To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The interface between retailers and logistics service providers in the online market

Yuan Xing (Research and Business Development Office, London South Bank University, London, UK)
David B. Grant (Logistics Institute, University of Hull, Hull, UK)
Alan C. McKinnon (Logistics Research Centre, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
John Fernie (George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 5 April 2011




The growth in online shopping has presented challenges for physical distribution service quality (PDSQ) provided by retailers, including both multi‐channel and pure players, and logistics service providers (LSPs). Issues emerging from a consumer survey regarding electronic physical distribution service quality (e‐PDSQ) informed this paper's research, which aims to consider this phenomenon.


The research study employed qualitative interviews with retailers, logistics service providers and experts to consider the consumer survey findings and discuss the current market situation and suggestions for improvement.


Interviewees confirmed that pure players offer better e‐PDSQ than multi‐channel retailers as well as important constructs of availability, time, condition and returns regarding this phenomenon, but also raised issues of relationships between retailers and LSPs and costs regarding service trade‐offs.

Research limitations/implications

The research undertaken was exploratory and will require further and wider testing in other contexts and geographical areas to assure external validity.

Practical implications

The findings have strategic importance for online retailers and LSPs to achieve competitive advantage and offer superior customer service.


This paper extends earlier, limited work on e‐PDSQ and considers retailer and LSP points of view concerning previous research into consumer expectations and perceptions of e‐PDSQ.



Xing, Y., Grant, D.B., McKinnon, A.C. and Fernie, J. (2011), "The interface between retailers and logistics service providers in the online market", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 334-357.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles