ABSTRACT

Purpose - As the importance of salesperson attitudes and behaviors enhancing customer perception and loyalty have increased, many retail companies put emphasis on internal marketing activities. The issue also has captured the interest of academics, but most of the previous research tends to be limited to investigating antecedents of salesperson job satisfaction and commitment. Based on the consumer-brand relationship concepts, this study aims to examine the effects of the salesperson-brand relationships on customers’ service evaluation and store loyalty. Research design, data, and methodology - In a structural equation model, it is hypothesized that salesperson brand identification influences salespersons’ brand trust and affect, which are the two dimensions of consumer-brand relationships. Salespersons’ brand trust and affect are expected to increase salespersons’ customer orientation, which in turn influences customers’ service evaluations and store loyalty. To test this hypotheses a set of data collected from department stores in Seoul is utilized. Results - First, it was found that salesperson brand identification is a significant antecedent to salespersons’ brand trust and affects, the two dimensions of salesperson brand relationships. Second, salespersons’ brand trust and affect were found to enhance salespersons’ customer-oriented behaviors. Third, salespersons’ customer orientation showed a significant effect on customers’ service evaluation. When a salesperson makes more effort to provide useful information for fulfilling customer needs, customers evaluate the salesperson’s service more positively. Finally, customers’ service evaluation had a positive impact on customers’ store loyalty. Conclusions - This study provides significant academic and practical implications. First, based on the theory of consumer-brand relationships, the concept of salesperson-brand relationships was introduced and found to be an effective motivator of salespersons’ customer oriented attitudes and behaviors. Therefore, the two dimensions of brand relationships, brand trust and affect, should be considered as the critical factors both in developing theoretical research and improving long-term company performance. Also, internal marketing activities should focus on maximizing employees’ brand identification. That is, retail companies need to put emphasis on sharing their brand values and personality with internal customers to strengthen the brand relationships with salespersons and to enhance customer responses.

KEYWORD

Salesperson Brand Relationship, Customer Orientation, Store Loyalty.

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