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Investments in consumer relationships: a critical reassessment and model extension

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This study is a critical reassessment and extension of De Wulf et al.'s (2001) framework investigating retail investments in consumer relationships. Their initial model relates four types of relationship marketing efforts to perceived relationship investment, in turn influencing relationship quality and ultimately behavioural loyalty. Based upon signalling theory, we extend this model by introducing product and service efforts as additional antecedents. Moreover, in contrast to the use of self-reported measures in the initial model, we apply customer database information in order to measure the construct of behavioural loyalty. Based upon 187 consumers reporting on their relationship with a Belgian apparel retailer, the SEM results provide guidelines for retailers how to increase the quality of their relationships with consumers by strengthening consumers' perceptions of relationship investment.

Keywords: Consumer relationships; SEM; loyalty; relationship quality; retail

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor in Marketing Ghent University Bellevue 6 9050 Ledeberg (Gent) Belgium 2: Associate Professor in Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Maastricht University PO Box 616 6200 MD Maastricht The Netherlands 3: Associate Professor in Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Ghent University Hoveniersberg 25 9000 Gent Belgium

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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