Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Management & Marketing

First Advisor

Ms. Rose Leahy


The purpose of this thesis is to examine relationship marketing strategies in department stores. The objectives of relationship marketing strategies are to make customers feel special (Dwyer et al. 1987) to feel as though the company cares for them (Tzokas and Saren, 1997) and wants to satisfy their individual needs (Buttle, 1996). This thesis sets out to ascertain the effectiveness of various relationship marketing strategies adopted by department stores and to generate theory regarding future customer retention strategies for the industry.

Indications of the effectiveness of relationship marketing are derived through qualitative and quantitative methods employed in the study. In all, the basis of the empirical research entailed a survey using one hundred questionnaires and five focus groups interviews to discover the perceptions of customers towards department stores.

The dominant conclusion arising from this study is that there are three main drivers of satisfaction that initially begin the journey towards effective customer relationships with department stores. These drivers as determined by the research, are customer service, the traditional marketing mix offerings and innovative value driven services. Thus, as identified by the research the challenge for department stores, is to bring these three critical areas that constitute the drivers of satisfaction into closer alignment to build positive relationships with their customers. Ultimately in capturing the epitome of relationship marketing as indicated in the study, committed seller-buyer relationships are likely to result.

In this era of relationship marketing, this research proves that there is an ongoing requirement for department stores to improve services that enhance relationships with customers and to achieve this, department stores need to become a cradle of continuous retailing innovation.

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