Business professor publishes research on male, female loyalty in retail sector

Jul 31, 2013 | Business, Research and Development

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Men and women consumers take different paths to retail sector loyalty, according to an article published in a recent issue of the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

In the article titled “Negative Emotions, Value and Relationships: Differences between Women and Men,” Dr. Barry J. Babin, the Max P. Watson Professor of Business and chair of the marketing and analysis department in Louisiana Tech’s College of Business, and co-authors A. Borges and J.S. Boles addressed the question: “How do men and women come to be in committed relationships – at least with retailers and service providers?”

Dr. Barry Babin

Dr. Barry Babin

The article notes that the key difference to loyalty for men is repeated behavior. Once a male consumer repeats a behavior, he tends to become loyal and committed to that decision, the authors note. For men, after all, it’s a decision made and having to consider alternatives challenges the quality of that decision.

On the other hand, women like to shop around, according to the article. The authors point out that even after repeating behavior, women like to consider options. In this sense, building loyal clientele amongst a largely female marketing segment is a more elaborate process.

While the research doesn’t suggest that either men or women experience more negative emotions when shopping, the results do suggest that women respond more to negative emotion. For women, negative emotions lead to reduced value perceptions and reduced loyalty. The results do suggest that building commitment among female consumers may be more complex than for male segments. 

The authors note the major implication of the finding for businesses is the need to consider the gender makeup of their market segments when building relationship marketing strategies.

Babin has served as chair of Louisiana Tech’s marketing and analysis department since 2007.  He earned his doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1991 and is respected for his research in the area of consumer and employee interface within the exchange environment and he is coauthor of the world’s leading text on multivariate data analysis. Written by Reggie Owens –