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Examining retail customer experience and the moderation effect of loyalty programmes

Zhibin Lin (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK)
Dag Bennett (Department of Management, London South Bank University, London, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the construct of retail customer experience (CE) and its links to satisfaction and loyalty; and to test whether loyalty programmes perform a moderating effect on those links.


A variety of retail attributes are integrated to develop a holistic CE construct using formative measures, with four in-built, differentiated replication studies conducted in the supermarket and department store sectors in China.


The empirical results confirm the model of CE’s impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty; but reveal that loyalty programmes perform an insignificant moderating role in enhancing the linkages in the model.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies may examine whether our findings hold true for each individual loyalty programme. The paper calls for more studies based on multiple, in-built, differentiated replication studies and measures to encourage publication of negative empirical results so as to ensure empirical generalization and self-correction in the literature.

Practical implications

Retail managers should focus attention on the design and delivery of great CE, without placing great reliance on loyalty programmes. Both cognitive and emotional attributes of retailing services should be considered for managing a holistic CE.


The paper examines a model of CE with loyalty programme as a possible moderator; it uses formative measures of CE, multiple in-built replications and reports negative empirical results, which are critical to the development of scientific progress in retail management research.



Lin, Z. and Bennett, D. (2014), "Examining retail customer experience and the moderation effect of loyalty programmes", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42 No. 10, pp. 929-947.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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