Towers, N. (2013), "Editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 41 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM.08941aaa.001Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 41, Issue 1
The first issue of Volume 40 has an interesting retailing theme with the effect of Spains retail regulatory framework, the notion of “third place within the setting of chain bookshops in the UK, online customer service failure in the US and structural changes to retail in France from 2005.
The first contribution by López González, Lois González and Fernández Casal evaluates the effect of Spains regulatory framework on Mercadonas expansion. Mercadona is the main company in this commercial distribution sector and so we have taken the North American company Wal-Mart as a classic example of the sector on a world scale. In Spain the regulatory framework is characterized by the high grade of autonomy of the regional governments over the development of business regulation. The article discusses the stores and retailers of Mercadona. Through the use of quantitative indicators the degree of concentration-dispersion is studied, which is reflected graphically with a series of maps. It also discusses the normalisation constraints by quantitative data analysis from a region with trade liberalisation criteria (Madrid) and another with criteria for restricting the construction of large retail outlets (Barcelona). The study helps to understand the process of forming a large commercial distribution chain in Southern Europe, Mercadona.
The second paper by Laing and Royle conceptualises the notion of “third place within the setting of chain bookshops. The widespread adoption of coffee franchises and comfortable seating has developed the bookshop as a leisurely setting. Underpinning the discussion in current retail marketing theory, the research explores how our understanding of the “third place has changed with the passage of time and examines whether chain bookshops can be called third places. The methodological approach is largely qualitative drawing upon interviews with bookshop managers with regard to their strategic aims, and using focus groups to discuss consumers bookshop experiences. The research also draws upon quantitative data: face-to-face questionnaires and online surveys. The research concludes that while consumer experience of chain bookshops is positive, they cannot be called a “third place due to the lack of conversation therein. Nevertheless, an important caveat exists – the presence of an integral coffee shop encourages socialising among bookshops customers. The research has important implications and recommendations for managers of retail sites regarding the potential restorative qualities of bookshops, coffee shops and other retail environments.
The third paper by Mattila, Andreau, Hanks and Kim examines how consumers react to being ignored by the company once they have complained about an online service failure. The authors propose that automatic reply emails to customer complaints are considered a form of cyberostracism, thus having equally harmful effects on customer perceptions as a mere no reply. The authors first conducted a qualitative study to understand how ignored consumers feel when companies fail to respond to their e-mails. This was followed by an experimental study that tested the research propositions. The experimental design was a 3 (ostracism) × 2 (severity of failure) factorial between-subjects design. The results indicated that consumers did not perceive any significant difference between an automatic reply email and no reply at all and perceived both to be a form of cyberostracism. They found that cyberostracism led to higher levels of negative emotions, lower levels of satisfaction, and higher levels of negative behavioural outcomes. The prediction that these impacts would be moderated by failure severity was partially supported. These findings should alert retailers to the fact that when an online failure occurs, proactive and personalized recovery efforts are necessary to maintain customer loyalty and mitigate negative behavioural outcomes.
The final contribution by Messeghem and Fourquet-Courbet investigates mass retail in France, which experienced an institutional change when the Dutreil Law was introduced on August 2, 2005. This article contributes to understanding the part played by the institutional entrepreneur Michel-Edouard Leclerc in the process of institutional change. Michel-Edouard Leclercs discourse on his weblogis attempted to characterise the rhetorical strategies adopted to legitimize change. This contribution has enabled us to stress the part of the institutional entrepreneur in the transformation of an organizational field. The rhetorical strategies implemented here contribute to modifying institutional logic and links the neo-institutional approach with entrepreneurship by proposing to define the institutional entrepreneur as an actor pursuing political opportunities.