Relationship Marketing and Customer Loyalty in a Retail Setting: A Dyadic Exploration
Customer loyalty is increasingly seen to be crucial to the success of business organisations, with the growing realisation that attracting new customers is far more expensive than retaining existing ones. It has been suggested that a way of increasing customer retention is through secure relationships between buyers and sellers. Surprisingly, however, and despite the growing body of literature on relationship marketing issues, little empirical research has been conducted on the link between relationship marketing and customer loyalty in a retailing context. This paper attempts to address this gap by presenting and testing a conceptual model of the process by which the implementation of relationship marketing can enhance such loyalty. A dyadic exploratory study of clothing store managers and their customers was conducted. Findings reveal that customers' perceptions of clothing stores' relationship marketing efforts are crucial to enhanced commitment and loyalty. Implications are drawn from these results, and future research directions are discussed.