Survival in the Retail Apocalypse : A qualitative study about surviving the retail apocalypse as a retailer
Abstract: The retail apocalypse has a significant impact on the retail sector as we know it. The retail apocalypse is the reason for a harsh economic climate for physical retail stores throughout the world. The purpose of this study was to examine how sales personnel in retail stores can act as a competitive advantage when facing the retail apocalypse. Furthermore, a retail store chain in the electronic retail sector in Sweden named Kjell & Company has managed to become well established on the Swedish market and is steadily expanding and ignoring the fact of the retail apocalypse. In this study, relevant concepts have been reviewed to gain an understanding of the interaction between customers and sales personnel. The literature review covered six concepts that were used to create a model that could explain what influences a customer's overall satisfaction when interacting with a salesperson. The model is divided into two sections. The first section consists of the following concepts hard skills, soft skills, customer orientation and customer satisfaction and aimed to examine what is important for customers when interacting with a salesperson. The second part examined how service orientation can create loyalty by providing after-sales support, which should, in the end, lead to retail patronage. The model was used to understand how sales personnel can act as a competitive advantage in stores where sales overthe-counter are taking place. Interestingly the results indicated that the concepts are indeed crucial for retailers that conduct sales over-the-counter since this selling strategy often forces interaction between customer and salesperson.
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