single location. The development of the mall industry has the tendency for many malls to resemble with the other aiming towards offering products at competitive prices (Ahmed et al., 2007).
The design quality indicators were studied from the perspective of shoppers. A study carried out by El-Adly’s (2007) identified six main quality indicators of a shopping center that include – convenience, diversity, entertainment, comfort as well as luxury. These design quality indicators are compatible with three broad categories of shoppers – demanding shoppers, stress-free shoppers and pragmatic shoppers. Adequately demanding to these factors have become imperative for mall designing developers so as to conduct a profitable business (El-Adly, 2007).
Several academic researchers have been conducted to determine the different aspects of design quality indicators of shopping centers. The shopping mall industry has developed as a thriving business and investors are building malls of great size and height which makes the industry fast at a rapid pace (Bernan & Evans, 2004).
A research carried out over the image of malls primarily focuses over stimulating mall patronage. A study carried out by Sit et al., (2003) focuses over how important the image of the shopping ceners are on the shopper’s patronage decision’s critical determinant. Particular, certain studies indicate the importance of four dimensions associated with patronage such as functional, socializing, recreational and convenience (Terblanche, 1999). In the similar context, a study conducted by Ibrahim (2002) assigns travelling components which consists of effort value, transport mode reliability, distance and comfort are some significant design quality indicators that impact shopping malls patronage.
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