Problem: The Fashion industry is a highly discussed issue today, and as it is very competitive, the awareness among consumers, especially male consumers, has increased. Through a preliminary research conducted by the authors, it was evident that creating customer relationships enables Fashion companies to maintain a competitive position in the market.
Also, it was believed that since men tend to stay loyal and are hesitant to purchase apparel from new stores, developing and maintaining relationships with them is crucial. Purpose: The aim of this thesis is to determine what a customer-supplier relationship in Fashion companies for men’s wear is and when it exists, in order to identify the most important aspects when developing and maintaining this relationship.
Method: A hermeneutic and an abductive approach have been used throughout this thesis, while a case study was performed. In order to fulfill the purpose of this thesis, five semistructured interviews were conducted with managers, at different hierarchical levels, and salesclerks of the chosen case company.
Theories: The theoretical areas that were used in this thesis consisted of theories regarding Customer Relationship Management, Fashion management, Customer-supplier relationships, Consumer behavior, Customer satisfaction, Communication in Fashion etc.
Conclusions: The authors came to the conclusion that the existing definitions of relationships do not identify a customer-supplier relationship in Fashion retailing. Therefore, the authors found it necessary to introduce a new definition for a customer-supplier relationship in Fashion companies for men’s wear, namely semi- intimate relationships. These relationships are long-term relationships that are characterized by frequent personal interactions, personal information exchange, a shared mode of thinking, two-way commitment and mutual values beyond monetary terms. Moreover, the authors concluded that a semiintimate relationship exists when the customers are included in the company and interactions are on interpersonal levels.
Furthermore, a semi-intimate relationship does not exist through one action; it is rather developed through a series of actions. The authors also determined that a customer focused culture, trust, commitment and loyalty, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, adding value through benefits and communicating the brand to the male customer are the most important aspects when developing and maintaining semi-intimate relationships. Finally, the authors found the concept of relational tools misleading in the context of this thesis and therefore, new implications for relational tools were introduced, with the sales force being the most important one, when developing and maintaining semi-intimate relationships.
Source: Jönköping University
Author: Joyce Antar | Donya Gholamifar