ارتباط بازاریابی در زمینه B2C: نقش تعدیل کننده ویژگی های شخصیتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|24013||2010||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 17, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 73-79
More and more, retailers are investing in relationship building as a strategy for enhancing customer retention in the business-to-customer (B2C) context. However, some marketing scholars have expressed concern over the usefulness of relationship marketing under certain conditions. As such, this study investigates the moderating role of personality traits on the relationship between satisfaction-driven relationship quality and behavioral loyalty. Based on a sample of 158 retail shoppers, we find that customers’ overall satisfaction with the retailer leads to quality customer–firm relationships and ultimately, behavioral loyalty to the retailer. We also found that the impact of relationship quality on behavioral loyalty depends on the consumer's personality traits, i.e., consumer innovativeness, variety seeking, and relationship proneness. These findings extend the extant relationship literature by showing that the value of relationship marketing is not universal, thereby refining our understanding of the relationship between customer behavior and relationship marketing. Implications for academics and managers are discussed.
The importance of developing quality customer–firm relationships is evidenced by the proliferation of research on relationship marketing (Palmatier et al., 2006, Parvatiyar and Sheth, 2000; Verhoef et al., 2002) and the number of firms investing in customer retention and loyalty building strategies (e.g., American Express, Subaru). However, within the relationship marketing body of knowledge, a stream of research warns that the benefits derived from building long-lasting relationships does not mean that firms should invest in building relationships with all customers under all conditions (Berry, 1995; Noordewier et al., 1990). For example, Noordewier et al. (1990) cautions that the value of relationship building is not context free since improving relationships enhances the firm's performance only under certain conditions. Additionally, Gummesson (1995) counsels that, since relationship building may not be beneficial under all conditions, marketers should identify the conditions under which relationship marketing (RM) is beneficial in achieving the firm's specific objectives. In fact, Gummesson (1995) and Hunt (2002) warn that, under certain conditions, firms should avoid building long-term relationships. Despite the apprehensiveness over the universal benefits of relationship building as a strategy, the RM literature still lacks research on when firms should and should not build relationships with consumers. Our review of the RM literature and Palmatier et al. (2006) meta-analysis showed that moderation or contingent effects in the existing relation marketing research have focused primarily on firm level factors. Specifically, what is relatively lacking is research that refines our understanding of consumer behavior with regards to relationship marketing. The current study fills this gap in the RM literature by investigating whether the value of relationship marketing is contingent on the personality of the consumer/shopper in question or not. Such a study is crucial because as much as firms are investing in relationship management programs, these relationships result in “premature” death. One way of preventing the premature death of business-to-customer (B2C) relationships is for the former to attain true customer intimacy, through a holistic understanding of customer behavior (Fournier et al., 1998). Moreover, the only way to know whether a firm should even invest in building relationships with its customers is to understand how different consumers respond to the firm's relationship building efforts. In other words, marketers cannot design the right RM strategy unless they have a holistic understanding of consumer behavior. As such, the purpose of this study is to investigate whether in a retail context, the impact of satisfaction-driven relationship quality on behavioral loyalty depends on the personality traits (innovativeness, variety seeking, and relationship proneness) of the consumer. The basic premise of the study is that relationship building may not be a useful customer retention tool for all customers. By showing how customers with different personalities respond to a retailer's relationship building efforts, we hope to contribute to the RM literature by showing that all customers do not respond in the same way to relationship building. Rather, customers with different personality traits respond differently. Based on a sample of 158 shoppers, we found that overall satisfaction drives relationship quality, which in turn leads to behavioral loyalty. More importantly, we demonstrate that the impact of relationship quality on behavioral loyalty depends on the customer's level of innovativeness, variety seeking, and relationship proneness. These findings extend the relationship marketing literature and contribute to our understanding of the value of RM as a strategy in the B2C context. Based on these results we discuss the implications of the study for retailers.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results and implications drawn from the study should be viewed with certain limitations in mind. First, the data were collected from customers of firms in a single industry. As such, it is possible that the results obtained from the data may not apply to other industries. However, since we included different types and sizes of stores we found no reason to believe that the use of the clothing industry alone may impact our results. To yield more conclusive results, future research could replicate this study in other sectors/industries with varying levels of switching costs. Additionally, the personality traits used in the current study are not comprehensive. We assessed only the facets of personality that the literature suggests are most relevant to consumers’ switching behavior (Hircshman, 1980; Kahn, 1998; Manning et al., 1995; Raju, 1980). In the future, it will be useful to include other relevant personality constructs that could capture more variance in the model. This study set out to investigate whether relationship marketing as a strategy is always valuable in the business-to-consumer (B2C) context or not. We examined whether consumers with different personality traits (consumer innovativeness, variety seeking, and relationship proneness) exhibit different behavioral outcomes of customer–firm relationships. Specifically, we examined whether the impact of relationship quality depends on the personality of the consumer. This study has implications for both marketing theory and practice. Our overall model was largely supported. We found that a customer's satisfaction with the retailer leads to quality B2C relationships. This finding echoes the philosophy of firms who make customer satisfaction strategies one of their top priorities. In addition, the results indicate that relationship quality has a positive influence on behavioral loyalty. This finding is consistent with De Wulf et al. (2001) and emphasizes the overall importance of relationship marketing. As expected, customers with quality B2C relationships buy more and also spend a higher proportion of their expenditure for clothing in the focal store. This study has several theoretical implications for marketing academics. For one, it contributes to existing B2C relationship marketing research by showing that the usefulness of RM as a strategy for improving customer retention issues like behavioral loyalty is not universal; rather, it depends on the customer's personality. This extends the current relationship marketing literature by refining our understanding of the appropriateness of building long-term relationships with consumers. The finding that the impact of B2C relationship quality on behavioral loyalty (as measured by share of wallet and frequency of purchase) is contingent on the consumer's innovativeness, variety seeking behavior, and relationship proneness has several implications for managers. The results imply that the development of strong relationships may not always lead to higher levels of sales generated from some consumers simply because of their personality traits. Consumers who are more innovative and/or seek variety have an inherent need to switch from product to product or from store to store in search of new and a varied of options (Hirschman and Stern, 2001). Additionally, customers who are less prone to forming relationships are more inclined to switch from store to store (De Wulf et al., 2001). Such customers are just not predisposed to forming relationships with stores (Christy et al., 1996). Managers can use different strategies to appeal to and retain different customers. For example, managers of the clothing stores in our study may be able to increase behavioral loyalty of their innovative and variety seeking consumers by frequently offering new products and changing the displays in the stores. However, the store needs to consistently offer some unchanged products in order not to alienate less innovative or less variety seeking consumers. For variety seeking consumers, managers may enhance behavioral loyalty by frequently providing new information on products and services as well as new and exciting things the store is doing. With the prolific use of loyalty cards these days, firms can go a step further than merely offering a wide variety of products and services. Retailers can gather personality data via either online or paper surveys. The information obtained can then be used to segment the firms market based on personality traits. Here, customized and appropriate promotional strategies can be targeted towards specific segments. Further, appropriate levels of investments in RM can be made in those customers who are more likely to reciprocate by remaining behaviorally loyal to the firm. In sum, the study indicates that relationship building may not always be an effective way to elicit behavioral loyalty. In terms of enhancing behavioral loyalty, the value of RM is contingent on the personality of the consumer in question. Specifically, for customers with higher levels of innovativeness and variety seeking, as well as those with low levels of relationship proneness, RM may not be an effective tactic for improving behavioral loyalty since such customers are inclined to switch from one store to the other. This further emphasizes the importance of gathering customer information to a marketer. These findings are in line with current relationship marketing research that suggests customers should be segmented and prioritized in order to more efficiently use marketing resources (Rust et al., 2000). All customers should not be marketed to in the same way. Personal characteristics, such as personality traits, make a difference in the way customers should be reached. This is an interesting and crucial finding considering the high level of attention RM is receiving as a customer retention strategy.