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Effect of Service Convenience

on Service Loyalty: Moderating Role


of Consumer Characteristics

Arafat Rahman * and Parisa Islam Khan**

The concept o f service convenience has received substantial attention in services marketing
literature. Nevertheless, little is known about the relationship between service convenience
and service loyalty when consumer characteristics act as moderators. This study aims to
investigate these associations in the context o f superstores operating in Bangladesh. The study
findings suggest significant relationship between service convenience and service loyalty in the
presence o f age, gender, and education level of consumers. Decision and post-benefit convenience
have been found to be significant across all categories of consumer characteristics whereas
transaction convenience has been insignificant for all categories of consumer characteristics.
A number o f future research directions have been proposed which include the reproduction
o f the study model in other service settings both for business-to-consumer and business-to-
business services. Furthermore, researches can be extended to investigate the underlying causes
o f the insignificant predictive ability for the transaction convenience related to retail services.

Key Words: Convenience, Service convenience, Service loyalty, Consumer characteristics,


Superstores

INTRODUCTION
The rise in the consumers discretionary income and rapid urbanization associated
with the growth of populations in the developing and low-income countries have
caused significant shift in lifestyle which is principally characterized by increased
consumption of processed products (Meade e t a l , 2011). This rising concentration on
time and effort saving consumption culture is the illustration of consumers preference
for convenience. Prior studies on convenience either concentrated on the conceptual
development or defined and differentiated convenience and convenience-centered
consumers in relation to physical product consumption and service consumption (Kelley,
1958; Anderson, 1971 and 1972; Berry et a i , 2002; and Farquhar and Rowley, 2009).
* Assistant Professor, Institute of Business Administration, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka 1342,
Bangladesh. E-mail: arafat@iba-ju.org
* * Assistant Professor, Faculty of Business Administration, Eastern University, House 26, Road 05, Dhanmondi,
Dhaka 1205, Bangladesh. E-mail: parisa@easternuni.edu.bd
SOUTH ASIAN JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT

Kelly (1958) conceptualized convenience as the blend of spatial, temporal, social, and
esthetic dimensions. In an effort to establish consumers convenience-oriented typologies
across socioeconomic strata, Anderson (1971) suggested that the consumers family
life cycle and socioeconomic status, among other, play significant role in convenience-
orientation. It is also stressed that the convenience-centered consumption helps
consumers to have additional time and energy that they can use elsewhere (Anderson,
1971 and 1972). In the later study, Anderson (1972) posited that convenience
orientation can be diverse depending on the nature of products such as foods and
durable goods. Thus, convenience can be perceived as the state of being able to
proceed with something without difficulty. Consumers seem to be more inclined to
the products and services which are easily accessible, time, energy-saving and
frustration reducing. Later, researches investigated how consumer demographic and
lifestyle characteristics linked to the purchase of convenience-related goods and
services and how consumers convenience orientation extended to services (Nickols
and Fox, 1983; Berry et al, 2002; Farquhar and Rowley, 2009; Chang et al, 2010; Thuy,
2011; and Nguyen et al, 2012).
Like many other concepts of services marketing, convenience is seen as a context-
driven concept. Convenience may vary according to the situation and along with the
characteristics of the consumers. Brown (1990) suggested that the convenience should
be considered as multidimensional construct and the demand for convenience is
situational. However, Berry et al. (2002) conceptualized the service convenience with
five distinct dimensions and these dimensions have been validated later by Seiders
et al. (2007). The later study defined this service convenience scale as SERVCON in
which early definitional paradigm related to decision, access, transaction, benefit,
and post-benefit conveniences has been confirmed. Subsequent researches either used
this model to identify antecedents and consequences of service convenience or to
revisit the convenience so that other service-related developments can be offered as
future research avenues. Several studies established the understanding of the influence
of convenience on customer evaluation and purchase behavior (Rust et al, 2004; and
Seiders et al, 2005). Colwell et al. (2008) identified that service convenience act as a
predictor of customer satisfaction. From somewhat different perspective, Farquhar and
Rowley (2009) proposed that the convenience for a service firm can be positioned in
relation to other dominant services marketing concepts such as co-production, and
experiential consumption.
However, little thought has been extended to incorporate loyalty aspect in the
context of services when service convenience can possibly act as a precursor. Loyalty
represents the behavior that drives consumers toward a specific brand, creates strong
preference and ensures repeat purchases. While explaining the satisfaction-loyalty
relationship, Oliver (1999) mentioned that satisfaction is a necessary precursor of
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EFFECT OF SERVICE CONVENIENCE ON SERVICE LOYALTY:
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loyalty even though it may vary depending on the nature of product, consumerspersonal
fortitude, and social bonding. As far as the loyalty related to services is concerned,
Gremler and Brown (1996) showed that service loyalty construct consists of three
separate dimensionsbehavioral loyalty, attitudinal loyalty, and cognitive loyalty. This
study also tried to create a framework for examining loyalty by looking at three
antecedentssatisfaction, switching costs, and interpersonal bonds. Jones and Taylor
(2007) found several loyalty-related outcomes and reflected two dimensions: a
behavioral element and a combined attitudinal/cognitive element. A conceptual
framework was also developed by Caruana (2002) which integrates service loyalty,
service quality and customer satisfaction. Several studies incorporated loyalty aspect
in the context of retail setting (Rothberg, 1971; Bloemer and Odekerken-Schroder,
2002; and Jensen, 2011). The study findings of Rothberg (1971) suggest that the
socioeconomic characteristics and purchasing activity vary across retailer types. While
investigating the store satisfaction and store loyalty of the consumers of supermarket
chain shop, Bloemer and Odekerken-Schroder (2002) revealed that consumers
relationship focus, store image and positive affect influences satisfaction which, in
turn, results in long-term patronage and commitment. In contrast, Jensen (2011)
investigated consumer loyalty in relation to grocery product categories and the study
findings indicated that loyalty varies across diverse product categories. Although Jensen
(2011) traced the affect of consumers characteristics (i.e., gender) on consumer loyalty,
none of these previous studies investigated the service convenience-service loyalty
connection in the presence of consumer characteristics as moderators.
O n the basis of this understanding, this study aimed to reveal the effect of service
convenience on service loyalty and examine the possible influence of consumer
characteristics as moderators. In the process, the study integrated the consumers of
the superstores operating in Bangladesh since these stores are aiming to target the
time constrained urban population who seek convenience through devoting least time
and effort in searching, comparing and bargaining process. According to Arif (2013),
the first supermarket started in Dhaka city was Agora owned by Rahimafrooz
(Bangladesh) Limited in 2001. But within the last one decade, there are considerable
developments in the number of superstores in the country. Brands such as Meena
Bazar, Fresh N Near, Nandan Mega Shop, Shwapno, Prince Bazar, CENTEL, Pacific
Super Center, and B2K Shopping Mart have emerged as strong brands over this period.
The annual turnover is now more than 15.0 billion in local currency and this turnover
has been generated by nearly 30 companies with more than 200 outlets operating
across the country (Arif, 2013). Thus, this is the perfect set-up to address and explore
the service convenience and loyalty dimensions of this sector so that the corporations
as well as the researchers would be able to comprehend the success factors of this
industry in Bangladesh and can take further research initiatives in future.

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OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY


Consumers loyalty towards a category of service can result in long-term patronage
and other behavioral as well as psychological responses to the service in question.
When consumers use convenience as one of the antecedents of service loyalty, the
picture might be different across the service categories depending on the varying
nature of services. It is particularly significant since the convenience, as a broad measure
of service production and delivery, is found to be reflected by the presence of a set of
sub-dimensions. However, it cannot be generalized that the prospective relationship
between service convenience and service loyalty would be somewhat similar for
consumers with differing characteristics (i.e., gender). Thus, the present study focuses
on the interrelationship between the service convenience and service loyalty in which
consumer characteristics might play moderating role. The study sought to address the
following questions:
Are the service convenience dimensions and service loyalty significant on
their own in case of superstores?
Does service convenience, as a broad measure, affect service loyalty?
Is there any difference in the interrelationship between service convenience
and service loyalty when consumers age and gender play the moderating
role?

To what extent consumers education level influences the relationship


between service convenience and service loyalty?

LITERATURE REVIEW
SERVICE CONVENIENCE
The concept of Convenience has been researched widely in the consumer behavior
literature with particular attention to the convenience related to the consumption of
physical goods (Copeland, 1923; Murphy and Enis, 1986; and Anderson and Shugan,
1991). Much of this debate concentrated on the issues such as time and effort which,
according to these previous studies, define the perimeter of the convenience construct.
For instance, Copeland (1923) indicated a type of consumer product that requires
intensive distribution so that consumers would need less time and effort while going
through the purchasing process, and this product type was labeled as Convenience
Goods. Berry et al. (2002) posited that the Convenience dimension specifically
refers to a consumers preference towards goods and services. The goods-dominant
aspect of convenience is predominantly attached to the distribution of goods through
intermediaries (Berry et al, 2002). According to Berry et al. (2002), some areas of
convenience construct are specific to the physical goods and these aspects help to
reduce the consumers time and effort needed for the consumption. Several earlier

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studies have indicated that the convenience is a consumption strategy and consumers
seek to complete a given task within a shortest possible time (Morganosky, 1986; and
Yale and Venkatesh, 1986). Consumers desire to complete a task spending less time
and effort in relation to consumption convenience has been found to reduce the non
monetary cost of a product (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971).
A multidimensional conceptualization of the convenience construct is the service
convenience that principally deals with a number of dimensions related to the
consum ers time, and effort perceptions. The service convenience has been
conceptualized as the ...consumers time and effort perceptions related to buying
and using a service (Berry et al, 2002; p. 1). These time and effort costs are inversely
related to the consumers perceptions of service convenience (Kumar et al, 1997). It
means that if a customer needs to wait a longer time to receive a service, he or she will
perceive the service as less convenient. Several prior studies categorized convenience
construct from which later conceptualization on the categorization of service
convenience emerged (Brown, 1990; Anderson and Shugan, 1991; and Seiders et al,
2000). Brown (1990) proposed a schema in which the convenience construct has been
categorized in terms of time, place, acquisition, use, and execution. Seiders et al.
(2000) developed a shopping convenience framework that particularly concentrated
on the consumers shopping speed and ease.
The time and effort perceptions of the service convenience have been specifically
addressed in the conceptual framework of Berry et al. (2002). These researchers
categorized the service convenience into five broad areas decision convenience,
access convenience, transaction convenience, benefit convenience, and post-benefit
convenience. The study also delineated several characteristics of services which acted
as the influencers of the service convenience construct and its underlying facets. The
decision convenience has been defined as the consumers time and effort costs
associated with the decision to purchase and use a service (Berry et al, 2002). The
consumers time and effort cost related to the initiation of the service delivery is the
access convenience. According to Berry et al (2002), access convenience is more
complex for inseparable services. Transaction convenience is seen as the consumers
time and effort cost involved in finalizing the transaction. This can include (but not
limited to) fast payment procedure at the service setting. Benefit convenience deals
with the experiences that a consumer encounter while receiving the core benefits of
a service. However, the aspects of the benefit convenience have been found to vary
across different services (Berry et al, 2002; and Seiders et a l, 2007). A consumer
might have a need for maintenance, post-purchase support, or exchange following a
service transaction. Post-benefit convenience is related to such situations in which
customers may indicate that their investment of time and effort is worthwhile if the
service firm reacts quickly following any post-purchase issue (i.e., maintenance).

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In a later study, Seiders et al. (2007) defined service convenience as a second-


order, five-dimensional construct which has been found to be influenced by competitive
intensity, product category involvement, and product return experience among others.
This particular study by Seiders et al. (2007) stretched the consequences of service
convenience into categories such as behavioral intentions, repurchase visits, and
repurchase spending. Unlike the previous study by Berry et al. (2002), this study did
not incorporate the firm-level and individual-level factors. However, Seiders et al.
(2007) used environmental factor such as competitive intensity and consumers
affective response such as shopping enjoyment as some of the antecedents of the service
convenience construct. Though the broad five dimensions of the service convenience
and the outcomes of convenience have been studied in these two particular studies
(Berry et al., 2002; and Seiders et al., 2007), the effect of service convenience on
service loyalty is still unnoticed.
In a recent study, Colwell et al. (2008) revealed that the service convenience is a
predictor of customer satisfaction. The study applied the five dimensions of service
convenience as proposed by Berry et al. (2002) and investigated the relationship between
the service convenience constructs and satisfaction in the context personal cellular
phone and internet usage. Similar relationship has been established by Chang et al.
(2010) in their study on the effect of service convenience on the post-purchase behaviors.
Chang et al. (2010) indicated that service convenience influence customer satisfaction
which, in turn, affects customer loyalty. In addition, this study demonstrated that the
perceived service guarantee strength moderates the relationships between service
convenience and customer satisfaction and, thus, subsequent customer loyalty. Thuy
(2011) used the dimensions of service convenience in order to examine its effect on
customer satisfaction through direct and indirect paths in which service quality has
been revealed as an intermediate construct between service convenience and customer
satisfaction. However, the study missed out the consequences of customer satisfaction
that resulted from the service convenience construct. Even though these recent studies
addressed the consequences of service convenience, but there is a lack of research on
how service convenience might influence service loyalty in the context of retail service
industry.
SERVICE LOYALTY
The consumer loyalty and its preconditions have been studied through several previous
researches. Much of these studies focused on the interrelationships between customer
satisfaction and loyalty. It has been suggested through previous studies that customer
loyalty is a key outcome or consequence of satisfaction construct (Oliver, 1997, cited
in Szymanski and Henard, 2001). Szymanski and Henard (2001) investigated three
outcomes of satisfaction: complaining behavior, negative word-of-mouth, and repeat
purchasing and it was found that customer satisfaction has significant relationship
and influence on the repeat purchasing behavior. Zeitham et al. (1996) also proposed,

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in a previous study, that service quality influences consumers behavioral intentions


both favorable and unfavorable where remaining loyal is considered to be one of the
components of favorable behavioral intentions. Luo and Homburg (2007) have
categorized the outcomes of satisfaction into four broad categories, and expressed
customer loyalty and repurchase behavior as under customer-related outcomes category.
In a separate study on the role of emotional satisfaction, it has been found that emotional
satisfaction has positive association with customer loyalty and relationship quality
(Wong, 2004). Particularly, it was revealed that feelings of enjoyment work as the
precursor to the loyalty construct in the cases of service encounters (Wong, 2004).
This emotional predisposition is further related to a consumers decision to stay or
leave decision (Bagozzi et al, 1999).
As far as the definitional aspect is concerned, customer loyalty has been defined as
the strength of relationship between a consumers relative attitude and patronage
behavior whether this behavior is formed and directed towards a brand, service, store,
or vendor (Dick and Basu, 1994). Relative attitude is defined as an appraisal attached
to a particular brand, service, store, or vendor compared to other brands, services,
stores, and vendors where this attitude is likely to fuel the repeat patronage (Dick
and Basu, 1994). However, service loyalty is considered to be a different concept as
compared to brand loyalty (Gremler and Brown, 1996; and Javalgi and Moberg, 1997).
According to Javalgi and Moberg (1997), it is relatively complex to measure service
loyalty due to the existence of unique features of services such as inseparability and
intangibility. However, service loyalty has been defined as ...the degree to which a
customer exhibits repeat purchasing behavior from a service provider, possesses a positive
attitudinal disposition toward the provider, and considers using only this provider
when a need for this service arises (Gremler and Brown, 1996, p. 173). Central to this
definition are the three dimensions of service loyalty: behavioral loyalty (Jacoby and
Chestnut, 1978, cited in Gremler and Brown, 1996; and Jones and Taylor, 2007) as
indicated by the repeat purchasing behavior, attitudinal loyalty reflected by relative
attitude (Dick and Basu, 1994) and proactivity in recommendations (Butcher et al,
2001), and cognitive loyalty (Lee and Zeiss, 1980, cited in Bloemer et al, 1999) as
indicated by exclusive considerations and intentions to pay higher prices (Gremler
and Brown, 1996; Bloemer et al, 1999; and Jones and Taylor, 2007). Gremler and
Brown (1996) further posited that service loyalty comprises of these three dimensions,
and it develops only after customers reach to a certain level of satisfaction. However,
a later study indicated that satisfaction can play mediating role between the relationship
of service quality and service loyalty (Caruana, 2002). This study also revealed that
consumers education level and age significantly affect service loyalty. The study results
of Caruana (2002), thus, confirm the likely affect of consumers demographics while
measuring service loyalty.
Bloemer et al. (1999), in a study of perceived service quality and service loyalty,
identified four distinct dimensions of service loyalty that include purchase intentions,

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word-of-mouth communication, price sensitivity, and complaining behavior. Even though


some of these dimensions are similar as found in the study of Jones and Taylor (2007),
but still this later study initially summarized the outcomes of previous researches on
the overall service-loyalty related outcomes into nine categories: repurchase intentions,
switching intentions, exclusive intentions, relative attitude, willingness to recommend,
altruism, willingness to pay more, exclusive consideration, and identification. The
study, however, resulted in eight consumer responses under behavioral and attitudinal/
cognitive dimensions (Jones and Taylor, 2007). These eight dimensions include
repurchase intentions, switching intentions, exclusive intentions, strength of
preference, advocacy, altruism, willingness to pay more, and identification (Jones and
Taylor, 2007). A nother early study argued that service loyalty as an enduring
psychological attachment wherein the loyalty is demonstrated through advocacy,
tendency to resist switching, identification, and relative preference over competing
service providers (Butcher et al, 2001). Several of these dimensions are consistent
with the results of the study conducted by Jones and Taylor (2007).

CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS
Even though several previous studies conceptualized the service convenience construct,
these studies overlooked the possible moderating roles of consumer characteristics
while establishing relationship between service convenience and other constructs such
as loyalty, satisfaction and service loyalty. For instance, Berry et al. (2002) identified
that consumers attributions of firm controllability acts as the moderator between service
convenience and service evaluations such as satisfaction, service quality, and loyalty.
Seiders et al. (2007) conceptualized the antecedents and the consequences of the
service convenience construct. However, this study did not establish any possible affect
of consumer characteristics as moderators. Caruana (2002) suggested the notable
influence of some consumer characteristics while investigating the impact of service
quality on service loyalty in which customer satisfaction plays mediating role. Several
other studies either tried to concentrate on establishing relationship between service
convenience and service quality or used service convenience as a means to customer
satisfaction and loyalty (Chang et al, 2010; Thuy, 2011; and Nguyen et al, 2012).
Several previous studies in consumer behavior identified the presence of consumer
characteristics as moderators (Homburg and Giering, 2001; Mittal and Kamakura,
2001; Cooil et al, 2007; Ndubisi, 2006; Walsh et al, 2008). Customer satisfaction and
loyalty relationship has been examined by Homburg and Giering (2001) in which
consumers age, variety seeking, and income have been identified as significant
moderators of satisfaction-loyalty relationship. In addition to these, the study also
incorporated consumers gender and involvement as possible moderators (Homburg
and Giering, 2001). Another study on satisfaction-loyalty relationship confirmed that
income, loyalty card membership, and expertise are the key consumer characteristics
that work as moderators (Walsh et al, 2008). In a study on satisfaction, repurchase

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intent, and repurchase behavior, Mittal and Kamakura (2001) identified that consumer
characteristics such as gender, education level, age among others have significant
moderating affect on the relationship between satisfaction and repurchase behavior.
For instance, consumers with college graduate or postgraduate education level
demonstrated considerable influence on this satisfaction-behavior relationship (Mittal
and Kamakura, 2001). Another study based on the Canadian banking industry
determined the moderating effects of consumers age, income, education, expertise,
and length of relationship on satisfaction and share of wallet relationship (Cooil et al,
2007). Surprisingly, the study finding indicated that income and length of relationship
negatively moderate the relationship (Cooil et al, 2007). In a relationship marketing
context, Ndubisi (2006) identified that gender difference though exists in trust-loyalty
relationship, but gender does not moderate the connection between commitment,
communication, conflict handling, and loyalty.
On the basis of current literature on consumer characteristics as moderators, it is
found that characteristics such as age, gender, education among others can have
moderating effect on satisfaction-loyalty relationship even though these moderators
possible effect need to be tested in case of service convenience and service loyalty
interrelationship. This certainly justifies the need for current study considering the
service convenience and service loyalty as the key variables and several consumer
characteristics as moderators.

STUDY HYPOTHESES A N D FRAMEWORK


On the basis of the reviewed literature and study objectives, following hypotheses and
conceptual framework (Figure 1) of the study are posited:
HI: Service convenience dimensions and service loyalty are significant on their own
for superstores.
H2: Male consumers are likely to demonstrate greater influence on the relationship
between service convenience and service loyalty than that of their female
counterparts.
H3: Younger consumers use service convenience as an influential antecedent of service
loyalty than the older consumers.
H4: Consumers education level exerts significant influence on the interplay between
service convenience and service loyalty.

METHODOLOGY
MEASURES AND INSTRUMENT
The measures used in this cross-sectional study were based on the multi-item scales.
These items were generated from the review of the existing literature. The service
convenience construct has been measured by using 17 items based on the service

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Figure 1: Conceptual Framework

Decision Convenience

Access Convenience

Transaction Convenience

Benefit Convenience

Post-benefit Convenience

Service Convenience

convenience (SERVCON) scales suggested in several previous studies (Berry et al.,


2002; and Seiders et al., 2007). The scale items have been adapted to fit with the
specific service category chosen for the current study. A summary of specific measures
of service convenience construct and the associated items is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Measures of Service Convenience


Service Convenience Measures No. of Items
Decision Convenience (DCON) 3
Access Convenience (ACON) 4
Transaction Convenience (TCON) 3
Benefit Convenience (BCON) 4
Post-benefit Convenience (PCON) 3

Likewise the service loyalty construct has been measured based on the investigation
of the existing literature. In this case, 8 items have been used to assess the different
dimensions of consumers service loyalty. These items investigated service loyalty
construct in the context of consumers repeat purchase behavior, exclusivity, price
sensitivity, affiliation, word-of-mouth behavior, and value judgment. Three consumer
characteristics have been identified and used in this study: gender, age, and education.
Among these, gender and age are considered as natural or biological traits whereas
education is an acquired trait which is widely used as a marker of individuals skills
and perceptual developments.
The instrument used in this study was a self-administered questionnaire that
comprised of three sections. As mentioned earlier in this section, the study used total

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25 items: 17 items for service convenience and 8 items for service loyalty. Likert-type
seven item scales with end-anchors (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree) were
adopted for these 25 items under the two broad constructs.
CHOICE OF SERVICE
Superstores were chosen as the service category in this study. The selection of this
service was made due to the presence of two key developments in Bangladesh especially
in the large, urban areas. Firstly, the superstores have seen staggering growth in last
several years and also expecting to grow by yearly about 30% by 2021 from its current
14% annual growth (Turnover of supermarkets, 2012). It indicates that the superstore
is the major growth-led service industry in Bangladesh that needs to concentrate on
the consumers convenience and loyalty aspects so that the corporations in this industry
would be able to accommodate the changing industry structure and maturity stage in
future. Secondly, even though Seiders et al. (2007) conducted a field study related to
service convenience that incorporated the specialty retail stores in the United States
of America, no other study focused on the service convenience and loyalty relationship
in the context of large superstores that are operating in a developing country like
Bangladesh. Thus, the current study aims to fill this apparent gap in SERVCON-
related researches in country-industry setting.
SAMPLE
Questionnaires that comprised of the service convenience and service loyalty as well
as the consumer characteristics as moderators were adm inistered among 413
conveniently selected consumers who usually buy merchandises from the superstores
located in the Dhaka metropolitan city. In this case, the consumers who had completed
their shopping and were in the process of exiting the superstores were considered for
the survey. Exit interviews involving past consumers were not carried out in this study.
In addition, consumers who bought Convenience goods (Copeland, 1923; Holton,
1958; and Bucklin, 1963) were selected for the survey. This selection was principally
caused by the fact that the superstores in Bangladesh hardly keep products that fall
under Shopping and Specialty goods (Copeland, 1923; Holton, 1958; and Bucklin,
1963) categories and thus investigation of service convenience and loyalty involving
these categories was not an option for the study. A total of 355 usable responses have
been received which represents the final response rate of 85.95%. The sample was not
restricted among any specific gender, age, or other consumer characteristics.
DATA ANALYSIS
The data were prepared for the analysis before conducting further statistical tests.
Since the key constructs and the underlying item scales were representative of the
respondents perception related to service convenience and loyalty, the Cronbachs
Alpha was used to measure the internal consistency or reliability of these key constructs

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of the study. One-sample test has been carried out to measure the dispersion for the
individual study construct on its own. The rationale for applying this particular tool
was to see whether the five service convenience constructs and the service loyalty
construct demonstrate significant difference from the mid-point of the scale which is
4 for this current study. To assess the existence and strength of relationship of the five
dimensions of service convenience, Pearson correlation has been measured. In addition,
to measure the interdependence between service convenience and service loyalty in
the presence of consumer characteristics as moderators, multiple regression analysis
has been carried out. In this particular case, split-sample regression analysis has been
used to categorize the broad consumer characteristics into specific subgroups. The
relationship between product types and the dependent variable (service loyalty) has
not been investigated in this study since the existing literatures related to product
types are absent in relation to their moderating effects on the relationship between
service convenience and service loyalty. Variance Inflation Factor (VIF) and the
tolerance have been measured to observe the multi-collinearity of the predictor variables
related to the service convenience construct of the study. The estimate of collinearity
is necessary to reduce or eliminate undesirable consequences whenever a regression
analysis is used to analyze data (Mason and Perreault, 1991).

RESULTS
RESPONDENT CHARACTERISTICS
A total of 355 responses were collected in this study. Among these, 39.15% and 38.87%
respondents were from age group 18-24 and 25-34 respectively. 53.52% respondents
were male. As far as the education level of the respondents is concerned, respondents
with undergraduate college/university degree represent the largest group with 52.68%
respondents followed by postgraduate degree (Table 2).

Table 2: Profile of the Study Sample


Category N um ber Percent
Age
18-24 139 39.15
25-34 138 38.87
35-44 48 13.52
45-54 20 5.63
55-64 9 2.54
65 and over 1 0.28
Gender
Male 190 53.52
Female 165 46.48

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Table 2 (Cont.)
Category N um ber Percent
Education
Certificates and Diplomas 18 5.07
Undergraduate College/ 187 52.68
University Degree
Postgraduate Degree 95 26.76
Professional Degree 29 8.17
Other 26 7.32
Total 355 100

RELIABILITY OF THE STUDYS CONSTRUCTS


The Cronbach Alpha is widely used indicator to measure the internal consistency of
the scale items (Malhotra, 2009). The results of the reliability analysis of the study
indicate that the Cronbach Alpha for all constructs is higher than the suggested
minimum level of 0.60 (Malhotra, 2009). Even though the transaction convenience
construct has the lowest alpha value among all other constructs, still it is within the
acceptable range of 0.60 (Table 3).

Table 3: Validation of the Constructs Reliability


C onstruct No. of Items Reliability*
Decision Convenience (DCON) 3 0.70
Access Convenience (ACON) 4 0.64
Transaction Convenience (TCON) 3 0.61
Benefit Convenience (BCON) 4 0.68
Post-benefit Convenience (PCON) 3 0.69
Service Loyalty 8 0.79
Note: * Cronbach Alpha

DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR THE STUDY CONSTRUCTS


The results of the analysis indicate that all five dimensions representing the service
convenience construct, and the separate service loyalty construct have observed values
that are greater than 4, which is the median of the scale. Furthermore, the significance
scores of indicate that the five service convenience dimensions are significant at
p < 0.01 level. This is also the case for the service loyalty construct as represented by
its strong statistical significance (Table 4).
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE SERVICE CONVENIENCE DIMENSIONS
The dimensions of the service convenience construct were positively correlated with
statistical significance. The strongest correlation is amongst transaction convenience
and access convenience which is followed by correlations between access convenience
Volume 21 j Q No. 3
SOUTH ASIAN JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT

Table 4: Mean Scores for the Study Constructs


C onstruct M ean SD t-Value P
Decision Convenience (DCON) 5.10 1.18 17.57 0.00
Access Convenience (ACON) 4.95 1.02 17.54 0.00
Transaction Convenience (TCON) 5.05 0.99 19.75 0.00
Benefit Convenience (BCON) 5.01 1.02 18.69 0.00
Post-benefit Convenience (PCON) 4.71 1.18 11.40 0.00
Service Loyalty (SL) 4.85 0.94 17.02 0.00
Note: 1 = Strongly disagree, 7 = Strongly disagree, df = 354, Sig. (2-tailed).

and decision convenience, and benefit convenience and transaction convenience


(Table 5). The central to the greater association between access and transaction
convenience could be the consumers time-saving intention while completing
approach, buy, pay, and exit cycle in the superstores.

Table 5: Pearson Correlation of the Service Convenience Dimensions


Decision Access Transaction Benefit
C onstruct Convenience Convenience Convenience Convenience
(DCON) (ACON) (TCON) (PCON)
Decision Convenience (DCON)
Access Convenience (ACON) 0.45**
Transaction Convenience (TCON) 0.43** 0.47**
Benefit Convenience (BCON) 0.43** 0.38** 0.45**
Post-benefit Convenience (PCON) 0.26** 0.31** 0.34* 0.43**
Note: ** Significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

REGRESSION ANALYSIS
A multiple regression analysis has been carried out to investigate strength of association
between service convenience as the broad predictor variable and the service loyalty
as dependent variable. As the study intends to identify the moderating roles of the
selected consumer characteristics such as age, gender, and education between the
relationships of two broad constructs of the study, the moderators were grouped by
splitting them into specific subcategories. For instance, the regression analysis has
been conducted for male and female sample separately to see the predictive ability of
the predictor variables. Likewise, education has been sub-grouped into two categories:
lower than postgraduate degree and postgraduate or other degree. For the
categorization of age as another moderator, the study relied on the United Nations
(UN) universal definition for youth that states that any person who falls between the
ages of 15 and 24 years can be marked as a youth (UNESCO, 2013). Accordingly, age
has been grouped into two subcategories: Age 18-24 years and Age 18-24 years.

Volume 21 No. 3
EFFECT OF SERVICE CONVENIENCE ON SERVICE LOYALTY:
MODERATING ROLE OF CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS

As the results of the correlation analysis suggested that the predictor or independent
variables are significantly correlated, thus the estimation of the tolerance and the
VIF were necessary to confirm the collinearity among the predictor variables. According
to Hair et al. (2010), high degree of multi-collinearity is traced if the tolerance values
are lower and the VIF values are higher. The suggested cutoff points for the tolerance
and the VIF are 0.10 and 10, respectively (Hair et al, 2010). Any value of the tolerance
less than 0.10 and any value of the VIF more than 10 would suggests high degree of
multi-collinearity among the predictor or independent variables. The results of the
regression analyses of the study indicated that both the tolerance and the VIF values
are within the cutoff points. For instance, the lowest estimated tolerance was 0.52 and
the highest VIF was 1.93 when gender was considered as a moderating factor. The
results for two other consumer characteristics (age, education) in relation to tolerance
and VIF were within acceptable and suggested values. As collinearity exerts ...direct
effect on the variance of the estimate (Mason and Perreault, 1991, p. 270), so the
results suggest that the independent or predictor variables of the study exert acceptable
influence on the variances of the regression estimates when three consumer
characteristics are independently working as moderators. The collinearity statistics
and the regression estimates are presented in Table 6, 7, and 8.
The analysis suggests that the regression equations are statistically significant at
0.001 levels (Table 6, 7, and 8). It means that the consumers characteristics, as
moderators, affect the relationship between the service convenience and service loyalty
constructs. The adjusted R2 for the regression analysis when gender has been taken as
moderator were 0.37 and 0.38 for male and female subjects respectively, which can be
categorized as reasonable. The adjusted R2 values for the analysis when education
and age were taken as moderators were also above 0.30 with the least value of 0.31 for
Age 18-24 years as the moderator (Table 6, 7, and 8). This provides the evidence to
support the predictive ability of the model in which service convenience, as a broad
construct, influences service loyalty in the presence of specific moderators.
Even though the overall model provides the predictive ability of the service
convenience when consumers gender, education, and age act as moderators, some of
the individual dimensions that represent service convenience demonstrated lack of
predictability while establishing service convenience-service loyalty relationship.
Decision convenience and post-benefit convenience are the only dimensions of service
convenience construct which are statistically significant irrespective of the differences
in gender, education, and age. Thus, these two dimensions contributed significantly
in the formation of the service loyalty. As far as the gender is concerned, benefit
convenience is not a predictor of loyalty for male consumers. The poor predictive
ability of the benefit convenience for male consumers may be caused by the type of
convenience products that they buy from the superstores and lack of experience of
buying such products in a store setting in which ease of product advice, among others,

Volume 21 2 No. 3
SOUTH ASIAN JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT

can substantiate consumers


pp r- o
L
O 4 benefit-level perceptions. For
aM > consumers with Lower than
-
CO z
o
u postgraduate degree, decision
a 0<3D u0)
u
convenience, benefit
c c
a $
o- oo
oo
oo
o 8
<
Z
> o
VO
o o o
convenience and post-benefit
o
w O convenience are the precursors
J3
"3 of service loyalty. Like male
P5 QJ consumers, youth consumers
13 LO
a
g<L> o (18-24 years) demonstrate that
Pi the benefit convenience has no
S'
<u
o
oz significance while contributing
vo 00 VO <: to the formation of service
V
Tl- Cn J rn
CX) o loyalty. In this case, the younger
\
0o) consumers may require greater
d
benefits related to merchandise
e<u "3 a
Cu
o
m
o
s
o
O o
rn rn
O o
evaluation. Access convenience
eo *-*
CO ^ 8 is found to be insignificant
o predictor of loyalty for older
< o
ou yQ ~os consumers, female consumers,
p
H <u <
<D
C/3 > o au and consumers who have lower
4
-)
CD CO g 2 than postgraduate degree or
-4
-> > -
>
educational qualifications. This
d c s |
O
u do n) rs )
VO m
may be attributed to the
4> O a z
oa oo consumers frequent busy
o o
o
d
a> o
wP -< schedules, lack of ownership of
O
personal vehicles, and
0) 'O
3" H m r^
- O physiological inability of very
O V rn o
, 4) O o O
elderly consumers who cannot
readily take advantage of the
OX)
d & g location and other facilities
o
in VO S offered by the superstores.
4> rn (UQ -
8 .2 -a
o >
I- e Surprisingly, transaction
<Dcc
convenience is statistically
VO - o
4> 'g 03 On -'i- cCJ insignificant for all moderator
C5D rsl o 1s
d O ^ <u categories (Table 6, 7, and 8).
I CW * * 4-.
C O

<DIC U The reason behind this


S r? acj insignificance of transaction
OS
-a< convenience may be caused by
Z z
ou oo oz oZ
D
p aj the consumers heightened
o o
Q < H 03
T3> zo importance on the superstores

Volume 21 2 2 No. 3
EFFECT OF SERVICE CONVENIENCE ON SERVICE LOYALTY:
MODERATING ROLE OF CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS

efforts behind facilitating buying


o
* PH VO
>-H
p")
PO cn JB
decisions and p o st-p u rch a se
cd
> services.
*-*
CO
O
a DISCUSSION
o. *c
cd
3 <u VO r*4
Oi ,g t^- CO O 8 S erv ice c o n v e n ie n c e is
c Q o
O
<U u c o n c e p tu a liz e d as a
J3 J3
Fc3 multidimensional construct that
pc<
incorporates several dimensions
<D Ov o
ti <L>
o to investigate consumers time
Q and effort perceptions related to
v
o cd
oz service c o n su m p tio n . E ven
i <:
<U
"3 VO r- th o u g h some of th e previous
(ZX)
cd o Ov in
0-4 rn r-i stu d ie s id e n tifie d th e
0) 8
o antecedents and consequences

0>
o f service c o n v e n ie n c e , b u t
"O cd vO O
rT m none of th ese stu d ies
c 8*-* Cu O
CO
o
o investigated th e influence of
o
0)
0 oz gj service convenience on service
U g
1<u Q S loyalty w hen c o n su m er
(Z)
PH
M
>
oo oo
s Ov
VO
CO 3

g UJ c h a ra c te ris tic s a c t as th e
<D cd
*-1 a p
CO S
23 moderators. O n this basis of this
> C
S' d
o -d
rationale, this study aims to test
O c
cd
0O) a o
.g
<D cd O
d S
O ... the affect of service convenience
vn n
r-
.2
*
OD
0) 3 CL)
VO
O o o iao ^9^
on service loyalty in the presence
Q O ^ O
0 Q uP

-a cd
^C of age, gender, and education of
W
73 the consumers as the moderators.
cd
u-'i ro The findings indicate that the
00 O
VO
8 >o d>
o o O O
dim ensions re p re se n tin g th e
.V .y a
-a
<U 4-1
nl-M1X
C 3
(U service convenience construct
W> JS
O n ro O n
II a n d th e service loyalty are
Ps)
i O sig n ific a n t on th e ir ow n for
0) 3 8 y -O
"T3 ? c superstore services. It is also
O S
T z o b serv ed th a t th e service
zO c o n v e n ie n c e dim ensions are
'd
d cd*-* PnJ cO o
ro
g oCQ
JJ
O
cd2 fQ
^
O O z* oj significantly c o rre la te d w ith
3 co ^ 4-. O
d d
a> <L) e a ch o th e r w ith g re a te r
gd 'S
^
Cd
s-1 asso ciatio n s b etw een
*73 tra n sa ctio n convenience and
z z <r>
ou ou o o p d access c o n v e n ie n c e. S everal
u o
Q < H pa < sim ilarities and differences in

Volume 21 23 No. 3
SOUTH ASIAN JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT

the findings are observed while


tt vO oo investigating the moderating
Ph
in O
'3n
V
O
>
W
CO 2 roles of consumer characteristics
O between service convenience-
CJ
v H
a
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a
d s oo
VO
o
oo
00
ro cu found that moderating effects of
js
CO o o 'c<u
c CJ eS co age, gender, and education on
O eti
M HU o this relationship are significant.
J2 >* G
o
o5 However, several individual
PS (SI r>-
00 O O O dimensions of service loyalty
>- dem onstrated absence of
0o)c 2
O predictive ability in the formation
<
ou of service convenience and
00 r^-
00 rn ro
rn
<u
O
8 service loyalty relationship. For
co\ instance, benefit convenience
o has no significance while
G
0) rs rn
30) ** VO
rsj O O ro predicting service loyalty for male
4S
- C
Q O O O
> CO 8 consumers and for consumers
G
o whose age fall between 18-24
O
y
o
years. On the other hand, access
u0) pH
Q
^ <v
.
I (
>
<U op
convenience is not a significant
U C3
CO
-*->
CO 2 2 predictor of service loyalty for
0) p
> u>
43 & G u
O d female consumers, consumers
4-t *cCs (Uu o o
G V G o rn cS with lower than postgraduate
O G VO r- o *71
1u2 ^9* education level, and consumers
0)> <u o O o
W O oQ oU who are more than 24 years old.
<
o
HU But, the most unanticipated
u rf- 1> .1 e finding of the study indicates
'V
\
8 8 TT
On

o > that the transaction convenience


00 O O
s
w> <U
w> is not a predictor of service
G <
**3 >: c convenience-service loyalty
cud
0) S r oo
^ sCl. relationship irrespective of the
r- 4_>

O O O
> -ag categories of consumers
.y
X characteristics.
JJ
^ 2O
43
3 'TO 03 O jo03 CJ
W The findings of the study have
G ft <-n O rs 'C CQ
(S c ^
rn O O O ^4J < u extended the current
U
o u conceptualization of service
G G

1 >*
Cd & convenience and its
v S
Z Z z (U Q S consequences. For instance, this
2 <U
oCJ
O o
o CJ ocj J3
>X
c0JD study addressed an overarching
Q < H CQ < CO CO consequence of service
Volume 21 2 ^ . No. 3
EFFECT OF SERVICE CONVENIENCE ON SERVICE LOYALTY:
MODERATING ROLE OF CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS

convenience, specifically, service loyalty. Even though, prior researches addressed


satisfaction, behavioral intentions, and repurchase visits as consequences of service
convenience (Berry et al. 2002; Seiders et al. 2007; Colwell et al. 2008), this study
specifically brings the idea of service loyalty under which a wide array of behavioral
and psychological consequences have been outlined and investigated. Moreover, the
dimensions of service convenience have been analyzed in the presence of consumer
characteristics which extend the current knowledge of the key constructs, their
linkages, and subsequent consequences. For instance, the items that define access
convenience have been conceptualized in some prior researches as locational
convenience (Jones et 2003). The results of this current study provide further
insight as to how the locational or access convenience differs across consumer
characteristics and how it influences loyalty.

MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS
The findings of the study offer insights and implications for the service managers. As
the study has identified a significant relationship between service convenience and
service loyalty in the presence of consumer characteristics, it can contribute to the
marketers understanding of their customers preferences in a retail service setting.
Knowing that service convenience can influence service loyalty, organizations can take
decisions involving service design and delivery in ways that would ensure the highest
level of convenience for their customers in terms of decision, access, transaction, benefit
and post benefit conveniences. Since it is recognized from this study that decision
convenience and post-benefit convenience dimensions contribute significantly in the
formation of the service loyalty irrespective of the differences in consumer characteristics,
so the managers can emphasis on seeking ways and techniques to ensure that their
customer can make easy and quick decision, prior to purchase. Furthermore, ensuring
the availability of effective after sales services and prompt problem handling processes
can also give the managers opportunity to retain loyal customers.
Although the broad service convenience construct has been found to be a significant
precursor of service loyalty, but the dimen sions of service convenience do not show
the same level of contribution in influencing the loyalty factor. Specific findings show
that males and young people are not that much influenced by benefit like finding and
evaluating the right products quickly or getting the handy suggestions from the
personnel of the stores. On the other hand, female consumers are less influenced by
the access convenience. This pattern is also common among the consumers with lower
educational qualifications and consumers who fall under higher age categories. These
findings can be used as an insight while targeting a specific segment and prioritizing
the service offers. Thus, the service providers can create greater competitive advantages
by offering the right benefit to the right set of customers. Instead of generalizing their
marketing strategies and promotions, service providers can create greater value for
each group by introducing customized service benefits. Several future research

Volume 21 2 ^ No. 3
SOUTH ASIAN JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT

propositions can be drawn based on the results of this current study that would provide
further opportunity to extend studies on service convenience and its consequences.

LIMITATIONS A N D FUTURE RESEARCH


The results of this study are exposed to several limitations. However, these limitations
along with the study findings offer opportunities to suggest directions for future research.
One of the limitations of the study is that it investigated the service convenience-
service loyalty relationship in the context of superstores only. The scales and the study
model can be applied in other service categories before generalizing the results of the
study across diverse service categories. Furthermore, the study model can be applied
to other categories of retail store concept (i.e., departmental store) so that any possible
similarities and/or differences across different stores can be traced.
Additionally, the study restricted the selection of the moderator variables within
the consumer characteristics only. Two specific issues are related with this selection of
the moderator variables. Firstly, consumers age, gender, and education have been
used as the consumer characteristics in this study. O ther consumer characteristics
such as income, involvement, and variety seeking tendency could also be used to test
their likely affect on the service convenience-service loyalty relationship. This also
suggests th a t the future studies can incorporate broader range of consum er
characteristics while investigating the relationship between the underlying constructs
of the study. Secondly, the application of other variables (i.e., situational factors) as
moderators was not included in this study. For example, length of relationship (Cooil
et al, 2007) could be one of the situational factors that can be used as a moderator
variable for services where the relationship is seen as a critical success factor.
The study findings indicated that the transaction convenience has no significance
on the service convenience-service loyalty relationship irrespective of the categories
of consumer characteristics as moderators. However, it was not explored what caused
this insignificant moderating effect related to this dimension of service convenience.
Thus, future researches can explore the underlying causes of dimension-specific
insignificance such as this across different service categories with specific reasons. It
can be explored whether the definitional divergence of moderator variables can cause
this kind of absence of predictive ability of the key dimensions.
Thus far, the researchers concentrated on the business-to-consumer marketing
context while exploring the nature of service convenience and its antecedents and
consequences. The current study was not an exception to this issue. Thus, the future
studies can incorporate business-to-business marketing context to test the predictive
ability of service convenience construct on its apparent consequences. In these cases,
organizations nature can be used as moderator variable to test the relationship between
service convenience and service loyalty.

Volume 21 2 ^ No. 3
EFFECT OF SERVICE CONVENIENCE ON SERVICE LOYALTY:
MODERATING ROLE OF CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS

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MODERATING ROLE OF CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS

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