Supplier-Buyer Relationships within the Small-Sized Fashion Retail Industry : A qualitative study of relationship marketing within small-sized fashion retailers in Sweden

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: Despite the vast research within the fields of buyer-supplier relationships and the fashion industry, a lack of comprehensive understanding concerning the connection between the two seems to be found. Research regarding long-term relations and key concepts in form of trust and commitment, are stated to be crucial in order to create a long-term relationship. However, the importance of these concepts application regarding small-sized fashion retailers was identified to be an unexplored area; thus, a research gap was detected. This highlights a need for further research of the characteristics of the buyer- supplier relationships within small-sized fashion retailers. The purpose of this study was consequently to investigate buyer-supplier relationships within small-sized fashion retailers. Furthermore, based on the literature review of the theoretical framework, three research questions were formulated. To gather empirical data, a multiple-case study was conducted and semi-structured interviews with four purchasing managers working in the fashion industry were performed.   This study discloses that the concepts of trust and commitment were identified as being of great importance, in order to maintain a long-term relationship between the parties. Further, several factors, e.g. communication, conflict resolution and identification were distinguished to have a significant impact on the character of a close relationship. Finally this study concluded that the relation between the buyer and supplier is highly valued; with especially trust as a key factor. Both affective and calculative commitment was identified to exist, often depending on the size and dependence of the supplier. However, the prosperity of the business was ultimately argued to be the main reason for maintaining a partnership. Hence, the retailers preferred a close relationship, but sometimes accepted a transactional one due to their own customer demand. 

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