Neil Towers (University of Gloucestershire)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 11 January 2016



Towers, N. (2016), "Editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 44 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-10-2015-0163



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 44, Issue 1.

The focus of the first issue of Volume 44 reaches right across the whole breadth of retail and distribution management reflected in the six submissions from across three continents of the world. The topics include responses in a mall experience, antecedents affecting relationship quality, logistics-related environmental considerations, retailers' choice of innovating, retailers' power-dependence management and cross-format shopping behaviour.

The aim of the first submission by Lucia-Palacios, Pérez-López and Polo-Redondo is to identify cognitive and affective responses in mall experience, as well as their antecedents, moderators and behavioural outcomes. The paper is based on the content analysis technique and data were obtained through in-depth interviews conducted from February 2013 to January 2014. The study reports the identification, during the shopping trip, of efficiency and confusion as cognitive responses and frustration, stress, peacefulness and excitement as affective responses. These responses lead to behavioural outcomes that are time spent, buying intentions and repatronage intentions. Furthermore, the paper identifies the main antecedents of these responses and the moderators of their relationships. This research offers practical implications for managers, related to the manipulation of mall characteristics in order to encourage positive cognitive and affective responses and to avoid negative ones. Based on the content analysis technique, the present paper proposes a theoretical framework to conceptualise mall experience, detecting cognitive and affective responses, their specific behavioural outcomes and their possible moderators.

The objective of the second paper by Yu and Tseng is to investigate the antecedents affecting relationship quality and their effects on life insurers and their customers. Data were collected from customers of life insurers' customer relationship management centres (CRMCs) and was analysed using in-depth interviews and questionnaires. A structural equation modelling approach was then employed to test the hypotheses. This study sheds light on the antecedents of relationship quality and its consequences in the case of life insurance CRMCs in Taiwan, using in-depth interviews and questionnaires. For relationship selling behaviour the findings of this study highlight the critical role of information sharing in influencing relationship quality. The study also empirically supported the link between relationship quality and repurchase intention and that willingness to recommend is linked to relationship quality.

The third contribution by Björklund, Forslund and Isaksson aims to explore and illustrate ways in which the world's largest retailers describe their logistics-related environmental considerations, their environmental indicators applied to measure the effects of these considerations, and their environmental consciousness in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. Classification models were developed via a literature review on logistics-related environmental considerations, indicators and consciousness. A content analysis approach is then applied to examine CSR reports from 12 of the world's largest retailers. Few retailers show environmental considerations in all logistics activities but purchasing is especially well described. Even if many retailers claim to use the Global Reporting Initiative framework, no one appears to use it completely. Judging consciousness from CSR reports raised a number of questions. The classification models developed can be an important tool for managers and also consumers to judge the environmental sustainability of retailers by their CSR reports.

The innovation success requires a deep understanding of risks and benefits of the process, as well as of the best moment for innovating. The aim of the fourth contribution by Pantano is to explore the current retailers' choice of innovating in terms of being the first innovator imitating competitors' innovations, by declining the benefits and risks associated with both the strategies. Building on qualitative data from the retail industry, with emphasis on fashion (including clothes, jewellery and accessories), this paper provides an empirical contribution to the emerging area on innovation management in retailing through its in-depth investigation of the strategies of eight case retailers who introduced technological innovations in the last three years, and by mapping the patterns between strategy and outcomes. The analysis revealed how pioneers and followers acted their strategies for achieving benefits and reducing the encountered risks. In particular, findings identify to what extent pioneers act according to the technology push and followers according to the demand pull. Our insights support scholarly exploration of innovation management by offering a new marketing management perspective, and providing practitioners with a better understanding on the time choice for innovating in retailing and also in broader empirical settings.

The fifth contribution by Takashima and Kim investigates retailers' power-dependence management through the lens of supply chain diversification, and explore how it is linked to their logistics arrangements in managing suppliers and their retail performance. Hypotheses are tested using a structural equation model based on survey data from 186 merchandising division heads at Japanese retail companies. The results reveal that quick-response inventory replenishment is positively related to retailers' use of power-dependence management. This management practice leads to enhanced retail competitiveness and, thus, higher sales growth in supply chain relationships. This study contributes to understanding how retailers' logistics arrangements work by modelling power relations within supply chains, drawing on power-dependence theory. We propose an alternative view of logistics systems to that of the widely adopted transaction cost theory. We find that supplier investments in quick-response inventory management may not be a relationship-specific asset.

The final contribution by Luceri and Latusi investigates the cross-format shopping behaviour in the apparel sector. The aim is to relate the number of store formats patronised to a set of consumer characteristics under a unifying theoretical framework emphasising cost-benefit analysis. The research involved questionnaire telephone surveys from a sample of 1,722 apparel shoppers in a European region. The findings suggest that among shoppers' socio-demographic characteristics, age, gender, employment status and citizenship were found to have an impact on multi-store format patronage patterns for apparel purchases. Moreover, the store format preference and the sale proneness proved to be additional determinants of cross-format mobility. The findings provide retail managers with valuable insights for effective marketing strategies aimed to exploit customer loyalty potential. Despite consumers' regular use of various alternative store formats for apparel purchases, literature on the determinants of cross-format mobility is scarce. Addressing the inter-type cross-shopping behaviour of consumers from a cost-benefit viewpoint, this study makes a new contribution in the area of customer loyalty and the complementarity and substitutability of store formats.

Neil Towers

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