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Impact of a retailer’s CSR activities on consumers’ loyalty

Didier Louis (Institut universitaire de technologie de Saint-Nazaire, Université de Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, France)
Cindy Lombart (Audencia Business School, Nantes, France)
Fabien Durif (Ecole des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 17 July 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of the main dimensions of a retailer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities (philanthropic activities, respect for the environment, respect for the consumers and respect for the workers) (e.g. Maignan, 2001; Brunk, 2010a; Öberseder et al., 2014) on consumers’ loyalty towards this retailer. Mediation (through consumers’ trust in this retailer and/or retailer’s perceived brand equity) and moderation effects (depending on the groups of consumers considered) are also studied.

Design/methodology/approach

This research was conducted on 547 consumers, representative of the Quebec population. These consumers were asked to select a retailer of their choice that they were familiar with (notably with its CSR activities) and to complete a questionnaire with regard to that retailer.

Findings

This research highlights that: the impact of a retailer’s CSR activities on consumers’ loyalty differs according to the dimensions considered (philanthropic activities, respect for the environment, the consumers and the workers), is fully or partially mediates by consumers’ trust in this retailer and/or retailer’s perceived brand equity and depends on the groups of consumers considered (the very responsible consumers, the local sceptical recyclers and the least responsible consumers).

Research limitations/implications

This research indicates that when CSR is considered not as an aggregate construct, but in terms of its dimensions, their impacts on consumers’ loyalty towards the retailer may differ or appear under certain conditions. Moreover, this research points out that consumers’ trust in the retailer is a partial mediator (for the philanthropic activities dimension of a retailer’s CSR activities for the very responsible consumers and the local sceptical recyclers) of the relationship between the dimension of a retailer’s CSR activities considered and consumers’ loyalty towards this retailer. Consumers’ trust in the retailer is also a full mediator (for the respect for environment dimension of a retailer’s CSR activities for the very responsible consumers) of the relationship between the dimension of a retailer’s CSR activities considered and consumers’ loyalty towards this retailer. Lastly, retailer’s perceived brand equity is a full mediator (for the respect for environment dimension of a retailer’s CSR activities for the three groups of consumers considered) of the relationship between the dimension of a retailer’s CSR activities considered and consumers’ loyalty towards this retailer.

Practical implications

This paper indicates to retailers that the dimensions respect for the consumers and the workers of their CSR activities do not have an impact on consumers’ loyalty. By contrast, for a retailer to be perceived by consumers as engaged in philanthropic activities or being environmentally friendly has a positive impact on consumers’ loyalty.

Originality/value

In this research, CSR is conceptualised as a multidimensional construct and the impacts of its main dimensions (philanthropic activities, respect for the environment, respect for consumers and respect for workers) on an important and strategic variables for retailers, loyalty, are highlighted. Moreover, this research also indicates that the impacts of a retailer’s CRS dimensions on consumers’ loyalty depend on individuals and may follow different paths (through consumers’ trust in the retailer and/or retailer’s perceived brand equity).

Keywords

Citation

Louis, D., Lombart, C. and Durif, F. (2019), "Impact of a retailer’s CSR activities on consumers’ loyalty", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 47 No. 8, pp. 793-816. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-12-2018-0262

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited