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Antecedents of specialty food store loyalty

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Specialty food stores have experienced strong growth in the US in the past decade. Research on food retailing, however, has typically focused on large chains rather than specialty retailers. This paper reports on a study that investigated factors influencing specialty food store loyalty. Data were collected through a survey of 495 specialty store consumers in 10 US cities where a national specialty food retailer (i.e., Whole Foods) was present. Findings indicate that specialty store loyalty is influenced by satisfaction through trust and commitment. Price, when compared to service, product quality, and product assortment, was a less important determinant of satisfaction. Specialty store loyalty is most strongly influenced by commitment. The results of this study suggest that specialty food retailers should enhance customer satisfaction by focusing more on product quality, service quality, and product assortment rather than price. Retailers should emphasize building customer trust and commitment.

Keywords: commitment; loyalty; satisfaction; specialty food store; transaction costs

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593969.2011.652646

Affiliations: Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing, 309 Communication Arts & Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing,48824, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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