Challenges for the Trade of Central and Southeast Europe: Volume 29

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Table of contents

(16 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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About the Authors

Pages ix-xii
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Preface

Page xiii
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Purpose

Retail, by definition, used to be an industry focused on local markets and aiming to distribute goods to consumers in a narrow geographical area. In developed market economies, the internationalization of retail operations started with global sourcing, while in Eastern Europe the process of retail internationalization intensified after the fall of communism in late 1980s and early 1990s. Although there are plenty of papers discussing the conceptual framework of retail internationalization, publications analyzing the present level of internationalization and the current status of specific geographic markets are scarce. Therefore, this chapter will analyze and compare the Croatian and Polish markets in order to explain the paths and drivers of retail internationalization in postcommunist economies.

Design/methodology/approach

Research has focused on the Polish and Croatian markets. The first and second part of the chapter explain retail internationalization per se on the basis of existing relevant literature, as well as elaborate on the process of retail internationalization in the postcommunist economies of Poland and Croatia. The main part of the chapter presents the results of a comparative study. This comparative study has been based on secondary data available in official statistical publications of Poland, Croatia, and European Union. As the source of information on large retailers, secondary data has been used as well. Our research analyzes key trends and calculates and presents key indicators showing the importance of retail in national economies.

Findings

Both Croatia and Poland are considered attractive host markets for the largest global retailers. Dynamics and intensity of retail internationalization have been different, but the process of retail internationalization is currently intensified in both countries. Retail internationalization is changing the scope of domestic market conditions. Several indicators and effects are observed in this chapter: growth of larger formats within the retail structure, growth in the number of employees per outlet, and growth of the share of trade in GDP creation.

Originality/value

The chapter explains the process of retail internationalization and the level of retail internationalization reached in Croatia and Poland. International retailers from different countries entered the Polish and Croatian markets driven by opportunities offered by these non-saturated markets. The process of internationalization, which is currently intensified, is analyzed in this chapter. Poland and Croatia are markets and countries with similar socioeconomic development. Therefore, this chapter contributes to a better understanding of retail internationalization and its effects on transitional, postcommunist economies.

Purpose

This chapter explains the interrelationships between trade markets of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, which have experienced the same political, economical, and social changes due to their postwar market orientation. Particularly, the research is focused on the relationships between retailers and their suppliers, the effects of 2008 financial crisis, and changes in customer behavior on those markets.

Design/methodology/approach

The chapter builds upon the investigation of the existing literature on trade in selected Southeast European (SEE) countries targeting three time-periods: planned economy era; period after the launch of the economic transition; and the European Union (EU) accession preparation era. The supporting fieldwork is based on qualitative interviews with senior managers in trade companies operating on all investigated markets. Results are compared with other secondary data sources.

Findings

The research has contributed to the understanding of similarities and differences on three markets of former Yugoslavia: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Four areas are used as a framework for explaining the level of cooperation and interdependence between trade companies on investigated markets: changes in retail forms, growth in retail operations, increasing importance of the relationships with suppliers, and penetration of private labels.

Practical implications

Results of the study provides some directions for suppliers on the selected markets and for retailers as well. As retailers rely on their key suppliers, local suppliers should offer them elements of differentiation. On the other hand, results give an insight into actual situation on the markets of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia regarding retail structure, number of retail forms, private labels, etc.

Originality/value

Considering an extensive literature review, the analysis of data given in official statistical databases, as well as qualitative study among trade managers, these findings have important managerial implications for retailers and suppliers.

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Purpose

This chapter highlights the importance of eco-quality and eco-standards as a determinant of socially responsible trading management and marketing. Starting from the premise that ecology internationalizes and becomes determinant of socially responsible marketing and management, we analyse trade competitiveness based on quality, marketing strategy for quality in trade, and correlation of trade and ecology.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on literature about quality and quality management, this chapter starts with an analysis of the importance of quality for trade and marketing strategy for quality in trade. Analysis shows that the issue of quality has always been present in trade, but mostly as a commercial requirement in the forming and functioning of buying and selling relations. However, the quality of products and services that are subject of buying and selling relations between producers, trade, and consumers cannot be viewed outside of space and time. It has its own evolution, which is closely related to the needs and demands of consumers. Historically observing, it can be concluded that the quality of the trade in market-developed countries has evolved from elementary characteristics of assortment quality (durability, utility), over the quality of service, to the eco-quality. Direction of quality evolution was determined by development of ecological awareness regarding vulnerability of the nature and environment. This is why the economies of certain countries are at different levels in terms of ecological economics and eco-quality.

Findings

It’s discovered that the consumer creates direction of evolution of eco-marketing and eco-management. He is becoming an active participant in the creation of “eco-package offer” of trading enterprises. Obliviousness of the eco-quality aspect, from trade toward the customer, represents an antimarketing act. Ecologically irresponsible management has double “punishment.” On the one hand, “punishment” comes from the consumer who does not buy the product, and on the other hand, socioeconomic environment is punishing it by using “polluter pays” principle. In order to act as an incentive for the creation of an eco-responsible marketing management, European Union (EU), World Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have established a Fund for protection of the environment. Countries with recent label “in transition” (Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia) are allocating 2% of GDP for protection of the environment, while our country allocates less than 1% of GDP.

Originality/value

The chapter provides a starting point for further research in the field of ecological aspects of trade and correlation of trade and ecology.

Purpose

This chapter focuses on the healthy lifestyle desideratum stretching out of the public policy realm to become a business interest in established and emerging economies. It is argued that retailers, through their marketing and social responsibility strategies, evolve into promoters of a healthy lifestyle at both social and individual levels. The selected examples from Poland illustrate how food retailers, particularly fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retailers, respond to the healthy lifestyle desideratum within an emerging economy.

Methodology/approach

A qualitative approach is taken. The role and potential activities of retailers to promote a healthy lifestyle are identified by theoretical studies. Then, retailers’ involvement in developing the ‘health and wellness’ market segment as a market opportunity is justified by analyses of competitive trends in Polish retailing. The marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices of leading Polish retailers (representatives of different organisational forms) contributing to the development of a healthy lifestyle are presented. Data are drawn from companies’ web pages, interviews, magazines and research agencies.

Findings

Recent experience in Poland confirms the finding from previous research that the retail sector in emerging economies is rapidly progressing towards catching up with well-established practices in developed countries. On the demand side, this process is fostered by the rise of middle-class consumers, while on the supply side, the key driver is the fierce competition among international chains and domestic distributors.

Practical implications

Examples drawn from Polish retailing represent good business practices, the relevance of which stretches beyond their local context and renders these business practices shareable.

Social implications

Awareness is raised of the importance of progressing towards a healthy lifestyle; pragmatic advice is provided on how retailers from an emerging economy can enable changes in consumers’ behaviour.

Originality/value

The business focus on healthy lifestyle development fills a knowledge gap since health science perspectives still prevail in mainstream research on the topic.

Purpose

The aims of this article are threefold. First of all, to show the concept of value to customers as a determiner of a company’s competitive advantage. Second, to explain the changing role of marketing activities toward social responsibility. Third, to assess the influence of social marketing activities on a company’s image and the resulting value to customers.

Design/methodology/approach

By drawing on existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and marketing literature, the achievements and gaps of socially responsible marketing (SRM) can be demonstrated. In addition, the literature review focuses on showing the relationship between SRM and value to a customer. In order to achieve the purposes of the chapter, an analysis of market research based on secondary data as well as qualitative interviews has been conducted.

Findings

Marketing activities should accomplish both economic and social objectives as well as aim at delivering expected value to customers. Nowadays value comes not only from lower prices or a better product range. According to research, customers are becoming increasingly sensitive to evil and to social injustice, damage to the environment, as well as the increasing level of poverty. This makes companies develop new strategies for creating value for customers. These should come from socially responsible activities the company is undertaking. Thus, companies, which implement a concept of SRM, are more likely to count on increased interest and loyalty from their customers.

Originality/value

This chapter offers a fresh approach to the study of the evolution of marketing toward social responsibility and the impact on the value for customers.

Purpose

The goal of this chapter is to analyse the decisions of the Croatian Competition Agency in the field of grocery retail mergers in the 2004–2009 period. In particular, various criteria used by the Competition Agency to evaluate grocery retail mergers are identified and discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the comparative approach the author attempts to detect the relevant sources for certain solutions embraced by the Competition Agency by examining especially the relevant practice of the European Commission as well as relevant decisions adopted by some competition authorities in EU member states.

Findings

The grocery retail market in Croatia has seen a flurry of mergers since 2004 with the largest competitor spreading to various local markets. For the Croatian competition authority this merger wave has perhaps been the biggest challenge since its inception. In the face of growing market concentration, the authority saw fit to shift from initially providing green light to duly notified transactions to subsequently addressing serious competition concerns by ordering a number of remedies. The Croatian competition authority relied extensively on EU acquis when deciding on specific merger cases, especially as regards the relevant market definition.

Originality/value

The value of the chapter is reflected in the fact that this kind of comparative analysis of Croatian merger cases in the field of grocery retail mergers was not available before. It is especially in the light of the accession of Croatia to the EU, as foreseen on 1 July 2013, that this kind of study becomes useful both for domestic but also EU audience.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter was to investigate consumer perceptions of retail agglomeration (RA) characteristics in Zagreb region. Perceived RA characteristics were compared between two major types of RA: Planned retail agglomerations (PRA) and Evolved retail agglomerations (ERA).

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected with consumer survey and analyzed using descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Findings

Findings indicate that four factors of RA characteristics can be identified: convenience, accessibility, atmosphere, and image. The shoppers’ ratings indicate the strength and weaknesses of RA, and also the dominant position of PRA as compared to evolved RA.

Originality/value

Results show that there were significant differences in shoppers’ perceptions between Planned and evolved RA in Zagreb region. Shoppers evaluated PRA better than ERA on all four factors. Convenience and atmosphere are the best-rated PRA characteristics. Managerial implications are discussed in the study.

Purpose

This study analyses direct effects of risk-related factors on perceived quality for private labels.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 159 usable data was collected through survey, using mall intercept method in one regional retail chain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Findings

The results confirm that the perceived risk has a significant and negative impact on consumers’ perceptions of the quality of private labels, and that the financial risk, performance risk, and physical risk are significant determinants of overall perceived risk, thus indirectly influencing the perception of the quality of these brands.

Originality/value

This chapter shows that the perceived quality of private labels is significantly determined by the perceived risk to which consumers are exposed. The findings of this research can help retailers in terms of adequately defining marketing policies aimed at reducing the perceived risk that consumers are exposed to when purchasing their own brands.

Purpose

This chapter explores the relationship between impulsive online purchasing and the features of online consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

The data was collected through a survey questionnaire using the purposive sample of 240 Croatian consumers from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The data was analysed using factor analysis and one-way analysis of variance.

Findings

Research results indicate that Croatian online consumers are influenced by two major factors, impulsiveness and recreational factor. Based on the obtained results, profiles of Croatian online consumers can be identified.

Research limitations/implications

The sample contained Internet users from one Croatian county only, which possibly limits the generalisation of the findings. Future research should include Internet users from other Croatian counties, as well as their socio-economic characteristics.

Practical implications

The findings may be useful to online retailers, as well as marketers and practitioners to recognise and understand the determinants of online purchasing behaviour in order to convert casual online visitors to buyers and to encourage impulsivity in online buying behaviour.

Originality/value

The research provides new insights into impulsive purchasing behaviour of Croatian consumers in the online retailing environment.

DOI
10.1108/S1876-066X(2013)29
Publication date
2013-10-21
Book series
International Business and Management
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78190-832-7
eISBN
978-1-78190-833-4
Book series ISSN
1876-066X