What Motivates NPR Shoppers?

Jun 14, 2011

Delisia Matthews, a doctoral student in consumer, apparel, and retail studies at UNC-Greensboro, spent last summer interning with NPR's consumer products group. She collaborated with the research team to execute a multi-phase survey to better understand what motivates individuals to purchase from the NPR Shop. Delisia is currently incorporating the research in her thesis and gave us a brief update of her findings.

The purpose of the study was to provide an exploratory understanding of NPR apparel-dominant shoppers* by exploring the unique characteristics, motivations, and values of this consumer set. The results were organized by hedonic and utilitarian motivations. Hedonic motivations are categorized as experiential oriented, fun, playful, and festive; a desire to purchase a product through enjoyment and escapism. Utilitarian motivations are categorized as task oriented, rational, and cognitive; a desire to purchase a product efficiently and rationally.

The hedonic motivations held the most promising insights. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with a series of statements designed to reveal what motivates them to make purchases at the NPR Shop. The results found that key motivators were: adventure, gratification, role, value, and idea shopping. With the exception of role shopping, all of these themes were motivators for apparel-dominant shoppers.

The next step was to dig a little deeper by comparing and contrasting apparel-dominant and non-apparel-dominate shoppers' reactions to 12 consumer value statements. Out of those statements the following three were significant among apparel-dominant shoppers:

  • "I think shopping is a great way to relax."
  • "I tend to make impulse purchases."
  • "I would pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want."

Thanks to Delisia's work, the NPR Shop will be able to use these findings to help make decisions on the best items and experiences to offer customers. The next steps will be to do further research to discover the types of apparel merchandise most interesting to shoppers, the visit/purchase frequency on the site, other retail stores frequented by NPR shoppers, and demographic differences among shoppers.

Delisia presented her research findings at the Southeast Graduate Consortium Conference in Knoxville, TN, in April 2011.

*Apparel- dominant shoppers are categorized as shoppers who chose 2 or more apparel items when asked "What types of public radio merchandise would you be MOST interested in purchasing?"

This post was written by Meredith Heard, Research Analyst of Audience Insight & Research, in coordination with Delisia Matthews, PhD student in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies, and Barbara Sopato, NPR's Director of E-Commerce & Consumer Products.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.