An Investigation into Supermarket Brand Loyalty in the UK Grocery Retail Sector
Price, Nathan Ellis
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The UK grocery retail sector is experiencing significant change, which is seen to be largely influenced by changing consumer purchasing behaviour and intensified competition between supermarkets. Whilst the purchasing decisions of many UK consumers are driven by the price of products, the extent to which leading supermarkets are relying on major price cuts to become more competitive and attract and retain customers is disputable. In what is now commonly referred to as a price war or the race to the bottom, some supermarkets appear to place substantial focus on one of many factors that consumers take into account when evaluating and selecting which supermarket to shop with. With all this in mind, this dissertation intends to offer a contemporary and current understanding of brand loyalty in this sector. That is to say, it aims to investigate supermarket brand loyalty in the UK grocery retail sector. The first objective is to investigate the current levels of multi-brand loyalty, at a time when consumers have greater choice and accessibility to supermarkets. The second objective is to examine the key drivers of buyer behaviour that are affecting brand loyalty. The third objective is to critically evaluate the most effective marketing strategy for developing loyal customers. The purpose and objectives of this study are detailed in the first chapter. The second chapter contains a review of recent and well-established literature relating to brand loyalty, buyer behaviour and marketing strategy. It highlights that brand loyalty is acknowledged from two perspectives, behavioural and attitudinal loyalty. These two components are required to effectively develop loyal customers. The literature review also outlines the process that consumers undertake to evaluate alternative retailers. The third chapter outlines the methodology of this study as a result of analysing the available approaches and methods of conducting research. The researcher adopts a positivism philosophy, inductive approach and quantitative research design. Also, convenience sampling is used to collect 100 responses to a self-completion questionnaire in the retail environment of Cardiff city centre. The findings of which are presented in chapter four and analysed in chapter five. iii This dissertation concludes with the following findings. Multi-brand loyalty is a prevalent phenomenon. Although, findings are not entirely definitive due to the substantial switching tendencies observed by the majority of respondents. The key drivers of buyer behaviour are identified as price, quality and convenience. These are also found to be the most influential reasons to brand switch. Additionally, this study concludes that an effective marketing strategy takes into account and performs consistently across both components of brand loyalty. Results show that supermarkets that obtain high and favourable attitudinal measurements typically obtain similar behavioural measurements, such as repeat purchasing. However, inconsistencies between these components can lead to lower levels of brand loyalty.
BA (Hons) Marketing Management
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