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An intersector analysis of the relevance of service in building a strong retail brand

Bernhard Swoboda (Department of Marketing and Retailing, Trier University, Germany)
Frank Haelsig (Department of Marketing and Retailing, Trier University, Germany)
Dirk Morschett (Department of Business Administration, Saarland University, Germany)
Hanna Schramm‐Klein (Department of Business Administration, Saarland University, Germany)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 17 July 2007

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to try to show the relevance of service quality in building a strong retail brand. It addresses how retailer attributes affect customer‐based retail brand equity, when considering retailers as brands. These attributes are compared with one another, and the importance of service is set in proportion to the other retailer attributes, both intersectorally and sector‐specifically. An integrated model is used here.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an empirical study across five retail sectors (grocery, textiles, DIY, consumer electronics and furniture retailing) based on a survey with 2,000 face‐to‐face interviews. Structural equation modelling is used to illustrate the impact of central dimensions of the perception of retailer service and of the other retailer attributes on customer‐based retail brand equity.

Findings

In retailing, service quality appears to be the most important retailer attribute in building a strong retail brand – as demonstrated in four out of five sectors. The integrated model developed in this study can make a significant contribution to a field of knowledge which at present is not well developed.

Research limitations/implications

A more detailed analysis of the cross‐sectoral differences is undoubtedly necessary. Furthermore, a more exact analysis of retailer service is certainly required, but it must also incorporate other retailer attributes in order to achieve dimensions of comparison.

Practical implications

The importance of service in retailing is intersectorally underlined in comparison to the other retailer attributes/retail marketing instruments. Even in sectors that characteristically use self‐service, the importance of service quality and particularly of friendly and competent staff is evident. Compared to the other retailer attributes, service is one strategic element that can be used effectively by retailers of almost any size. A small or medium sized retailer usually cannot distinguish itself from its competitors by means of price, but with a service‐oriented business.

Originality/value

Unlike other investigations, a model is applied in this paper to five retail sectors, so both general and also sector‐specific conclusions can be drawn on the importance of customer service and the other retailer attributes. Furthermore, customer service is not analysed in isolation, thus we have dimensions of comparison, unlike many other authors who look at service alone.

Keywords

Citation

Swoboda, B., Haelsig, F., Morschett, D. and Schramm‐Klein, H. (2007), "An intersector analysis of the relevance of service in building a strong retail brand", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 428-448. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520710760553

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited