Role of social media in retail network operations and marketing to enhance customer satisfaction

Ramanathan, U. ORCID: 0000-0002-7473-4643, Subramanian, N. and Parrott, G., 2017. Role of social media in retail network operations and marketing to enhance customer satisfaction. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37 (1), pp. 105-123. ISSN 0144-3577

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Purpose: The technology evolution compels retail networks to introduce unique business models to retain customers and to gain a competitive advantage. Customer reviews available through social media need to be taken into account by retail networks to design a model with unique service operations and marketing approaches that will improve loyalty by adding value to customers. Furthermore, the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer spending behaviour is very weak and needs further investigation. Hence our study attempts to understand how retail network leverage the potential of social media reviews along with unique service operations to satisfy customers. The study analyses the nexus of: a brand, promotional offers, service operations; and their interaction through social media reviews on customer satisfaction levels.
Design/methodology/approach: We develop a conceptual model for the social media era. We combine the idea of loyalty-based and value based models of Chatterjee (2013). We employed a survey questionnaire method to elicit opinions of retail customer satisfaction based on social media reviews, service operations and marketing efforts. We derive measures of our model from existing literature and expert opinion.
Findings: Social media reviews dramatically impact upon customer satisfaction. Similarly our empirical analysis identifies the significant and positive role played by service operations in customer satisfaction levels. Interestingly we didn’t find unequivocal support for brand satisfaction impacting on customer satisfaction. However, when promotions interact well with service operations, the level of customer satisfaction is significantly affected. Similarly we didn’t observe a positive outcome when there is an interaction between promotion and social media reviews. After reading the reviews, some potential buyers make a visit to store before making final decisions and surprisingly, promotional effects do not change their mind set.
Practical implications: Research findings confirm the importance of social media reviews, marketing and interaction between promotion and service operations enabling retail networks to build loyalty and value based models. Based on customer behaviour, the study suggests a need to consider operational efficiencies when promoting sales; through careful planning, customer satisfaction and profitability levels can be increased. This sends a strong message to the retail network to defend their position within a very competitive business market.
Originality/value: Our empirical evidence based on customer experience would be helpful for companies in integrating their operations and marketing efforts enabling them to convert different segment of customers such as 'free riders (higher satisfaction and low profitability)' and 'vulnerable customers (Low satisfaction and higher profitability)' into 'star customers (higher satisfaction and high profitability) '. Through a considered approach: combining social media reviews, marketing and operations, businesses will be better-placed to survive in the ultra-competitive social media-influenced era.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Operations & Production Management
Creators: Ramanathan, U., Subramanian, N. and Parrott, G.
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
Date: 2017
Volume: 37
Number: 1
ISSN: 0144-3577
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 11 Oct 2016 13:27
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2018 08:39
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