Business research may be defined as a process of obtaining detailed information that will be beneficial in maximizing business profit. In practice, business research helps organizations determine sustainable and demandable products, services, and strategies for business growth. Business research has the same stages as any research process. First of all, scholars select the problem or theme for research.
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It should be sustainable, practical, relatively significant, succinct, and ethically acceptable. The second step in the in-depth review of literature related to the defined problem. Scholars subsequently develop a hypothesis, prepare the design of research, develop the plan of observation, and collect essential data. Researchers analyze gathered information to confirm or reject the hypothesis and develop the report to describe the conducted research.
This work represents the review of ten scholar articles that contain the researches in the sphere of retailing. The study of customer satisfaction and loyalty, inner store practices and their influence on consumers, and the market situation is currently time-sensitive and actual. Nowadays, people have a substantial choice of low-scale and large-scale retail stores, and the investigation of factors that influence customer preferences are essential for successful operation. The articles were chosen due to their detailed and substantial investigations that will help to examine the methods of business research in detail. The purpose of this paper is to identify all stages of research in reviewed articles and compare the studies for the understanding of business research process principles.
Summary of Reviewed Articles
Customer Satisfaction and Preferences
As retail chain stores gained popularity among people in recent years, a substantial number of scholars currently pay attention to this sector of business to examine it from various perspectives. Rana, Osman, and Islam (2014) conducted research to investigate the main factors of customer satisfaction with retail chain stores located in Bangladesh. For the study, the consumers of three large retail chain stores were interviewed, and their feedback was thoroughly analyzed.
The study detected that customer satisfaction indicates the store’s level of quality. To meet consumers’ expectations, owners and managers focus on four fundamental elements – product quality, pricing policies, responsiveness, and physical design (Rana, Osman, & Islam, 2014). Moreover, responsiveness and product quality were indicated as the most significant factors of customer satisfaction. The work considers highly beneficial as its results contribute to the substantial growth of the retail chain store sector.
The connection between customer satisfaction and loyalty was investigated by Biscaia, Rosa, Moura e Sá, and Sarrico (2017). In their work, authors collected data with the help of a survey “based on the European Customer Satisfaction Index (ECSI) model” that was applied to the customers of one sports retail store in Portugal (Biscaia, Rosa, Moura e Sá, & Sarrico, 2017, p. 1508). The results of this research confirmed “a positive influence of satisfaction on customers’ loyalty to the retail store” (Biscaia, Rosa, Moura e Sá, & Sarrico, 2017, p. 1508).
In addition, they demonstrated the significance of the image construct as it had a significant direct effect on customer satisfaction and influenced the loyalty index (Biscaia, Rosa, Moura e Sá, & Sarrico, 2017). This study contributed further investigations in the whole retail sector as its findings are applicable not only to sports retail store but other shops as well.
Khare (2013) organized the research to investigate the reasons why Indian people prefer small retail shops despite modern economic growth, the levels of consumption, rising income, and the expansion of modern class. Through the interviewing of consumers on the term of qualitative research, the author distinguished several factors that substantively influence people’s preferences – demographic factors such as education, age, and gender, and “moderate cultural factors of long-term orientation and collectivism” (Khare, 2013, p. ). The study may be highly beneficial for the managers and owners of large retail stores as the understanding of primary reasons for people’s preferences will help to make shops popular among the population.
In his research, Nagar (2016) measured the dependency of consumers’ preferences from the quality of services delivered by grocery and FMCG retail stores. The data for this work was collected from recipients through questionnaires, and ANOVA on SPSS 17 was used to conclude results (Nagar, 2016). In addition, the author used traditional scale SERVQUAL to measure the quality of service in retail stores. The results confirmed that quality plays a highly significant role in determining customer preferences and increasing customer satisfaction (Nagar, 2016). This work is beneficial for further researches in this sphere, and it may complement the examination of methods that may be used by the retail stores’ managers and owners to improve the quality of service.
Other Indian authors who investigate the retailing market situation are Agarwal and Singh (2018). They explored the relationship between customer satisfaction, retail experience, and “behavior intention of organized retail stores consumers in a Tier-II city in India” (Agarwal & Singh, 2018, p. 20).
Essential data was collected from 496 respondents and elaborated with the help of explanatory factor analysis to “abridge a set of 52 organized retail stores attributes into a list of five factors” (Agarwal & Singh, 2018, p. 20). These factors are defined as sales associates, customer shopping motivation, product assortment with reasonable price policy, retail convenience, and retail ambiance. The results indicated that only product variety had a substantial positive impact on consumer satisfaction. The result of this research has practical application for effective management and strategic development as well.
Oni and Fatoki (2013) organized the study of “customer satisfaction and customer loyalty to small retail stores that are located close to big retail stores” in Mankweng (p. 83). Data for the research was collected through convenience sampling with the use of a self-administered questionnaire and analyzed “through univariate analysis” (Oni & Fatoki, 2013, p. 83). The results of the study indicated that the respondents had been satisfied with smaller retail shops, however, their loyalty was negatively impacted by the presence of large-scale retail stores where the customers’ expectations were met. This research may contribute to the improvement of the current situation as its authors suggested their recommendations on how small-scale retail stores may increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Factors that influence customer satisfaction and loyalty in South Africa was also observed by Mafini and Dhurup (2015). Their study examined the connection between store satisfaction, consumer loyalty, and store image factors in the retail environment of South Africa (Mafini & Dhurup, 2015).
489 recipients from three shopping centers in Gauteng Province were interviewed through a four section-structured questionnaire, and the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (Version 21.0) was used for data analysis (Mafini & Dhurup, 2015). The research revealed that promotion had the highest statistical significance for customer satisfaction and loyalty in comparison with other factors. It goes without saying that the findings of this work may be beneficial for retail store managers “to develop a current view of the shopping behavior of today’s consumers” (Mafini & Dhurup, 2015). This insight will help them to develop appropriate strategies for efficient management and marketing.
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Impact of Store Systems on Customer Satisfaction
Irfan, Siddiqui, and Waqar (2019) conducted research to examine the significance of in-store logistics for the creation of the store’s solid reputation that will encourage business growth in Pakistan. All data were collected through the survey with 200 participants who experienced shopping in small and medium-sized stores and analyzed through partial least square structural equation modelling (PLSSEM) using Smart PLS 3.2.4. (Irfan, Siddiqui, & Waqar, 2019, p. 350). The findings of the research suggest that retail store inner logistics plays a highly essential role in the development of customer satisfaction. This conducted research may help operation managers and retailers to develop appropriate strategies based on the study’s results for effective operation and business growth.
Shin, Park, and Moon (2015) organized the research that investigated the impact of eco-friendly visual merchandising on consumer satisfaction and store reputation. This study was based on previous studies and the interviewing of 363 respondents with further analysis of their feedback (Shin, Park, & Moon, 2015). This study may be regarded as unique as it provides empirical evidence that eco-friendly visual merchandising encourages social and psychological satisfaction that results in the customers’ positive attitude towards retail stores (Shin, Park, & Moon, 2015). The result of this work may be used by retailers for the effective implication of eco-friendly visual merchandising in their stores.
Interrelation Between Large and Small Retail Stores
Igami (2011) conducted the study to check the conventional notion concerning the dominance of big supermarkets over their small rivals. In addition, the scholar investigated whether the economic theory of product differentiation was applicable to this business sphere (Igami, 2011). Igami (2011) examined the data from Tokyo related to the market situation in the 1990s and discovered that large supermarkets promoted “the exit of existing large and medium-size competitors” (p. 1).
However, the survival rate of small shops improved as they were “insulated by product differentiation” due to the competition between large stores (Igami, 2011, p.2). This research contributes to the appearance of reasonable size-based entry regulations as it highlights the store size’s role as a substantial dimension of product differentiation.
Analysis of Reviewed Researches
The review of several scientific researches concerning customer satisfaction in the sphere of retailing allows making certain comparisons of business research methods. First of all, scholars clearly formulated the theme of their research and critically reviewed a substantial number of the peers’ articles that would be later mentioned in researches. Depending on inductive or deductive approaches that were used by scientists, the findings of the studies were derived from the customers’ interviewing or proved by it. Moreover, all researches were conducted according to the norms of business ethics.
All scholars used qualitative research in their work. This type of examination and conclusion-making is characterized by experience, in-depth analysis, and open-ended questions that encourage further related investigations. The majority of scholars conducted studies that are related to the examination of the connection between customer satisfaction or loyalty and the quality of service as they will definitely be applicable in practice for the improvement of store strategies. Almost all scholars used surveys, interviewing, or questionnaires as their method of data collecting as customers may be regarded as the source of the most reliable information for researches.
All conducted researches support several statements concerning store retailing and customer satisfaction. First of all, the quality service and product assortment have an immeasurably positive influence on consumer satisfaction that result in loyalty. The choice of large-scale or small-scale retail stores is defined not only by inner store practices as merchandising and logistics but people’s social and cultural peculiarities as well. All researches are substantively beneficial and have either practical implementation or further theoretical development.
However, there are differences between reviewed articles that are caused by their strengths and weaknesses. Not all studies are substantively universal and may be applied practically as their hypotheses cannot be considered confirmed or rejected due to an insufficient amount of collected data. For instance, the studies that analyzed the customer data from one specific retail store or one area are less reliable in comparison with the researches that cover a broader scope of a country and may be used for further comparative researches across multiple regions.
The review of ten scholar articles that contain examinations in the sphere of retailing demonstrates that the component of business researches may be observed in any sphere’s investigation. All scholars conducted their investigations according to the steps of the research process.
They selected practical, reliable, ethically acceptable, and actual issues in the sphere of retailing, reviewed a substantial amount of theme-related information from peers’ articles, developed hypothesis, and prepared samplings and research design. Scholars collected data by the same methods and analyzed gathered information to confirm the defined theories. All scholarly articles contain the purpose of study, objectives, methodology, analysis, and results. Although not all researches covered a broad scope to be universally applicable, the majority of them may be used for further investigations.
In general, the critical literature review of article demonstrates that business research plays an immeasurably significant role in business development. Due to empirical methods of research, it receives new information that may have practical implication and help to improve business operational cycles or management strategies. Moreover, the analysis of collected data encourages the solution of major business difficulties, especially profit maximization.
The future scope of research in the sphere of retailing is inconceivably large. In recent years, this domain observed not only a substantial growth of large-scale retailing but the development of online retailing as well. Further researches may be organized to examine the reasons of online customer satisfaction. These researches may evaluate the quality of service in online retail stores and will be conducted through online interviewing, surveys, or questionnaires. This paper has theoretical application as well as its structure may be used for literature reviews of the articles related to another spheres of business.
Agarwal, A., & Singh, M. R. P. (2018). Retail experience, customer satisfaction and behaviour intention: A study of Tier-II City consumers in organized retail settings. Journal of Marketing Vistas, 8(1), 20-39.
Biscaia, A. R., Rosa, M. J., Moura e Sá, P., & Sarrico, C. S. (2017). Assessing customer satisfaction and loyalty in the retail sector. The International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 34(9), 1508-1529. Web.
Igami, M. (2011). Does big drive out small? Entry, exit, and differentiation in the supermarket industry. Review of Industrial Organization, 38, 1-11. Web.
Irfan, W., Siddiqui, D. A., & Waqar, A. (2019). Creating and retaining customers: perspective from Pakistani small and medium retail stores. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 47(4), 350-367. Web.
Khare, A. (2013). Culture, small retail stores, and Indian consumer preferences: A moderating role of demographics. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 23(1), 87-109. Web.
Mafini, C., & Dhurup, M. (2015). Drivers of customer loyalty in South African retail stores. The Journal of Applied Business Research, 31(4), 1295-1310.
Nagar, D. (2016). Retail service quality and its effects on consumer preferences for retail format stores. Sona Global Management Review, 10(4), 12-19.
Oni, O., & Fatoki, O. (2013). Customer satisfaction and loyalty to small township retail stores in Mankweng, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Journal of Economics, 4(2), 83-88. Web.
Rana, S., Osman, A., & Islam, A. (2014). Customer satisfaction of retail chain stores: Evidence from Bangladesh. Journal of Asian Scientific Research, 4(10), 574-584.
Shin, J-K., Park, M-S., & Moon, M. K. (2015). Do eco-friendly VMD and store reputation increase satisfaction of retail customers? Psychology & Marketing, 32(12), 1148.