Evaluation and Improvement of an Industrial Retailer’s Level of Marketing Channel Integration : A Cross-Border Case Study from the Maintenance, Repair and Operations Sector Taking the Perspective of the Physical Store
Abstract: This thesis aims to answer the research question of how an industrial retailer’s level of channel integration can be evaluated and improved. A conceptual model is developed and applied in a case study context of the shop channel of a large international industrial distributor of maintenance, repair and operations goods. Marketing channel integration is proven to improve customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer expenditure - despite these benefits, there does not exist any evaluation method that helps researchers or practitioners determine the level of channel integration of an industrial retail channel. The case study follows a mixed method approach and uses qualitative data from in-depth interviews with 11 managers and 24 employees, as well as quantitative data from a management survey with 26 respondents. Using the conceptual model the shop channel of the German parent company was rated at a multi-channel level of integration and the Dutch shop channel at a multiple channel level of integration. Any improvement to the level of channel integration of an industrial retail channel depends on the understanding of and commitment to the integrated channel strategy by the shop management.
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