Assessing Grocery Store Attraction via Cross-Shopping Linkages – Services

Assessing Grocery Store Attraction via Cross-Shopping Linkages - ServicesConsumer Characteristics / Intra-type Competition
The second tenet of The Principle of Natural Dominance is that intra-type competition is greater than inter-type competition. In a follow-up to her seminal research, Hirschman examined more than 25 consumer characteristics of department store shoppers. She found that traditional department store customers come from a higher social class and possess greater education compared to customers who frequent national and discount department store. Similarly, using panel data Leszczyc and Timmermans developed consumer profiles for grocery store shoppers. They examined differences in shopping behavior based on sociodemographic variables such as income, hours worked, and household size and concluded that sociodemographic variables would be useful for store managers to target cross-shoppers.
Retailer characteristics / intra-type competition
Of particular interest to the current study are retailer characteristics used to examine cross-shopping behavior within specific retailing formats (i.e., intra-type competition). Hirschman emphasized the need for retailers to recognize that intra-type retail competition would be more intense than inter-type competition. As competition increases among stores operating with similar formats it becomes imperative for the retailer to find new strategies for differentiation. Previous research has examined variables such as pricing strategies, store image, product brand dimensions, store services.
Of the four research categories discussed the current study focuses on the latter (i.e., retailer characteristics / intra-type competition). Specifically, it has been suggested in the literature that offering private label brands (Corstjens & Lal, 2000) and service quality (Huddleston, Whipple, Mattick, & So, 2009) can influence store loyalty and cross-shopping behavior. Following is a discussion of the use of private labels and service quality to limit cross-shopping behavior.
Private Label Branding
Retailers rely on private label branded products to differentiate themselves from the competition and extensive research has provided mixed results regarding the role of private label brands in creating store loyalty. Indeed, Ngobo and Fontenelle and Pereira found that offering private label brands can be a key strategy to building store loyalty. Richardson and Jain proposed a model of store brand proneness and found that store brand quality and value influence consumer attitudes toward store brands. Bellizzi, Krueckeberg, Hamilton, & Martin and Ailawadi, Pauwels, & Steenkamp found a weak link between offering private label brands and store loyalty, and Corstjens and Lal found that offering private label brands can reduce consumer cross-shopping.
Quality service is an important attribute in the consumer decision-making process for store selection. Service quality affects store loyalty via influence on store image and customer satisfaction. Retailers have long recognized that one way to differentiate their stores is to offer high-quality service. In the grocery industry, the service component of store operations can be a key source of differentiation. While service quality has been researched in light of developing consumer loyalty, little research has been conducted regarding the influence of service quality on cross-shoppers. Previous cross-shopping research has addressed service related to sales associates, gift wrapping, and clothing alterations (Cassill & Williamson, 1994) and specialty retailers such as delicatessens.

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