A planned study of the impact of B2C logistics service quality on shopper satisfaction and loyalty

Purpose of the paper: This paper reports on an in-progress study of the impact of business to consumer (B2C) logistics service quality (LSQ) on in-store shopper satisfaction and loyalty.

Methodology: A comparative research approach is being used across the UK, France and Germany to also investigate country-specific differences of consumer shopping behaviour and channel strategies. The first stage, in-line with a deliberate integrated supply chain approach, consists of structured in-depth interviews conducted with managers at the producer/retailer interface, e.g. producer category captains and retail category managers. This qualitative stage will be followed-up by a quantitative survey stage targeting consumers as shoppers to determine how their expectations of retail LSQ and associated activities influence their satisfaction and ongoing loyalty.

Findings: A broad literature review has generated over 40 variables of interest for both LSQ and loyalty, and almost 10 variables of satisfaction. This study will contribute theoretically by considering a B2C setting for LSQ, which is the final aspect of point of origin to point-of-consumption, whereas most general LSQ literature and LSQs impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty has been dominated by business to business (B2B) designs from point-of-origin to point of sale, that is they assume consumer expectations are a given or a different domain.

Research limitations: Although covering three major European grocery retail markets, this study might not be considered as representative, especially when adopting a world-wide perspective.

Practical implications: As this study emphasises consequences of B2C LSQ on downstream or consumer satisfaction and loyalty, rather than considering the upstream origins of related problems that dominate extant research, it will contribute practically by providing managers with an understanding of the components of LSQ considered critical by consumers.

Originality of the paper: LSQ in this study is considered to be a holistic concept and not limited to specific dimensions and trade-offs, for example on-shelf availability versus out-of-stock situations.

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