Critical retail service factors in literature: a review and meta-analysis approach

João Pedro Oliveira Catarino Leandro,  Paulo Sérgio Amaral de Sousa, Maria do Rosário Mota de Oliveira Alves Moreira

Vol 19 | Issue 1 pp. 105-127


Purpose: The assessment and observation of critical service factors within the retail industry have garnered increased importance in recent times, due to their perceived ability to shape superior future strategies. The aim of this study is to investigate the service elements that are deemed essential by consumers in the retail sector, specifically targeting the grocery retail industry.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Our methodological framework incorporates a systematic review of previous literature and a meta-analysis of past studies that highlight the pivotal service elements within the chosen industry. Following the evaluation of existing literature, 55 studies met the inclusion criteria and were selected for further investigation. The systematic review first compiled information from multiple studies, which was then followed by a meta-analysis. This enabled us to statistically analyze the empirical data from the chosen studies, thereby drawing significant conclusions.

Findings: The analyses pinpoint that elements such as personal interaction attributes, product quality and availability, and reliable service are of utmost importance to consumers. Interestingly, customer satisfaction was the only outcome that was positively influenced by all the examined service attributes. Additionally, our findings underscore that certain moderators, such as geographic region and timing of the study, sway the relationship between service attributes and customer outcomes.

Originality: Despite numerous meta-analyses attempting to pinpoint the key service attributes for consumers, to the best of our understanding, this study is the first to focus on the retail industry, specifically on hypermarkets, supermarkets, or grocery stores. Therefore, this research bridges a gap in the literature and offers a significant contribution to the academic community by proposing an agenda for future research on customer service factors. It also provides invaluable insight for retail managers, outlining numerous practical implications and offering guidance.

Keywords: Service quality attributes; Customer outcomes; Retail industry; Systematic literature review; Meta-analysis

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