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    Are loyalty programs effective in high-end fashion retailers? A comparison of perceived loyalty program benefits between high- and low-end fashion retailers

    Stathopoulou, Anastasia and Balabanis, G. (2015) Are loyalty programs effective in high-end fashion retailers? A comparison of perceived loyalty program benefits between high- and low-end fashion retailers. In: Global Fashion Management Conference, 25-28 Jun 2015, Florence, Italy.

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    Abstract

    In the last decade loyalty programs have gained popularity across various industries. They are one of the most popular marketing tools that companies use to increase retention, enhance loyalty and gather ‘big data’. The number of companies adopting loyalty programs is rapidly increasing with fashion department stores grown their loyalty program subscriptions by 70% between 2010 and 2012 (Colloquy, 2013). One of the main reasons for this growth can be attributed to the benefits fashion retailers offer to their customers. A new body of current research had directed its attention to a comprehensive set of benefits offered by loyalty programs as well as their potential to increase customer retention and profitability (Evanschitzky et al., 2012). Until recently, it was debatable if loyalty programs can be effective and appropriate in luxury retailing (Lowenstein, 2009), despite research evidence showing a positive effect of loyalty programs’ benefits on customer retention (e.g. Mimouni-Chaabane & Volle, 2010). Traditionally, luxury companies and retailers build loyalty through top-end and differentiated customer experiences. If loyalty schemes were to succeed in the luxury sector they had to deliver the kind of recognition and rewards that make luxury shoppers feel remarkable. Given the growing interest in loyalty programs and scarcity of research related to their effectiveness in the luxury fashion department stores, this study comes to examine the effectiveness of such programs. In particular, this research examines how the utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic perceived benefits from loyalty programs can influence the satisfaction and trust with the program and consequently store loyalty. These relationships are compared between high- and low-end fashion department stores and the differences in their effectiveness are reported. To test these relationships data were collected form a sample of 984 consumers from an online panel in US, using a structured questionnaire. A range of different department stores that offer loyalty programs were pre-selected through a rater procedure to represent the high- and low- fashion department stores. Using structural equation modelling and multi-group analysis, findings support that the effectiveness of loyalty programs is important to both high-and low-end fashion retailing settings but the strength of this effectiveness varies across the two settings. Specifically, hedonic and symbolic benefits derived from loyalty programs found to be more important in the high-end rather than the low-end fashion retailers. In contrast, utilitarian benefits found to be much more effective in influencing customers’ satisfaction with the program in the low-end fashion retailing. The results of this research address an important research gap and help to better understand customers' perceptions of loyalty program benefits obtained from high- and low-end fashion department stores. Finally, the findings provide clear guidelines for managers in both high- and low-end fashion retailing on how to design effectively their loyalty program rewards, by strategically allocating their resources to the benefits that are more important in their setting.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    Additional Information: Global Alliance of Marketing & Management Associations
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): loyalty program, customer retention, marketing tool, fashion retailer, multi-group analysis
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Management
    Depositing User: Anastasia Stathopoulou
    Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 11:36
    Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 11:36
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/15556

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