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Evaluation of retail service quality – a fuzzy AHP approach

Rema Gopalan (School of Management, Indian Institute for Production Management, Rourkela, India)
Sreekumar . (Rourkela Institute of Management Studies, Rourkela, India)
Biswajit Satpathy (Department of Business Administration, Sambalpur University, Sambalpur, India)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 3 August 2015



With the growing importance of service quality in Indian retail, it becomes critical for the retailers to identify the appropriate dimensions for their retail stores. In the process of evaluating service quality the decision maker is often faced with ambiguities due to the imprecise information gained from the respondents. The purpose of this paper is to present an integrated fuzzy (fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) approach to help the decision makers/retailers in practicing and judging the priorities of service quality strategies and accordingly benchmarking retail stores in Indian retail environment.


The study incorporated the five basic dimensions of Retail Service Quality Scale proposed by Dabholkar et al. (1996) and the FAHP approach to three leading apparel retail stores of a major city (Rourkela) of Orissa (an Indian state located in eastern part of the country) to determine the weights of criteria and sub-criteria of retail service quality.


The study identified that the dimensions, namely, personal interaction, physical aspects, reliability and policy are perceived as important by the Indian consumers. Merchandise and the store’s willingness to handle returns and exchanges emerge as the most influencing variable affecting the overall service quality of the store.

Research limitations/implications

The study was restricted to a major city of Orissa and to three apparel stores. The results obtained may not be extrapolated to the country as a whole. The authors believe that the integrated approach of FAHP could be used by a variety of service industries to evaluate the service quality. The study did not investigate switching behavior among the respondents as they had been visiting all the three apparel stores during the preceding months.

Practical implications

The integrated approach of FAHP makes an empirical contribution to the service quality and retail marketing literature by overcoming the uncertainty of concepts those are associated with human beings’ subjective judgments.

Social implications

The retailer can improve the quality of service provided by them based on the parameters important in Indian context, which will lead to higher customer satisfaction.


This paper can help the retail service providers to identify which of the retail service quality dimensions requires much attention to create sustainable competitive advantage.



Gopalan, R., ., S. and Satpathy, B. (2015), "Evaluation of retail service quality – a fuzzy AHP approach", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 1058-1080.



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