"Switched": store switching behaviours



Findlay A & Sparks L (2008) "Switched": store switching behaviours. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 36 (5), pp. 375-386.

Purpose: To investigate the levels of store-switching for main food shopping consequent on a change in operator for a major superstore. To account for differences amongst switchers and non-switchers and to confirm/reject previous research findings. Design/methodology/approach: A two-phase random household postal survey on main food shopping behaviour was conducted in a central Scottish city. The two phases, separated by one year, bracketed the change of a main food store from Safeway to Morrisons. A proportion of respondent households in the two phases (45%) was common and represents matched subjects, allowing investigation of switching behaviour. Findings: The aggregate switching rate is higher (27.4%) than found in previous UK research, despite the locational/accessibility component being held constant. No aggregate differences between switchers/non-switchers on socio-economic or demographic grounds were found, confirming previous US research. The high level of switching is ascribed to a re-evaluation of store choices/attributes consequent on the store changeover, confirming the notion of a ‘trigger’ mechanism. Practical implications: The research has implications for competition authorities, other policy makers and retailers. It reveals the transient nature of a component of store loyalty and the store specific nature of store switching behaviour. Policy makers need to understand the baseline or natural switching rate amongst retailers generally and specifically in their area. Retailers can exploit further the store specific element of switching. Originality/value: Research on store-switching behaviour over time is rare both generally and specifically in the UK. This research provides evidence of switching rates which can be subject to confirmation/disconfirmation in other circumstances.

switching; retention; food; loyalty; Scotland

International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management: Volume 36, Issue 5

Publication date31/05/2008

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Professor Leigh Sparks
Professor Leigh Sparks

Deputy Principal, Marketing & Retail