Neil Towers (The Business School, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK.)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 12 January 2015



Towers, N. (2015), "Editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 43 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-09-2014-0139



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 43, Issue 1

There is a particular consumer focus throughout the five submissions to this issue. The topics of the submissions include interaction between gender and emotions affects consumers’ shopping behaviour outcomes, importance consumers assign to intra-centre spatial convenience, the motives and nature of first party fraud in e-tailing, the effectiveness of coalition loyalty programme implementation in town centre management, and the relationship between service quality, the service encounter and the retail experience.

The first contribution by Pandey, Khare and Bhardwaj examines the influence of cultural values, cosmopolitanism and low price on Indian consumers’ loyalty to shop from local retail stores. Data were collected through local store intercept technique in seven cities across India using a structured questionnaire for survey. The sample was almost an equal representation of both genders and also of metropolitan and non-metropolitan consumers. The findings suggest that culture and price affected local store loyalty directly and that cosmopolitanism was not found to have direct effect on loyalty. Within cultural dimensions, masculinity emerged as the most dominating trait and minor modifications in cultural scale and major modifications in local store loyalty and cosmopolitanism are also suggested. The finding casts doubts on the growth strategy of organized retailers who are opening new stores with the thinking that cosmopolitan consumer will shop from them instead of local retailers.

The second paper by Janhonen and Lindström examines the routes to team goal attainment through individual and social mechanisms. The study is based on a qualitative thematic analysis of interviews, annual reports and observations of team meetings conducted within a Finnish department store. The key findings of our analysis are threefold. First, the paper identified four routes to team goal attainment: team leadership, one’s own work, customer service and team work. It is suggested that for team members, these routes to goal attainment are more important than the organizational goals of sales and reputation themselves, since sales and reputation may be too far removed from the team’s everyday work. Second, both individual and social mechanisms are needed for team goal accomplishment. This finding highlights the importance of the social identity perspective in binding individual and collective motivations together. Third, teamwork in the case department store is somewhat affected by non-participative conventions, but many employee-involving practices can also be identified. These employee-involving HRM practices offer the employees a voice, and give the teams and their supervisors sufficient power in work organization. The results suggest that HR professionals and line managers should be more aware of and support the processes through which teams and team members attain organizational goals. This requires detailed knowledge of the processes – routes to team goal attainment – at the shop floor level.

Establishing and/or developing a portfolio of Private Label Brands (PLBs) is a strategic imperative for most national retail chains. The third contribution by Beneke, Brito and Garvey aims to construct and validate a holistic conceptual model to investigate the effect of perceived product quality, relative price and risk on perceived product value and, ultimately, willingness to buy these brands. In addition the study seeks to investigate the potential role of store image as an antecedent within the model. A survey of middle to upper income shoppers was administered in order to determine the magnitude of the above-mentioned effects. The study focused on the market segment of private label breakfast cereal consumers within South Africa. The myth that a powerful store image can necessarily mitigate high levels of consumer risk was dispelled. In general, the results may be used to glean further insight into the consumer’s approach to buying PLBs and shape brand managers’ actions in building these brands. The research advances the discussion by considering a low-involvement product category and the inclusion of an additional antecedent - store image.

To counter the proliferation of out-of-town shopping centres, a spontaneous or planned coalition loyalty programme (CLP) involving most retailers in an urban network can positively affect a town centre's capacity to entice customers and may enhance its competitiveness. The purpose of the fourth contribution by Nilsson, Gärling, Marell and Nordvall is to develop a comprehensive set of grocery store attributes that can be standardized and used in empirical research aiming at increasing retailers’ understanding of determinants of grocery store choice, and assessing how the relative importance of the attributes is affected by consumer socio-demographic characteristics and shopping behaviour. An internet survey of Swedish consumers was conducted and a large set of attributes was rated by the participants on seven-point scales with respect to their importance for choice of grocery store. Principal component analysis resulted in a reduced set of reliably measured aggregated attributes. This set included the attractiveness attributes price level, supply range, supply quality, service quality, storescape quality, facilities for childcare, and closeness to other stores, and the accessibility attributes easy access by car, easy access by other travel modes, and availability (closeness to store and opening hours). The results are valid for the Swedish-European conditions that differ from the conditions in North America and showed that accessibility by car is the most important grocery store attribute, storescape quality and availability the next most important and facilities for childcare the least important. It was also found that socio-demographic factors and shopping behaviour have an impact on the importance of the store attributes.

Perceived risk is an intrinsic element of all organizational decision-making and business relationships. It is closely interconnected with relationship commitment and strongly affects the buying decisions. Therefore, the organizations that best understand the risks perceived by their customers and hold the means that allow the customers to accommodate these risks, possess a significant competitive edge. The final contribution by Munnukka and Järvi surveys companies on purchase-related risk perceptions and tests the effects of three risk dimensions on relations commitment, and the effectiveness of procedural control on managing these risks. Moderation effect of buying situation is also tested. Structural equation modelling is used to test the conceptual model on data from companies that had recently been in significant new buy or modified re-buy situations. The participants in organizational buying experience three types of risks, product performance, personal psychological and personal financial risks. Higher product performance and personal financial risks are found to decrease the customer's commitment to the supplier, whilst higher psychological risks have a positive effect on relationship commitment. Procedural control is confirmed as an effective application in managing risks in organizational buying process. Buying situation significantly affects the model. The findings suggest that customers focus more on the utilitarian features of the service experience and less on “extraordinary” aspects, but service staff still perceived that the customer encounter remained a key requisite for successful service delivery. The implication is that recent environmental developments involving customers, markets and retail platform structures are challenging traditional service expectations in retailing.

Neil Towers

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