Making customer engagement fun

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  • Journal of Fashion Marketing and ManagementMaking customer engagement fun: Customer-salesperson interaction in luxury fashionretailingJieun Kim Jae-Eun Kim

    Article information:To cite this document:Jieun Kim Jae-Eun Kim , (2014),"Making customer engagement fun", Journal of Fashion Marketing andManagement, Vol. 18 Iss 2 pp. 133 - 144Permanent link to this document:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-04-2013-0050

    Downloaded on: 13 November 2014, At: 02:13 (PT)References: this document contains references to 60 other documents.To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.comThe fulltext of this document has been downloaded 1361 times since 2014*

    Users who downloaded this article also downloaded:Professor Ian Phau and Min Teah, RayeCarol Cavender, Doris H. Kincade, (2014),"Managementof a luxury brand: dimensions and sub-variables from a case study of LVMH", Journal of FashionMarketing and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 Iss 2 pp. 231-248 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-03-2013-0041Ian Phau, Min Teah, Jing Theng So, Andrew Grant Parsons, Sheau#Fen Yap, (2013),"Corporate branding,emotional attachment and brand loyalty: the case of luxury fashion branding", Journal of FashionMarketing and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 17 Iss 4 pp. 403-423 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-03-2013-0032Professor Ian Phau and Min Teah, Hye Jung Jung, Yuri Lee, HaeJung Kim, Heesoon Yang, (2014),"Impactsof country images on luxury fashion brand: facilitating with the brand resonance model", Journal of FashionMarketing and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 Iss 2 pp. 187-205 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-10-2013-0113

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    http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-04-2013-0050

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  • Making customer engagement funCustomer-salesperson interaction in luxury

    fashion retailingJieun Kim

    Department of Fashion Business, Sejong Cyber University, Seoul,Republic of Korea, and

    Jae-Eun KimBusiness School, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

    Abstract

    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate what values luxury customers may seekto fulfill during their interaction with salespersons and how perceived value fulfillment may impactsalesperson loyalty and store loyalty. The paper also examines the moderating effect of the degree offriendship with a salesperson.Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted a survey using a close-endedquestionnaire. In total, 22 luxury fashion brand stores located in eight of the largest departmentstores in Seoul, Korea, were selected as the luxury fashion retail context for the research. A total of 220questionnaires were used for data analysis.Findings Fulfillment of self-oriented values had a significant positive influence on store loyaltyand fulfillment of stimulation had a significant positive influence on salesperson loyalty. There wassignificant interaction effect between stimulation and degree of friendship on salesperson loyalty.Research limitations/implications The results of this study provide practical implications in themanagement of customer relationship. An emphasis on qualities of luxury products that are linkedto the fulfillment of self-oriented and/or personal values such as superior quality or ability to gainemotional benefits should be warranted for success as a luxury brand or a luxury retailer.Originality/value This research is important as it can inform luxury salesperson on how to bettermeet customers psychological needs in the context of a selling situation; ultimately contribute to theirsalesperson loyalty and loyalty to the brand.

    Keywords Customer loyalty, Relationship marketing, Sales, Fashion retailing

    Paper type Research paper

    IntroductionOver the last decades, luxury retail sectors have experienced dynamic growth, whichhas doubled to $220 billion in USA (Demos, 2007; Gumbel, 2007). According to arecent report, the worldwide luxury market increased by 13 per cent in 2010, and 10per cent in 2011, due to new emerging markets, such as the Asia-Pacific market(PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2012). In particular, South Korea has received attention as anemerging luxury powerhouse in Asia. The luxury market in South Korea is worthapproximately $4.5 billion (Lamb, 2012) and it has experienced an annual growth ofat least 12 per cent since 2006. There are no signs of it slowing down, despite the recenteconomic recession.

    Retail stores are considered as places for salespeople and consumers to socialize(Hu and Jasper, 2006). Luxury brands managers make efforts to provide a high-qualityservice to satisfy customers, in terms both of selling and of building good, long-termrelationships. Even though the role of the salesperson is a critical component inthe process of enhancing customer shopping experience, there is little researchinvestigating which psychological values of luxury customers can be fulfilled through

    The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available atwww.emeraldinsight.com/1361-2026.htm

    Received 1 April 2013Revised 19 June 2013

    Accepted 13 September 2013

    Journal of Fashion Marketing andManagement

    Vol. 18 No. 2, 2014pp. 133-144

    r Emerald Group Publishing Limited1361-2026

    DOI 10.1108/JFMM-04-2013-0050

    133

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  • interaction with a salesperson in a store, and how the experience impacts customerloyalty. Previous researchers focused on understanding the psychological benefitsof consumption of luxury products itself (Vickers and Renand, 2003), rather thanwhat values and needs are considered important in the personal sales interaction.In addition, research into sales interaction is largely limited to uncovering consumerscomplaints and salespersons emotional responses in selling non-luxury products(Kim and Kim, 2012). There is no research that considers consumers psychologicalvalues in the luxury-selling context. Therefore, the contribution of this study is to helpluxury brands retailers to understand what benefits or needs luxury shoppers mayseek to satisfy or can fulfill in their interaction with salespersons and how to educatesalespersons in luxury fashion selling situations to generate the desired outcome.

    In the luxury brands industry, relationship marketing has been used as a vitalmarketing tool to retain customers (Meng and Elliott, 2008), because luxury brandscharacteristically require high product involvement and a high possibility of beingcustomized, and customers are willing to pay a high premium for them (OMalley andTynan, 1998). The customer-salesperson relationship affects such aspects of businessperformance as customer loyalty, satisfaction and word of mouth (Beatty et al., 1996;Boles et al., 1997; Parasuraman et al., 1991; Reynolds and Beatty, 1999; Sivadas andBaker-Perwitt, 2000). If the relationship is built successfully, it is capable of generatingparticular positive emotions, thus creating positive outcomes for both parties (Beattyet al., 1996; Boles et al., 1997). In this study, we attempt to further understand howthe relationship with the salesperson connects with consumers psychological values,thus influencing their salesperson and store loyalty. This kind of research can informluxury salespersons how to better meet customers psychological needs.

    Literature reviewPsychological values in the selling contextValue as a psychological construct fits well with consumer behaviour, since the corereason for consumers choices is often found to be value fulfillment (Kahle and Xie,2008). Researchers interested in identifying psychological value in consumption haveused the list of values (LOV) (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Kahle, 1983; Kahle et al., 1986).The LOV developed by Kahle (1983) has proven to be a useful psychometric means ofexamining the effect of social values on consumer behaviour. The original theoreticalbasis for the LOV is Maslows (1954) hierarchy of needs, and it was also inspiredby Rokeachs (1973) and Feathers (1975) work on values. The LOV contains ninedimensions of values: sense of belonging, excitement, warm relationships with others,self-fulfillment, being well respected, fun and enjoyment of life, security, self-respectand a sense of accomplishment. LOV was found to be a good tool not only in domestic(Beatty and Kahle, 1985) but also in cross-cultural settings (Beatty et al., 1993; Kahleet al., 1986; Grunert et al., 1989). Researchers have found that the nine dimensions canbe further grouped into three (Corfman et al., 1991), namely social values (security,sense of belonging, being well respected), self-oriented values (self-fulfillment, a senseof accomplishment, self-respect) and stimulation (fun and enjoyment, excitement).

    Other research has focused attention on differentiating luxury goods fromnon-luxury ones, as well as identifying characteristics of products that could constituteluxury (Vickers and Renand, 2003; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004). In order to identifywhat constitutes luxury goods, previous researchers have attempted to discover theirconsumption value (Dubois and Duquesne, 1993; Vickers and Renand, 2003; Vigneronand Johnson, 2004). Vigneron and Johnson (1999) proposed a conceptual framework

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  • consisting of five prestige consumption values: independent values (e.g. quality andhedonic value), which fulfill an individuals personal needs and wants, andinterdependent values (e.g. conspicuous value, unique value and social value), whichare driven by others and how individuals want to appear to others.

    In this study, we used elements of the LOV to understand psychological needs in theselling context. We chose three dimensions of the LOV because LOV is an appropriatetool to use in attempting to understand the effect of individuals psychological valuesin their social context, such as in interactions between consumer and salesperson.However, the five prestige consumption values proposed by Vigneron and Johnson(1999) are more relevant to attempting to understand the benefits that luxuryconsumers enjoy when they consume and possess a luxury product. We presumed thatfulfillment of three types of values, namely social values, self-oriented values andstimulation, would positively affect consumers loyalty towards salespeople and store.

    Loyalty towards stores and salespersons is specifically important in the luxuryretail business, because the impact of loyal customers on revenue is significantand building long-term relationships with customers is regarded as a critical salestechnique (Meng and Elliott, 2008; OMalley and Tynan, 1998). Researchers have foundthat when customers are satisfied with a retailer they are more likely to be loyal to thestore and salespersons (Reynolds and Arnold, 2000). Similarly, we predict that whencustomers are satisfied and their psychological needs are fulfilled through interactionwith a salesperson, they are more likely to be loyal to the store and salespersoninvolved. Previous researchers have also regarded salespersons as components ofstores, and the positive feelings of trust and commitment generated from salespersonscan be linked to and transferred to store loyalty (Macintosh and Lockshin, 1997). Basedon our review of research, we developed the following hypotheses:

    H1. The fulfillment of social value is positively related to (a) salesperson loyalty and(b) store loyalty.

    H2. The fulfillment of self-oriented value is positively related to (a) salespersonloyalty and (b) store loyalty.

    H3. The fulfillment of stimulation is positively related to customer (a) salespersonloyalty and (b) store loyalty.

    Customer-salesperson relationship: friendshipThe relationship between customer and company has been given increasing attentionby business practitioners and researchers (Colgate and Stewart, 1998). For example,Tumbull and Wilson (1989) argued that managing customer-salesperson relationshipswas critical to achieving strategic advantage in the marketplace. Webster (1994)also emphasized the customer-salesperson relationship as an important means toacquire customer loyalty. Building relationships with customers is found to generatefavourable word of mouth (Berry and Parasuraman, 1991; Griffin, 1995), increasecustomer satisfaction and loyalty (Berry and Parasuraman, 1991; Czepiel, 1990) andincrease purchases (Berry and Parasuraman, 1991).

    Czepiel (1990) also emphasized the social nature of salespersons and their active andface-to-face interaction with the customer as the way to develop a still more complexand personal customer-salesperson relationship. Such a personal relationship betweencustomers and salespersons is often called a commercial friendship (Gwinner et al., 1998;

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  • Price and Arnould, 1999), which may come to be similar to a personal friendship.This is because the relationship affects customers quality of life (Bitner et al., 1994)and because interaction and the diversity of conversation topics are similar to those typicalof a personal friendship (Dubinsky, 1994; Goodwin, 1996). When a commercial friendshipexists, customers feel a closeness to the salesperson, have a strong emotional and socialattachment to him or her and feel comfortable about providing personal informationand sharing their true feelings. Further, customers who have commercial friendships tendto experience satisfaction and strong loyalty to the company, and pass on their positivefeelings by word of mouth (Price and Arnould, 1999). Coulter and Ligas (2004) revealedthat customers who have a friendship with a salesperson have the highest level ofemotional attachment to the salesperson because friendship enhances levels of trust an...

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