The fast food industry is among the most competitive in the United Kingdom with the existence of large organizations such as Leon, Poppies and Harry Ramsden’s. The UK has a large market for the sale of both fish and chips and most fast food joints engage in the sale of these products. In this sector, standardization of processes is a common feature with little differentiation of products therefore making it even more dynamic. The dynamism is further complicated by the emergence of customer behaviors such as the demand for overall quality in both service and product. The development has led to most of the stores inclining their services and products to suit the requirements of the customers by setting very high standards in all the processes of production. In addition, the value of marketing in maintaining and attracting more customers has been appreciated over time as large organizations fight for a share of the consumer pie. Ultimately, he sector has become more competitive as most businesses recognize the value of customer loyalty in increasing profitability.
The subject of customer loyalty is one that sparks controversy owing to the dynamic nature of the factors that influence the concept (Aaker, 2007). The very unpredictable nature of the retail business atmosphere is another reason for the huge interest in the fast food sector. The entry of new organizations in the fast food retail sector has increasingly changed the competitive environment in the sector. Traditionally, the industry was a mini-monopoly with the large organizations dominating the sector. However, lately, changes in the business environment and the elimination of barriers to entry have seen an increase in interest among organizations in the sector. Research in the sector and the place of marketing in improving customer loyalty is particularly significant because of the large number of people that buy these products. This research is a plus to the food stores as it explores the various ways of improving customer loyalty through retail marketing management. The research uses the Harry Ramsden’s Company in understanding their attempts to foster customer loyalty in the modern dynamic business environment. It provides a summary of the business environment thus detailing insights into the rarely researched area customer loyalty.
The area of customer loyalty has evidenced considerable research over the recent past. Particularly, the interest has focused on the definition of the scope within which customer loyalty is defined and the parameters used in measuring the same (Buhamra, 2013). Ideally, this has left a gap in research as most businesses have no idea on how best they can achieve customer loyalty with utmost success. Even with the considerable interest in the term, there is no universally accepted definition of the term customer loyalty thus reigning confusion among the users. It can however be defined as a commitment to re-buy a preferred product in the future consistently regardless of the existence of substitutes for the same product (Lam & Burton, 2006).
Over the recent past, competition has led most businesses to appreciate the process of fostering customer loyalty in improving business value and survival. The development has led to an international surge in the interest in the topic of customer loyalty both in the business and academic fields. The leading cause of this interest is the increase in competition in the food retailing market and particularly the fast food sector (O’Loughlin & Szimigan, 2006). Most of the organizations are no longer concerned with improving profitability alone but have the wider goal of maximizing their share of customer loyalty. The benefit of maintaining customer loyalty is the advent of developing repeat business with not only the current customers but with new ones, some of who are referred by the current customers. Despite this knowledge and the generation of widespread interest, the ways of developing and maintaining customer loyalty remains to be challenging to the businesses (Aaker, 2007).
The benefits of customer loyalty are immense and countless including the increase in profitability of the provider organizations (Beerli et al, 2004). This is to say that any organization with large customer loyalty bases has significantly larger competitive advantages compared to their rivals. The dynamism of the benefits of loyalty to the organizations makes the studies on customer loyalty important to the retailers for their potential to improve customer business relations. The retail sector is particularly aware of the role of customer loyalty because of the relationship with survival of these businesses (Leverin & Liljander, 2006). Retail marketing and management has been identified as a key component of increased customer loyalty as well as brand loyalty. Indeed, brand loyalty is the evidence of an inclination to a certain brand by a customer leading to future re-buys even when presented with other choices (Goworek, 2015). In recent years, companies have used the technologically based loyalty devices in loyalty marketing attempts. The benefit of these is convenience they offer to the customers by providing the m with a chance to perform transactions easily and conveniently. In addition, they create a sense of belonging in the customers by rewarding them for their loyalty.
In view of the objectives and nature of this research, a quantitative survey is most suitable. This is because it allows for the collection of significant amounts of data necessary for making inferences in this research. The research uses Harry Ramsden’s customers as the target survey population. The research further uses a questionnaire in evaluating the company’s loyalty strategies. The location of the research will be outside one of the Harry Ramsden’s stores thus ensuring that only customers that visit the store are interviewed. A quota sampling will be employed instead of selected sampling due to time constraints. In addition, the method helps in obtaining the most representative sample.
It is expected that this research will provide an understanding of the customer behaviors with regarding to their shopping experiences at Harry Ramsden’s. In addition, the strategies in use at the company will be explored. It is expected that this research will find a positive correlation between relationship marketing and customer loyalty. Moreover, improvements in the strategies at Harry Ramsden’s will be revealed in the research with respect to improved customer loyalty.
Leverin, A. and Lijander, V. (2006). Does relationship marketing improve customer relationship satisfaction and loyalty. International journal of marketing, Vol.24 No.4, pp 232-251.
O’Laughlin and Szimigan (2006). Customer relationship typologies and the nature of loyalty in Irish retail financial services. Vol.22 No.3-4. Pp 26-29.
Aaker, D. (2007). Strategic market management. 8th edition. California. John Wiley and sons inc.
Beerli, A., Martin, J.D. and Quintana, A. (2004). A model of customer loyalty in the retail market. European Journal of Marketing. Vol. 38 No.1-2. Pp 253-275.
Lam, R. and Burton, S. (2006). Loyalty/Disloyalty: a qualitative study in Hong Kong. International journal of marketing. Vol.24 No1. Pp 37-52.
Goworek, H. (2015). Retail Marketing Management. Pearson Education Limited.
Buhamra, C. (2013). Retail marketing management: Concepts, guidelines, and practices.
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