• In the present volatile business climate, mergers and acquisitions are turning many large retail organizations into giants, whereas the small retail businesses, for the most part, remain as one-person operations. The organizational structure as well as the modes of operation differ greatly between the two types of retailers, yet these differences are seldom examined in marketing literature. Traditionally, the tendency among managers and researchers alike has been to regard a small business as a "little big business" in terms of assets, sales, and number of employees (Welsh and White 1981). Recently, however, researchers are arguing that there are numerous factors that distinguish small businesses from their larger counterparts. Davis, Hills, and LaForge (1985) identified four conditions that are common among small retail organizations: (a) one person performs most of the retail functions, (b) they are one-store operations, (c) they are under-capitalized, and (d) objectives are based on survival. Clearly, the aforementioned conditions do not exist within most large retail operations. No area is more central to any retail operation than the merchandise-buying function. A review of marketing literature reveals a plethora of research in the areas of consumer-buying behavior and industrial buying, whereas retail-buying behavior has all but been ignored. Not only is there a scarcity of research focusing on retail-buying behavior, but most of the studies reviewed tended to concentrate on large retail establishments rather than on small ones. This article examines the retail-buying behavior of apparel buyers for small retail establishments. Buyers were asked to indicate the importance of various factors influencing their purchase decisions, including their merchandise and vendor selection criteria and the sources of information they use. Related Research Recent retail-related research studies, though limited, have addressed the relative importance of various factors influencing retail purchase decisions. Researchers have found that the importance or merchandise selection criteria, vendor selection criteria, and information sources varies depending on factors such as store type and merchandise classification (Francis and Brown 1985, Hirschman 1981, Hirschman and Mazursky 1982, and Stone 1987). It is quite possible that the importance placed on these factors will also vary depending on store size. This would be expected according to the Cravens and Finn (1983) model of vendor patronage. The Cravens and Finn model identifies three factors which influence vendor selection criteria (evaluative criteria). These are the decision situation, the product/service, and the buying organization. One of the elements of the buying organization listed as a potential influence on vendor selection criteria is the size of the organization. Therefore, one would not expect small organizations to make decisions using the same criteria and information sources as large organizations. In addition, other background characteristics of small stores and small store buyers may influence the buying process. No previous study has focused exclusively on the purchase decisions of buyers for small retail organizations. The purpose of this study is to extend the body of knowledge concerning retail-buying behavior to include small, independently owned apparel stores. Three research questions are addressed: 1. What is the relative importance of merchandise and vendor selection criteria used by buyers for small, independently owned apparel stores? 2. What is the relative importance of the information sources used by buyers for small, independently owned apparel stores? 3. How do the background characteristics of small independently-owned apparel stores affect the importance placed on information sources and selection criteria used by their buyers? METHODOLOGY A purposive sample frame composed of store owner/buyers who had participated in the apparel market activities sponsored by a southwestern state university was used. … ()
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  • 2016-06-24 ()
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  • Blackwell Publishers Ltd. ()
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  • Selection Criteria and Information Sources in the Purchase Decisions of Apparel Buyers of Small Retailing Firms ()
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