Customer Store Loyalty: Process, Explanation Chain, and Moderating Factors

Customer Store Loyalty: Process, Explanation Chain, and Moderating Factors

Arturo Z. Vásquez-Párraga (The University of Texas – Pan American, USA), Miguel Ángel Sahagún (The University of Texas – Pan American, USA) and Pablo José Escobedo (The University of Texas – Pan American, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6074-8.ch005

Abstract

This chapter examines the process of how store customers become loyal to their stores. The authors pursue a theoretical and empirical research approach designed to identify and test a parsimonious model. The result is an explanation chain that incorporates relational variables, trust and commitment, satisfaction, and the moderating factors of the relational variables. The findings reveal that customer commitment is the major contributing explanation for true customer loyalty, significantly more than the contributed explanation of customer satisfaction. The cognitive moderating factors (store familiarity, store choice, customer perceived risk, and communication) and the affective moderating factors (customer opportunistic tendencies, consumer involvement, shared personal values, and shared management values) are significantly related to the core variables and thus contribute some explanation, yet their contribution is very small compared to the contribution of the core variables, thereby suggesting the significance of the core variables in the explanation of customer store loyalty.
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Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of this study focuses on true loyalty, the core process store customers use to achieve it, and the moderating forces and attitudes intervening in the process either as shapers of a common path in customer loyalty formation or modifiers of specific paths in customer loyalty implementation.

Customer Store Loyalty

Store customers develop loyalty in various representations. Some of these refer to behavior, such as going to the same store every week because the store is close to the consumer’s home, and others reflect attitudes such as cognitive and affective attitudes. Past studies have focused on behavioral loyalty and helped build customer loyalty programs that encourage customers to repeat purchase in the same stores. Loyalty programs do not attempt to proactively influence customer attitudes. Customer loyalty involves human behavior and attitudes, “a favorable correspondence between relative attitude and repeat patronage” (Dick & Basu, 1994).

Thus, following Dick and Basu (1994) and Oliver (2010), this study examines customer loyalty in its three phases, cognitive, affective, and behavioral. Behavior and attitudes operate in unison to generate customer store loyalty, true loyalty. True loyalty requires a meaningful presence of both positive attitudes and behavioral experience in consumers. The absence of attitudes limits the human experience to “spurious” loyalty and the absence of behavioral experience limits the attitudes to “latent” loyalty (Dick & Basu, 1994). “Spurious” loyalty is often represented or exemplified by repeat purchase and customer retention—themes that have been the focal point of abundant research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Customer Store Loyalty Explanation Chain: The process of customer loyalty is explained using three antecedents in a sequential order as follows: it starts with customer satisfaction, which influences trust. Trust is essentially linked to commitment as per previous literature, and commitment is the immediate antecedent of customer loyalty: Satisfaction ? trust ? commitment ? customer loyalty.

Vásquez-Alonso (A-V) Approach: Refers to the conceptual model designed to explain customer store loyalty using four core variables (customer satisfaction, trust, commitment, and loyalty) to account for the main effects, four cognitive variables (store familiarity, store choice, customer perceived risk, and communication) to moderate the effects of trust and commitment, and four affective variables (customer opportunism, consumer involvement, customer shared personal values, and customer shared management values) to moderate the effects of trust and commitment.

Customer Satisfaction: Customer’s fulfillment or gratification for buying or using a product or company.

Customer Store Loyalty: Long-term loyalty relationship of customers to their stores.

Customer Trust: Customer’s confidence in a product or person or company.

Customer Commitment: Customer’s engagement or continuing obligation to buy or use the same product or company.

Store Customer: Buyers and users of store products.

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