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Abstract

Consumers make choices about where to shop based on their preferences for a shopping environment and experience as well as the selection of products at a particular store. This study illustrates how retail firms and marketing analysts can utilize data mining techniques to better understand customer profiles and behavior. Among the key areas where data mining can produce new knowledge is the segmentation of customer data bases according to demographics, buying patterns, geographics, attitudes, and other variables. This paper builds profiles of grocery shoppers based on their preferences for 33 retail grocery store characteristics. The data are from a representative, nationwide sample of 900 supermarket shoppers collected in 1999. Six customer profiles are found to exist, including (1) "Time Pressed Meat Eaters", (2) "Back to Nature Shoppers", (3) "Discriminating Leisure Shoppers", (4) "No Nonsense Shoppers", (5) "The One Stop Socialites", and (6) "Middle of the Road Shoppers". Each of the customer profiles is described with respect to the underlying demographics and income. Consumer shopping segments cut across most demographic groups but are somewhat correlated with income. Hierarchical lists of preferences reveal that low price is not among the top five most important store characteristics. Experience and preferences for internet shopping shows that of the 44% who have access to the internet, only 3% had used it to order food.

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