Chapter 1: Introduction
Influencing customer buying behaviour through providing quality service is an important factor the business organisation particularly in the clothing industry. However, many organisations fail to understand the customer needs in their buying process. This study conducts a study on how service quality may impact customer purchasing behaviour. This chapter gives the background of the relationship between quality services the customer purchasing behaviour. Then, this chapter defines the aims and objectives with research questions for the research. This chapter also defines the significance of the research including its rationale, and filially focusing on the structure of the research.
1.1 Research background
The rapid changes in technological factors including social and cultural issues are changing the business environment of the global clothing industry including the UK. The cultural and social changes have been eliminating and reducing barriers to cross-border expansion and giving the opportunities of an integrated global clothing market. Cultural and social issues also have been leading the clothing industry with a greater range of activities along with providing a more competitive marketplace in the clothing secondary. The rapid changes of technological development are frequently changing customer buying behaviour, most technology fan is nowadays moving from the traditional buying process to the online/digital buying process. These rapid changes in technology, cultural and social issues impacting the services provided by the marketers and the customer satisfaction level. As a result, providing quality services has come under deep consideration for the retailers in the clothing sector including Zara to meet the customer changing needs and expectations. According to Harvey (2014), delivering quality services is the key to success and gain sustainable competitive advantages in the business including Zara.
Among different factors in business, quality services improve customer buying behaviour level and support the business to attract more potential and target customers through word-of-mouth, improving business productivity, gaining improved market share, reducing staff turnover rates and overall operating costs, develop staffs morel, and finally improve business performance and profitability (Ismail, Ibrahim and Mamun, 2016; Hawkins and David, 2016). The benefits of quality services are proven by Hawkins and David (2016) giving attention to growing customer demand from both academic and management circles. Although retailers including Zara is committed to providing excellent services to their customers, a growing number of customers in the UK are not happy with the services provided by retailers including Zara. According to a report published by Jones and Suh (2015) discloses that in the UK every day on average 7143 customer complaints are received by the UK clothing sector including the clothing sector. The study also reveals that most of these complaints come regarding poor sloppy, poor customer services, poor advice, and/or misleading information given by the customer service assistants. This study investigates why the customers are not happy with the services of the UK clothing industry including Zara, and how Zara can improve its service quality to meet the customer changing needs and make them happy.
Zara is one of the leading clothing retailers in the UK. Zara has more than 1600 stores in 74 countries. It is operating in global markets including UK, EU, Asia and America. Zara offers fashionable items along in its stores located across the world. Although Zara has been growing up slowly and steadily with improved sales and profit, it has been facing a number of challenges in its current business operations. One of the key challenges is to meet the customer changing needs and influence their buying behaviour. Because of customer changing needs and expectation along with social, cultural and technological changes, Zara has been facing challenges in maintaining effective service quality (Zara Annual Report, 2015). This, this study defines the customer needs and expectation towards Zara services, and recommend Zara to implement its strategies.
1.2 Research rationale
Quality service is the key issue before, during and after the purchases made by customers. Kurtenbach (2014) states that excellent customer service is the key issue for the organisation to be successful. Thus, as Kotler et al. (2015) notes, giving priority to customer information is essential for the retailers including the clothing industry to understand customer view about the services provided. In business success, quality service is considered a determinant to evaluate customer satisfaction. Palmer (2014) states that customer buying behaviour can be measured by quality products and services offered by the companies. In competitive marketplaces, if the customer is not happy it is difficult for the marketers to attract and retain them. This is because customers have alternative choices in the competitive marketplaces. In addition, dramatic changes in technological development and in the social and cultural structure are frequently changing the customer expectations. Thus, it is more challenging to understand the customer changing needs and expectation than ever before (Smith, 2014). Further, retaining the existing customers is cheaper and profitable than attracting new customers and retain them. This is because business needs to invest huge time, money and effort in marketing and promotional activities, and building a long-time relationship with the new customers.
A high level of customer satisfaction in their buying process also has a positive impact on business performance, customer buying behaviour level, customer loyalty level, customer engagement within the business, customer happiness and motivation. Therefore, understating the customer changing needs and expectations in their buying process have been significant issues for the retailer including the clothing industry of the UK. Most importantly in the case of Zara and in this study focusing on quality service to influence the customers in their purchasing process is considered rational, because Zara has been facing challenges in meeting customer demand and expectation, and influencing them in their buying processes. According to Zara Annual report (2015), it has to deal with the volume of customer complaints against its services, mainly customer services provided in its stores. As a result, meeting the customer needs, resolving the customer complaints, and motivating the customers in the buying process has been a key issue for Zara. This study focuses on these issues and finds solutions for Zara to improve its service quality and motivate the target customers in the buying process.
1.3 Problem statement
Influencing the customers during their purchasing process is recognised as the key factor to improve the business performance including revenue and profit. The theories and academic study show that qualities of service can play an important role to influence the customers before buying, during buying and after buying. However, many organisations including Zara face challenges in mainlining the quality of its services according to the customer needs and demand. Thus, Zara has been facing great challenges in the competitive to influence its potential and target customers during the buying process. Data come through Zara Annual Report (2015) discloses that lots of complaints come from customers every day regarding its service quality and products quality which is promised by Zara to its customers. This means Zara has weaknesses and limitations in its customer’s services. It may be Zara has limitation in experiences of its workforces, mainly who deal with the customers and work for shop floors. Otherwise, Zara is facing difficulties in understanding its customer changing needs and expectations. This study identifies the real cause of customer dissatisfaction towards Zara’s service quality during their purchasing processes to offer better solutions for Zara to recover the weaknesses.
1.4 Significance of the study
Zara is committed to providing quality service mainly customer services meeting the customer changing needs and expectations. However, Zara is facing challenges in providing the quality services which it promises to the customers. This is because Zara has been facing difficulties in understanding the customer changing needs and expectations. Thus, customers are being de-motivated during the purchasing process, and raising lots of complaints every day about Zara’s service quality. This study provides information to the UK clothing industry, most importantly to Zara, on customer needs and expectation during the buying process. The study finds out the dimension of quality services and their importance in the business including Zara. Then, the study defines the factors which influence customer buying behaviours. After that, the study finds out the strategies for the clothing industry including Zara on how they improve their service quality to motivate the target and potential customers during the purchasing process.
On the other hand, the study will support the researcher in building a better career in future. This is because the researcher has learnt a lot through this study. First, huge understanding and knowledge have been gained by the researcher through this study on problem-solving, decision making, time management. Secondly, the study has extended the researcher’s communication skills, research skills, and analytical and technical skills which will support to gain success in the workplaces in future.
1.3 Aims and objectives
The key aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of service quality on customer purchasing behaviour. The study identifies the challenges faces by the retailers in the UK clothing industry and identifies the customer changing needs and expectation from services offered by the retailers during their purchasing process. Then, the study recommends clothing retailers including Zara on how they improve their service quality to influence the customers during purchasing process……….
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