Customer satisfaction and relationship intention within the South African clothing retail industry
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Despite criticism of the effective use of relationship marketing in mass consumer markets, retailers are increasingly investing in relationship marketing tactics to retain customers, thereby necessitating a thorough understanding of the successful development of retailercustomer relationships. While studies posit the existence of a positive, bi-directional, relationship between strong customer relationships and customer satisfaction, the role of customer-related antecedents, such as relationship intentions, remains largely unexplored in the retail context. The purpose of this study was to determine customers’ satisfaction, as well as the influence of relationship intentions on customers’ satisfaction in the South African clothing retail industry. Through convenience sampling, 511 questionnaires were collected from clothing retail customers in the greater Pretoria metropolitan area. Results indicate that customers’ satisfaction with selected store attributes (namely price, the assortment offered, perceived product quality and employee service), significantly predict clothing retail customers’ cumulative satisfaction. Findings show further that clothing retail customers’ relationship intentions significantly influence their satisfaction with selected store attributes, as well as their cumulative satisfaction. More specifically, customers’ satisfaction increased as their relationship intention levels increased. Clothing retailers could therefore benefit from identifying and targeting customers with higher relationship intentions, as these customers display greater satisfaction.