Multi-channel retail strategic implementation issues and the role of internal marketing: a study in the UK retail sector

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Lewis, JA (2013)
  • Subject:
    acm: ComputingMilieux_GENERAL

A multi-channel retail strategy is viewed by many academics and practitioners to be the success model for most retailers. Yet, while there are many benefits associated with using multiple channels to sell products and services to customers likewise there are numerous difficulties. Despite this, the multi-channel retailing literature provides little empirical insight into these constraints, especially in the context of the UK retail sector. Moreover, there is a lack of multi-channel retailing research which explores ways of managing these problems. Nevertheless, analysis of these multi-channel retailing issues, according to the literature, suggests these problems are internal marketing (IM) related. In addition, a review of the IM literature suggests IM offers a theoretical framework to explore and possibly address these challenges. Therefore, to contribute to gaps in the literature this study uses IM as a framework to understand and possibly resolve multi-channel retail strategic implementation issues. More specifically then, this study uses a qualitative case study research strategy utilising three retailers to explore these multi-channel retailing and IM themes. \ud \ud Importantly, the findings from this study highlight new themes, in the context of the case study retailers, which are not identified, or not clearly recognised, in the literature. While the literature paints a persuasive argument for retailers adopting a multi-channel retail strategy, in reality retailers face major, often entwined, integration, cultural, engagement and resource issues when going multi-channel. Also, while these constraints are similar at a strategic level they vary by retailer and stage of implementation. These difficulties can also prevent a retailer effectively implementing a multi-channel retail strategy. However, case analysis reveals IM is used by the retailers as a way of understanding and managing these constraints. Additionally, while this IM effort is similar to existing IM theoretical frameworks, including Ahmed and Rafiq's (2004) model of IM, it also differs. Subsequently, this study proposes a revised framework for the use of IM as an aid to multi-channel retail strategic implementation. From an academic perspective, this study makes an original contribution to the academic literature since it is the first study to propose a model of IM as a way of helping multi-channel retail strategic implementation. From a practical perspective, it is hoped that the framework offers retailers a way of understanding multi-channel retail strategic implementation problems and the role of IM as a way of addressing these issues.
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