Building long-term supplier-retailer relationships in the jewellery sector: antecedents of customer loyalty

  • Elisa Martinelli
Keywords: supplier-retailer relationships; customer loyalty; dependence; trust; jewellery sector


Purpose of the paper: The paper aims at exploring the antecedents of customer loyalty in supplier-retailer relationships, with the final goal to identify the contribution of technical and relational factors.

Methodology: The research consisted in administering a structured questionnaire to a sample of retail customers of a well-known Italian manufacturing company operating in the jewellery sector. Data was processed applying a hierarchical multiple regression.

Results: Findings confirm the importance of building trustworthy relationships with retailers in order to maintain and enhance a good long-term relationship with them. Dependence resulted as a crucial factor in determining retailer customer loyalty.

Research limitation: The paper focuses on a sole company and sector (Jewellery). No control variables and moderating factors were considered. Next studies should apply the proposed model to other companies and sectors.

Practical implications: Given both the costs and risks associated with mismanaging a potentially valuable and loyal business partnership, deeper insights into the factors affecting a long-term supplier-retailer relationship is quite useful both for managers and business practitioners.

Originality of the paper: The building of a long-term oriented supplier-retailer relationship results to be less investigated in comparison with the higher attention given to the supplier-customer relationship by the industrial management literature. Moreover, research on supplier-retailer relationships tends to concentrate on the grocery sector, stressing the role of power rather than the impact of relational constructs on the relationship. This work aims at filling in these gaps in a barely investigated sector as the jewellery one.


AASTRUP J., KOTZAB H., GRANT D.B., TELLER C., BJERRE M. (2008), “A model for structuring efficient consumer response measures”, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 36, n. 8, pp. 590-606

BRYSON J.R., TAYLOR M. (2010), “Competitiveness by design and inimitability through service: understanding the dynamics of firm-based competition in the West Midlands jewellery and lock industries”, The Service Industries Journal, vol. 30, n. 4, pp. 583-596.

BENSAOU M., ANDERSON E. (1999), “Buyer-supplier relations in industrial markets: when do buyers risk making idiosyncratic investments?”, Organization Science, vol. 10, n. 4, pp. 460-481.

BLOOM P.N., PERRY V.G. (2001), “Retailer power and supplier welfare: The case of Wal-Mart”, Journal of Retailing, vol. 77, n. 3, pp. 379-396.

BRUN A., MORETTO A. (2012), “Contract design and supply chain management in the luxury jewellery industry”, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 40, n. 8, pp. 607-628.

CANNON J.P., PERREAULT V.D. JR. (1999), “Buyer-Seller Relationships in Business Markets”, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 36, n. 4, pp. 439-460.

CARRIGAN M., MCEACHERN M., MORAES C., BOSANGIT C. (2017), “The fine jewellery industry: Corporate responsibility challenges and institutional forces facing SMEs”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 143, n. 4, pp. 681-699.

CASTALDO S. (1994), Le relazioni distributive. La dimensione collaborativa nei rapporti industria-distribuzione, Egea, Milano.

CASTALDO S. (2010), Go to market, Il Mulino, Bologna.

ČATER T., ČATER B. (2010), “Product and relationship quality influence on customer commitment and loyalty in B2B manufacturing relationships”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 39, n. 8, pp. 1321-1333.

DE MARCHI V., LEE J., GEREFFI G. (2014), “Globalization, recession and the internationalization of industrial districts: experiences from the Italian gold jewellery industry”, European Planning Studies, vol. 22, n. 4, pp. 866-884.

DE PROPRIS L., LAZZERETTI L. (2009), “Measuring the decline of a Marshallian industrial district: the Birmingham jewellery quarter”, Regional Studies, vol. 43, n. 9, pp. 1135-1154.

DE RUYTER K., MOORMAN L., LEMMINK J. (2001), “Antecedents of commitment and trust in customer-supplier relationships in high technology markets”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 30, n. 3, pp. 271-286.

DONEY P.M., CANNON J.P. (1997), “An examination of the nature of trust in buyer-seller relationship”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 61, n. 2, pp. 35-51.

DWYER F.R., SCHURR P.H., OH S. (1987), “Developing Buyer-Seller Relationships”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 51, n. 2, pp. 11-27.

DYER J.H. (1996), “Does governance matter? Keiretsu alliances and asset specificity as sources of Japanese competitive advantage”, Organization Science, vol. 7, n. 6, pp. 649-66.

DYER J.H., SINGH, H. (1998), “The Relational View: Cooperative Strategy and Sources of Interorganizational Competitive Advantage”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 23, n. 4, pp. 660-679.

EL-ANSARY A.I., STERN L.W. (1972), “Power measurement in the distribution channel”, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 9, n. 1, pp. 47-52.

ELLEGAARD C., GEERSBRO J., MEDLIN C.J. (2009), Value appropriation within a Business Network, IMP ASIA conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL (2018a), World Market for Personal Accessories, July,

EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL (2018b), Jewellery in Western Europe, November,

EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL (2018c), Jewellery in Italy,

FERNIE J., SPARKS L. (2019), Logistics and Retail Management: Emerging issues and new challenges in the retail supply chain, KoganPage Publishers, UK.

FORNARI D. (1999), Rivoluzione commerciale & trade marketing, Egea, Milano

GAGGIO D. (2006), “Pyramids of trust: Social embeddedness and political culture in two Italian gold jewelry districts”, Enterprise and Society, vol. 7, n. 1, pp. 19-58.

GAGGIO D. (2007), In Gold We Trust: Social Capital and Economic Change in the Italian Jewelry Towns, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

GANESAN S. (1994), “Determinants of Long-Term Orientation in Buyer-Seller Relationships”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 58, n. 2, pp. 1-19.

GROVER V., TENG J. FIEDLER K. (2002), “Investigating the role of information technology in building buyer-supplier relationships”, Journal of Association for Information Systems, vol. 3, n. 7, pp. 217-45.

GUSTAFFSON K., JONSON G., SMITH D., SPARKS L. (2006), Retailing Logistics and Fresh Food Packaging, KoganPage Publishers, UK.

HEIKKILÄ J. (2002), “From Supply to Demand Chain Management: Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction”, Journal of Operations Management, vol. 20, n. 6, pp. 747-767.

HINGLEY M.K. (2005), “Power to all our friends? Living with imbalance in supplier-retailer relationships”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 34, n. 8, pp. 848-858.

HOPKINS C.D., PADGETT D. (2018), “Investigating Relationship Dependence in International B2B Channel Relationships: An Abstract”, in Krey N., Rossi P. (eds), Boundary Blurred: A Seamless Customer Experience in Virtual and Real Spaces, AMSAC 2018, Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, Cham.

ICE (2018),

JAIN M., KHALIL S., JOHNSTON W.J., CHENG J.M.S. (2014), “The performance implications of power-trust relationship: The moderating role of commitment in the supplier-retailer relationship”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 43, n. 2, pp. 312-321.

JAMBULINGAM T., KATHURIA R., NEVIN J.R. (2011), “Fairness-trust-loyalty relationship under varying conditions of supplier-buyer interdependence”, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, vol. 19, n. 1, pp. 39-56.

KAHRAMAN C., CEBEC U., ULUKAN Z. (2003), “Multi-criteria supplier selection using fuzzy AHP”, Logistics Information Management, vol. 16, n. 6, pp. 382-394.

KRACKLAUER A., PASSENHEIM O., SEIFERT D. (2001), “Mutual customer approach: How industry and trade are executing collaborative customer relationship management”, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 29, n. 12, pp. 515-519.

KUMAR N. (2005), “The power of power in supplier-retailer relationships”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 34, n. 8, pp. 863-866.

KUMAR N., SCHEER L.K., STEENKAMP J.B.E.M. (1998), “Interdependence, punitive capability, and the reciprocation of punitive actions in channel relationships”, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 35, May, pp. 225-235.

LINDBLOM A., OLKKONEN R. (2006), “Category management tactics: An analysis of manufacturers’ control”, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 34, n. 6, pp. 482-496.

LUGLI G. (1998), “Evoluzione dei rapporti conflittuali nella filiera del grocery”, Sinergie, n. 47, pp. 17-55.

LUMMUS R.R., DUCLOS L.K., VOKURKA R.J. (2003), “The impact of marketing initiatives on the supply chain”, Supply chain management: An International Journal, vol. 8, n. 4, pp. 317-323.

MAGLARAS G., BOURLAKIS M., FOTOPOULOS C. (2015), “Power-imbalanced relationships in the dyadic food chain: An empirical investigation of retailers’ commercial practices with suppliers”, Industrial Marketing Management, n. 48, pp. 187-201.

MANFREDA K.L., BERZELAK J., VEHOVAR V., BOSNJAK M., HAAS I. (2008), “Web surveys versus other survey modes: A meta-analysis comparing response rates”, International Journal of Market Research, vol. 50, n. 1, pp. 79-104.

MCKINSEY (2014), A multifaceted future: the jewellery industry in 2020,

MOORE C.M., BIRTWISTLE G., BURT S. (2004), “Channel power, conflict and conflict resolution in international fashion retailing”, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 38, n. 7, pp. 749-769.

MOHR J.J., FISHER R.J., NEVIN J.R. (1996), “Collaborative communication in interfirm relationships: moderating effects of integration and control”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 60, n. 3, pp. 103-115.

MORGAN R., HUNT S. (1994), “The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 58, n. 3, pp 20-38.

PANAYIOTOU N.A., KATIMERTZOGLOU P.K. (2015), “Micro firms internet adoption patterns: the case of the Greek jewellery industry”, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. 28, n. 4, pp. 508-530.

PELLEGRINI L. (2008), “I rapporti industria-distribuzione: modelli integrati e ricerca di cooperazione”, Economia e Politica Industriale, n. 3, pp. 84-100.

PFEFFER J., SALANCIK G. (1978), The external control of organizations: A resource dependence perspective, Harper and Row, New York, NY.

RAMASESHAN B., RABBANEE F.K., TAN HSIN HUI L. (2013), “Effects of customer equity drivers on customer loyalty in B2B context”, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, vol. 28, n. 4, pp. 335-346.

REN X., OH S., NOH J. (2010), “Managing supplier-retailer relationships: From institutional and task environment perspectives”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 39, n. 4, pp. 593-604.

RUSSO I., CONFENTE I., GLIGOR D.M., AUTRY C.W. (2016), “To be or not to be (loyal): is there a recipe for customer loyalty in the B2B context?”, Journal of Business, vol. 69, n. 2, p. 888-896.

SCHLEPER M.C., BLOME C., WUTTKE D.A. (2017), “The dark side of buyer power: Supplier exploitation and the role of ethical climates”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 140, n. 1, pp. 97-114.

SHEU C., REBECCA YEN H., CHAE B. (2006), “Determinants of supplier-retailer collaboration: evidence from an international study”, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, vol. 26, n. 1, pp. 24-49.

SIMONI C., RABINO S., ZANNI L. (2010), “Italian and Indian gold and jewelry SMEs, marketing practices in the USA: A comparative case study”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 17, n. 3, pp. 403-417.

SUBRAMANIAN U., RAJU J.S., DHA S.K., WANG Y. (2010), “Competitive consequences of using a category captain”, Management Science, vol. 56, n. 10, pp. 1739-1765.

SUTTON-BRADY C., KAMVOUNIAS P., TAYLOR T. (2015), “A model of supplier-retailer power asymmetry in the Australian retail industry”, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 51, November, pp. 122-130.

ULAGA W., EGGERT A. (2005), “Relationship value in business markets: the construct and its dimensions”, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, vol. 12, n. 1, pp. 73-99.

VARALDO R., DALLI D. (1989), “Le relazioni strategiche tra industria e distribuzione”, Sinergie, n. 19, pp. 13-48.

VARALDO R., FORNARI D. (1998), “L’evoluzione dei rapporti industria-distribuzione. Dalla cooperazione al conflitto”, Sinergie, n. 46, pp. 21-50.

VERMA R., PULLMAN M.E. (1998), “An analysis of the supplier selection process” Omega, vol. 26, n. 6, pp. 739-750.

WON LEE C., KWON I.W.G., SEVERANCE D. (2007), “Relationship between supply chain performance and degree of linkage among supplier, internal integration, and customer”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 12, n. 6, pp. 444-452.

ZINELDIN M., JONSSON P. (2000), “An examination of the main factors affecting trust/commitment in supplier-dealer relationships: an empirical study of the Swedish wood industry”, The TQM Magazine, vol. 12, n. 4, pp. 245-266.