Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Key Factors Affecting Customer Satisfaction with Iranian Retailer Stores: Evidence from Hypermarkets and Supermarkets

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Key Factors Affecting Customer Satisfaction with Iranian Retailer Stores: Evidence from Hypermarkets and Supermarkets

Article excerpt

Modern retailers such as hypermarket/supermarket need to be more customer-oriented to survive in today's competitive business world. Therefore, these service organizations are looking for ways and means to deliver better consumer value, and to increase consumers' purchase intentions. Organizations can differentiate themselves by making their services easier to consume, that is, more convenient. The study aims to measure the key factors that can influence customer satisfaction in the retailing industry in two different types of grocery stores (hypermarket and supermarket). In order to assess these factors, a sample of 375 buyers was selected from Tabriz, one of the Iran's city. The findings reveal the factors that play a greater role in customer satisfaction, thereby enabling the retail management to meet the customers' needs.

Introduction

The service industry, and in particular the retail market, has been vital to the world economy, and has faced tough competition in the recent economic crisis. The modern retail industry is booming across the world. Therefore, it is essential for retailers to use strategies which focus on satisfying the current customers. Supermarkets and Hypermarkets have played an important role in the distribution of food since their arrival into the market. The existence of traditional markets is gradually being replaced by supermarkets which cater to the basic grocery needs of the people. Grocery stores have become the most important food source for many households.

Grocery shopping is an essential activity which provides the basic requirement of food acquisition (Khan, 1981). The pursuit of satisfying customers is considered as one of the most critical objectives undertaken by organizations (Oliver, 1997). Those organizations which satisfy the customers have been shown to benefit from higher revenues (Gomez et al., 2004) and market shares (Anderson et al., 2004). As a marketing satisfaction forms an affective judgment based on whether an experience (product, service, etc.) gratifies certain pre-conceived needs (Oliver, 1997).

Therefore, it would be interesting for grocery retailers, as service providers, to determine whether the main objective should be satisfying consumers through performance or delivering the maximum level of perceived service quality (Spreng and MacKoy, 1996). Providing an assortment of products and services is one of the basic functions of a retailer (Levy and Weitz, 2008). As a key component of the marketing mix, assortment represents a strategic positioning tool for customer acquisition and retention (Grewal et al., 1999; Kahn, 1999; Koelemeijer and Oppewal, 1999; and Stassen et al., 1999). From the consumers' perspective, assortment plays a fundamental role in store choice (Kelly and Stephenson, 1967; Zimmer and Golden, 1988; Kahn, 1999; and Briesch et al., 2009). The decision about the quality, price levels, and variety of the assortment determines the retailer's market position and image (Kunkel and Berry, 1968; Lindquist, 1974-1975; Mazursky and Jacoby, 1986; Ailawadi and Keller, 2004; and Mantrala et al., 2009). Assortment planning is one of the most challenging tasks in retailing. Especially, the dynamics in consumer perceptions and preferences (e.g., desire of variety and flexibility, preference instability), retailer constraints (e.g., physical space, budget), and changing environmental factors (e.g., competition-related assortment trends, economic conditions) contribute to the huge difficulty of assortment planning (Mantrala et al., 2009). Regardless of any strategic or operational challenges, consumers expect retailers to offer the right mix of products, at the right price, with the right promotions, at the right time and at the right place (Gruen and Shah, 2000).

According to Asubonteng et al. (1996), due to intense competition and hostility of environmental factors, service quality has become a cornerstone marketing strategy for companies. …

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