Relationship marketing is not effective in every situation or context. This study investigates the impact of three categories of potential contingency factors on the effectiveness of relationship marketing efforts in a retail services context: demographic characteristics of the consumer (age and gender), personal values of the consumer (social affiliation), and shopping-related consumer characteristics (product category involvement, consumer relationship proneness, and shopping enjoyment). The data relate to more than 1,700 mall intercept personal interviews conducted in the United States, and in two western European countries (the Netherlands and Belgium), covering a wide variety of food and apparel retailers. The found moderating influences were inconsistent across samples, stressing the need for an adapted relationship marketing strategy per country and industry. The results do provide a first indication that relationship marketing efforts are relatively more effective if they are directed at consumers who are young and female, have a high need for social affiliation, and show high levels of product category involvement, consumer relationship proneness, and shopping enjoyment. The results provide a preliminary framework for retailers to optimize the allocation of their relationship marketing budgets.
Odekerken-Schröder, G., De Wulf, K. and Reynolds, K.E. (2005), "A CROSS-CULTURAL INVESTIGATION OF RELATIONSHIP MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS IN RETAIL SERVICES: A CONTINGENCY APPROACH", de Ruyter, K. and Pauwels, P. (Ed.) Research on International Service Marketing: A state of the Art (Advances in International Marketing, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 33-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-7979(04)15003-5
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