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By Kristof De Wulf, Gaby Odekerken-schröder and Patrick Schumacher


Developments in information and communication technology enable sellers to better understand and respond to buyers ’ needs and preferences, allowing them to build stronger relationships than ever before. However, caught up in their enthusiasm for relationship marketing practices, is it possible that sellers have forgotten that relationships take two? The prime interest of this study is to explicitly take a buyer’s point of view by simultaneously assessing the impact of two new constructs on relationship success: seller retention orientation (as perceived by the buyer) and buyer relationship proneness. In addition, we want to investigate which antecedents underlie both hypothesized drivers of enduring relationships. Face-to-face interviews with 246 visitors of a large German shopping mall indicate that the development of a strong relationship depends upon perceived retention efforts made by the seller as well as on the intrinsic inclination of a buyer to engage in relationships. Moreover, the results related to the antecedents provide clear guidance to sellers for strengthening the impact of their retention efforts and for benefiting from enhanced customer segmentation. 2 WHY IT TAKES TWO TO BUILD SUCCESSFUL BUYER-SELLER RELATIONSHIPS Fournier, Dobscha, and Mick (1998, p. 42) recently claimed that “relationship marketing is in vogue

Year: 2000
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