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Affecting Customer Loyalty
Customer Grade Course
This research study introduces a comprehensive conceptual framework of customer loyalty within the retail sector. It emphasizes on the perceived loyalty amongst fast moving consumer goods and attempts to explore the moderating effects of the various different factors that might influence them.
The researcher will begin by creating an understanding of the term "customer loyalty" and its significance importance in the retail sector. Additionally, the researcher shall also attempt to explore the purchase decisions made by the consumers and what really prompts them to be loyal to certain brands of product while simultaneously evaluating the importance of price, quality, brand or any other factor that might impact their loyalty status and purchase decision.
Finally, the research study will conclude by delineating the factors which impacts consumer loyalty at the same time trying to establish a means of measuring the impact of consumer loyalty within certain products in the retail sector.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1: Introduction
Relevance of the Proposed Research to Business Research
Key Research Studies and Relevant Bodies of Theory
Section 2: Account of Method
a) Secondary Research
b) Primary Research
Section C: Discussion
How the Methodology addresses the Research Question
The purpose of this research proposal is to delineate the concept of customer loyalty and determine the various set of factors which might impact consumers' loyalty within the retail sector.
Moreover, here the researcher shall be examining this conundrum by not only investigating the different authors' insight into the realm of customer loyalty but also by conducting a primary research in order to gain a better understanding of the factors affecting customer loyalty
Relevance of the Proposed Research to Business Research
Fast moving consumer goods within the retail sector, are goods that are sold relatively quickly in high volumes and lower prices. When it comes to such items, customer loyalty plays a colossal role. The proposed research will help glean into the level of customer loyalty engaged within such goods and how this can be enhanced.
Key Research Studies and Relevant Bodies of Theory
A customer can be defined as a person who becomes acclimatizes to buying from you or your company. This custom is developed through purchase and interaction on recurrent occasions over a consistent period of time. However, until there is no repeat purchases this person is only your buyer. Lowenstein, Michael W. (1997) A true customer is then said to be developed over time. Customer loyalty on the other hand is when a buyer tends to make repeat purchases on regular intervals, across various products and services. Additionally he or she also refers your products to their friends, family and peers and at the same time displays a strong resistance towards the pull of your competitors.
Customer loyalty is a very strong and reliable indicator of a company's sales as well as financial growth. Lowenstein, Michael W. (1997) Customer loyalty can be best explained as an attitudinal state which reflects trust, value, and commitment within the relationship between the suppliers and the customers. Satisfaction is one of several predecessors of loyalty. One of the most important aspect influencing loyalty amongst customers is the basic offer of a unique value-delivering advantage be derived or provided by competitors. Thus firms need to develop positive value-based exit barriers to achieve loyalty. Additionally the collection and monitoring of customer data is needed for success and two-way communication is vital. Buttle, Francis (2006)
Substantial Research has been carried out from time to time in order to determine the reasons behind a consumer's loyalty within the retail sector and what stimulates it. Many of these consumer decisions are triggered by product's quality, attributes and prices while others arise internally from consumers' own emotions, feelings or perceptions associated with a certain brand or the environment surrounding it. (Hawkins, Del., Best, Roger., Coney, Kennedy., 1995)
Research Questions to be Investigated
The key research objectives that will be evaluated within the course of this study include:
An in-depth examination of the term "customer loyalty" with the retail sector and its relevance to the marketers as well as the consumers.
An exhibition of the various different antecedents that is likely to impact customer loyalty.
To distinguish between customer loyalty and repeat purchase behavior
To ascertain the impact of consumer purchase patterns on customer loyalty
An assessment of various factors such as demographics, psychographics and life styles and their impact on customer loyalty.
During the course of this study, the researcher shall discuss the importance of customer loyalty within the retail sector in the United Kingdom. Here, the customer loyalty pyramid shall be explained, followed by why companies aim to maintain a culture that is totally committed to their customers. For such companies creating and at the same time sustaining customer perceived value is paramount. Additionally this research will also be exploring the development of the customer retention culture as well as the Seven-S Framework developed by the McKinsey & Company and how it helps companies scale its customer loyalty. Griffin, Jill. (2002)
ACCOUNT OF METHOD
Choosing between the various different methods of research is a crucial stage. It is the research design that coordinates the methodology with the stated objectives of the research.
Keeping in mind, the research topic, the researcher shall mainly adopt an exploratory approach throughout the course of study. The primary aim would be to get a strong grasp on an understanding of the notion of what really influences customer loyalty and its relevant underlying areas such as customer preferences, attitudes, lifestyles and purchasing patterns.
Additionally, a descriptive approach will also be adopted at a number of places in order to provide an accurate snapshot of some of the key aspects of market and customer segmentation. This will not only help in developing a tentative and speculative hypotheses but will also be helpful in evaluating and assessing the impact of various factors such as price, promotion, perceived risks etc. On customers' loyalty towards any certain fast moving consumer good.
Secondary data is an integral part of any research. It not only serves as a reference base for comparing the accuracy and validity of the primary research. But in fact, it is also a cheap, cost effective way of gathering important data that will assist the researcher throughout the course of study. (Aaker, Kumar & Day)
As part of the secondary research, a number of books, research journals, magazines, periodicals, newspapers and most importantly the internet will be referred to in order to gain a better insight about the factors inhibiting customer loyalty.
Many times secondary research may not just be sufficient enough, especially when it comes to understanding the various consumer purchase patterns, behavior, product usage or even when seeking their psychological or socio-cultural information. Schiffman, Kanul., (2001) This gives rise to the need for primary research. Primary Research can be defined as the data that is collected first hand in order to solve a specific problem at hand. Fleming, D. & Domegan, C., (2003)
A major portion of the data that will be collected for the purpose of analysis will be through the circulation of Survey questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Moreover, keeping in mind the nature of the research, the researcher will be particularly be leaning towards Qualitative Research. These are collection of data that is open to interpretation and may also not be required to be validated statistically. Additionally it not only helps to evaluate what is in the minds of the consumers but also allows you to discover their feelings, thoughts, behavior and expectations. Fleming, D. & Domegan, C., (2003)
In order to conduct a cost effective and an accurate primary research, the researcher shall first start with a simple, approximately ten minutes self administered survey questionnaire to gauge the factors that impact customer loyalty within the retail sector. This however seems to be the most feasible starting point and will be targeted towards approximately five hundred target respondents. The respondents will be chosen at random and will mainly comprise of the researcher's friends, family, peers and co-workers. Each of the questions in the questionnaire survey will be constructed carefully using simple and easy wordings that are self explanatory thus avoiding any ambiguity or uncertainty.
Furthermore, apart from this the sampling frame would be based on simple and convenient random probability sample frame. This would mainly comprise of in-depth interviews with professionals belonging to the retail sector. These are an unstructured and a direct way of obtaining the required information. Fleming, D. & Domegan, C., (2003) This would in turn help in assessing their views regarding customer loyalty and what are the factors that actually impacts customer loyalty. These interviews will help in understanding the information gained through the survey questionnaires and allow the researcher to take this study a step further. Moreover, the use of these in-depth interviews (both structured and…[continue]
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