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Title: Relationship quality and customer loyalty in internet grocery shopping in the UK
Authors: Lu, Xiaoming (Lucy)
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: © Xiaoming (Lucy) Lu
Abstract: Despite the growing body of literature on online loyalty issues, little research has been conducted on the link between relationship quality (RQ) and customer loyalty in the context of Internet grocery shopping. The existing literature on electronic retailing does not explain the differences in loyalty across product and service categories. As shopping for groceries is generally an activity repeated at regular time intervals, consumers' behaviours is likely to be very different when purchasing goods and services which are only needed occasionally. Due to the frequency of grocery purchase, a relationship is likely to be developed between customers and the retailer. Whilst perceived service quality and customer satisfaction have been recognised as antecedents of customer loyalty in previous studies, it is not understood whether RQ adds any additional effect over the traditional measure such as perceived service quality and customer satisfaction in determining loyalty in Internet grocery shopping. Therefore, this study attempts to address this research gap by incorporating a RQ perspective, as well as customer satisfaction and perceived service quality. Building on an extensive literature review, RQ is conceptualised and examined for its theoretical applicability via an initial qualitative study, followed by a quantitative phase using structural equation modelling analysis with the data collected by an esurvey of 519 Internet grocery shoppers. The results show that RQ is positively associated with customer loyalty in Internet grocery shopping. Among the dimensions of RQ, relationship satisfaction has the strongest direct effect on the formation of customer loyalty. In addition, loyalty can be also developed through perceived relational investment and affective commitment. Moreover, it is found that perceived relational investment from the Internet grocery retailer indirectly influence customer loyalty. Contrary to expectation, trust plays a very unimportant role in developing customer loyalty in Internet grocery shopping. The finding also indicates that e-service quality has a significant effect on e-satisfaction in Internet grocery shopping. In order to see whether the multi-component RQ model can perform better than the global RQ model, a comparison is made between the aggregated and the disaggregated model of RQ. The results indicate that the disaggregated model performs much better than the aggregated one.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/8033
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Business School)

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