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Exploiting Proactive Interaction to Improve Retail Experiences
Academy of Marketing Science World Marketing Congress (AMS) (2014)
  • Hyunju Shin, Georgia Southern University
  • Alexander E. Ellinger, University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
  • David L. Mothersbaugh, University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
Relationship marketing is increasingly recognized by both practitioners and academics as an effective means for retailers to attract and retain customers and gain a competitive advantage in the competitive retail environment (e.g., Bagozzi, 1995; Berry, 1995; De Wulf, Odekerken-Schröder, & Iacobucci, 2001; Palmatier et al., 2009; Sheth & Parvatiyar, 1995). While various relationship investment strategies have been identified and shown to affect firm relational performance outcomes, there has been a dearth of studies on the value of proactive interaction and the issues related to implementing it, leading to calls for research in this area (Challagalla, Venkatesh, & Kohli, 2009; DeWitt & Brady, 2003; Palmatier et al., 2006). This study addresses this gap by examining whether it is better to “get to customers before they get to you” through an investigation of the relative effect of proactive and reactive interaction in retail settings. This study also investigates the mechanism by which a proactive interaction may achieve higher levels of firm performance. Several authors stress that relationship marketing practices are not effective in every situation (Challagalla et al., 2009; De Wulf et al., 2001; Kalwani & Narayandas, 1995). Therefore, moderating roles of firm- and customer-related factors on relationship interaction effectiveness are also proposed and investigated to better understand the specific situations in which proactive interactions may be most effective. The proposed hypotheses are tested using two scenario-based experiments in a retail context. This study is important for theory because it adds to the relationship investment literature by proposing and empirically assessing why and how proactive and reactive interaction strategies differ in their efficacy and by examining boundary conditions under which proactive interactions may be more effective. It is equally important for practice because it provides retail organizations with actionable strategies for building better relationships with their customers and developing a decision tree based on which moderators are useful and viable for which customers and situations.
  • Decision tree,
  • Competitive advantage,
  • Relative effect,
  • Firm performance,
  • Specific situation
Publication Date
August, 2014
Lima, Peru
Citation Information
Hyunju Shin, Alexander E. Ellinger and David L. Mothersbaugh. "Exploiting Proactive Interaction to Improve Retail Experiences" Academy of Marketing Science World Marketing Congress (AMS) (2014)
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