March 9, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on A comparative case analysis of Zara and Topshop Company

Fashion industry market as of the present is growing and is booming as there are sectors focused on the type of business. But, how come low cost fashion companies do impact in competition within the fashion industry? Is there really an issue pointing towards these companies such as Zara and Topshop? Fashion industry can have greater demands from various customer types and due to globalization, such low cost fashion companies can be in to prove its worth in the fashion market. The research can be used to determine underlying factors in such cases to be taken from Zara and Topshop and thus, provide awareness to the fashion business of such impact in the market mostly, to those first class fashion companies.





The problem can be that nowadays, low cost fashion companies can possibly dominate the industry of today and in the future and the situation for competition in the fashion industry can amicably be on high demand on such products and services and that there is evidence of business risks as possible. The interest of the paper will be to determine how low cost fashion companies impact the competition within the fashion industry in the aspect of its market stance. There should be awareness and assessment on the presence of the two low cost fashion companies, Zara and Topshop will be considered as the focus for this study. Amicably, it is also imperative for this research to determine and evaluate such customer views with regards to the two low cost fashion companies (Zara and Topshop) and in thus, the study can involve such frequent shoppers of those companies and from such responses can possibly linked and indicate as to why these low cost companies do impact such competition within the fashion market industry.


Relevant Literature

A consumer preference for brands with a global image, even when quality and value are not objectively superior, has been proposed as a reason for companies to consider global brands (Cited from, Shocker et al., 1994; Taylor and Raymond, 2000). Therefore, Fashion Company needs to identify the response of consumers worldwide to its global advertising for such specific consumer segment. For instance, the fashion industry for women is particularly relevant in terms of examining the feasibility of cross-national segmentation. Research indicates that females tend to be more fashion conscious, be more knowledgeable about fashion brands (Cited from, Blyth, 2006), and read more fashion magazines than male consumers (Cited from, Chamblee et al., 1993; Putrevu, 2004). This implies that marketers need to pay special attention to women when expanding and advertising fashion brands to international markets. The fashion industry is characterized by a considerable amount of standardized advertising. In fact, global advertising in fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle helps create the image of a designer brand name for fashion goods, such as apparel, accessories, and perfume, and has been used by many leading firms (Cited from, Blyth, 2006). Increasingly, some fashion marketers have discovered that their advertising is directly linked to retail sales and strong retail performance (Cited from, Callan, 2006).


 Fashion lifestyle segmentation

In recent years, it has been suggested that we are seeing the emergence of a new group of consumers who have similar preferences and buy similar brands that are promoted globally as well as in local media. These new consumers have been referred to as "global consumers," who exhibit similarities to people in other nations in terms of lifestyle and consumption patterns (Cited from, Hassan et al., 2003). Although differences abound in music, values, and cultures, some have argued that commercial advertising on mass media (TV, magazine and internet) has contributed to a global consumer culture, particularly for global brands (Cited from, Arnold and Thompson, 2005). In various contexts, it is important to examine whether evidence really shows support for the notion of global consumer context. Thus, again, it is important to examine whether fashion segments cut across national boundaries. Lifestyle segmentation has received considerable attention in fashion products, such as clothing, accessories, and sportswear. Fashion lifestyle is defined as consumer attitudes, interests, and opinions related to the purchase of fashion products (Cited from, Gutman and Mills, 1982; Ko et al., 2006). In a study of the female apparel market in the USA, Shim and Bickle (Cited from, 1994) outlined three fashion lifestyle segments: symbolic/instrumental users, who are younger, innovative, fashion-conscious, and represent higher social class level; practical/conservative users, who are oriented more toward comfort and function than toward fashion or appearance and are not likely to enjoy shopping; and apathetic users, who tend to patronize discount stores. In another study from the USA, Kim and Lee (Cited from, 2000) identified six fashion lifestyles price-consciousness, fashion-consciousness, information seeking, self-confidence, attitude toward local stores, and time-consciousness and was related to different segments that sought benefits from catalog shopping. As Lee et al., (Cited from, 2004) divide TV home shoppers into four segments based on fashion lifestyle the aesthetic group, the economic fashion innovator group, the showy uncritical group, and the fashion-uninterested group and discuss their different responses to product advertising on TV home shopping. Finally, Ko and Mok (Cited from, 2001) found that fashion lifestyles have significant effects on advertising effectiveness in an Internet shopping context (Cited from, Ko and Park, 2002). The low cost companies can be guided by philosophy of producing fashionable cheaply made clothing, but adapts its clothing lines to each country and ensures that stores are permanently restocked. To strengthen brands that involve such mixture of fashion and cheapness, there can be collaboration among celebrities and famous designers available at low prices.




Thus, for instance, Hennes and Mauritz there can be the support of singers such as Kylie Minogue and Madonna and Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld have all worked with H&M and their collections have sold out in hours. Hennes and Mauritz reported then, such sales of €8.6 billion approximately $11.9 billion, putting it slightly ahead of its nearest rival in the clothing retail industry, Spanish group Zara, as the principle remains the same: fashion and quality at the best price. The emergence of international low-cost fashion chains such as Hennes and Mauritz is linked to shopping trends as the success of these brands is evidently down to their low prices, which is the main point. (Cited from, The Local, 2007 in Business Region Goteborg)  The people and the environment where people live in are affecting the changes in fashion. These changes are influenced by celebrity culture, demand for cheap, fast fashion and the ever-increasing demand to help save the planet. Fashion brands realize the needs and act upon it to keep people interested, and to keep people from buying their brand. However, the regular consumer doesn't know about seeding, so therefore she believes that the celebrity has bought into a brand they trust.





Information on Zara







Source of image:

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Zara is a successful fashion chain store for the Spanish group owned by Spanish tycoon Amancio Ortega as the group is headquartered in Spain, where the first Zara store opened in 1975. Today, Inditex is probably the world's fastest growing retailer with over 3,100 stores around the world in over 70 countries the Zara format taking around 1,000 of those stores. In March 2006, the group overtook Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz to become Europe's largest fashion retailer. For instance, it is claimed that Zara needs just two weeks [1] to develop a new product and get it to stores, compared with a nine-month industry average, and launches around 10,000 new designs each year. Zara has resisted the industry-wide trend towards transferring production to low-cost countries. Perhaps its most unusual strategy was its policy of zero advertising; the company preferred to invest percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead. Zara was described by Louis Vuitton as "possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world". Zara has also been described as "Spanish success story" as reported by CNN news. The clothing industry followed design and production processes that required long lead times, often up to six months, between the initial design of garment and its delivery to retailers. This model effectively limited manufacturers and distributors to just two or three collections per year. Predicting consumer tastes ahead of time presented inherent difficulties, and producers and distributors faced the constant risk of becoming saddled with unsold inventory. The company's instant fashion model, which completely rotated its retail stock every two weeks, also encouraged customers to return often to its stores, with delivery day becoming known as "Z-day" in some markets. The knowledge that clothing items would not be available for very long also encouraged shoppers to make their purchases more quickly. Moreover, such article written in the Businessworld magazine describes Zara's fashion strategy as follows: "Zara was fashion imitator. It focused its attention on understanding the fashion items that its customers wanted and then delivering them, rather than on promoting predicted season's trends via fashion shows and similar channels of influence, which the fashion industry traditionally used." (Cited from, Zara: Spanish Season, Businessworld) As the shortening the product life cycle means greater success in meeting consumer preferences. (Cited from, Zara's Secret for Fast Fashion, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge for Business Leaders) Thus, if design doesn't sell well within week, it is withdrawn from shops, further orders are cancelled and innovative design is pursued. No design stays on the shop floor for more than four weeks, which encourages Zara fans to make repeat visits. An average high-street store in Spain expects fans to visit three times per year. That goes up to 17 times for Zara (Cited from, Zara: Taking the Lead in Fast Fashion, 2006 in Business Week). 


Zara's success story

While retailers concentrate their money and efforts on building a brand image through advertising campaigns, their lack of control over sub-contractors has left many open to accusations of using sweatshop labor when unacceptable practices are uncovered at factories producing their merchandise. The company's success lies in it having total control of every part of the business. It designs, produces and distributes itself. By controlling the entire process from factory to shop floor, Zara can react quickly to changing fashion trends and customers' tastes, providing innovativeness that has taken Europe by storm. Shoppers addicted to the Zara brand know exactly when the deliveries will be arriving at their local shop and some even turn up before opening time on delivery days to be the first to pick up the latest lines. (Cited from, Zara, Spanish success story, CNN, 15 June 2001) The company's success is proof that it is still possible to build a massive brand by doing no more than meeting a market need.  It has achieved this without any advertising or promotion and without outsourcing its manufacturing to countries where labor is cheap.

Source: Europe Business (June 15, 2001)

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Information on Topshop  


"Topshop was established in 1964 within Sheffield department store called Peter Robinson, however, the same store allocated Topshop space in the basement of its Oxford Circus store in London. During the year 1974, Topshop was taken out of Peter Robinson and set up as standalone retailer. When Jane Shepherdson became Brand Director in 1999 her vision was to establish the brand as fashion authority. Since then, Topshop has gone onto become one of fashion's major success stories with over 309 fashion stores nationwide, including the world's largest fashion store at Oxford Circus, which attracts over 200,000 shoppers per week. Then, during September 2005 Topshop showed its in-house design collection Unique as part of the official London Fashion Week schedule and subsequently forged exclusive partnerships with international boutiques 'Opening Ceremony' in New York, 'Colette' in Paris and Tokyo's '10 Corso Como Comme des Garcons'. During summer 2006 'Barneys' in the US began retailing Topshop's best selling Baxter jean in its flagship stores. Plans to expand internationally are also underway with stores in Moscow and St. Petersburg due to open in 2008. Topshop has offered a number of celebrity and designer collections and after the recent success of the Kate Moss clothing range, Topshop has decided to introduce the range to the US market. Topshop has struck deal with U.S. department store to sell through its 19 stores.[4] Topshop is known for its unique and trendsetting styles, its clothing design is usually heavily influenced by the era the company formed in 1960's".

Source:  Topshop Website

From: <>



Research Questions


The research questions for the study provide a crucial factor in understanding the value of the study presented as a whole context and will guide the flow of research organization.


The core research question can be:


In what ways and how does such low-cost fashion companies impact in the competition within fashion market industry? (Implying to Zara and Topshop)


The sub research questions are as follows:

1.     What are some of the factors affecting he fashion industry market in relation to such impact of the low cost companies?

2.     What are the possible effects of such low cost company presence on such customer preferences when it comes to choosing fashion products?

3.     Does such impact have any relevance to fashion lifestyle segmentation? (Discuss the idea fashion lifestyle segmentation)

4.     Does competition in the fashion industry provides a healthy relationship among low cost companies as compared to first class companies? (Consider one first class company as an example)


Research Objectives


The main objective for this study is to be able to identify possible assumptions of the low cost fashion companies as there is impact on the competition within the fashion industry and to be able to provide a sound research equipped with appropriate primary and secondary data to incur a substantial case study application in comparing Zara and Topshop respectively. Thus, to be able to linked well with such research questions in lieu to such research evidences and findings backed up with appropriate supporting data and knowledge found in the literature study. Then, the need to identify the present state of competition within the fashion industry and lastly, in order for the research to execute as well as to perform valid and reliable research design and methodology as relevant as possible in achieving a sound realization of the study's objective.



Research Design and Methodology


For determining ample substance of such impact of low cost fashion companies, the research samples to undertake will be subject for survey questionnaire in support to case studies as presented for Zara and Topshop respectively. It can be divided into two groups of shoppers, 50 loyal shoppers of Zara and the other 50 shoppers of Topshop, the two groups of respondents are Hong Kong shoppers as the two stores have branches in Hong Kong. It is essential to focus on such sample population in order to control such feasibility problems that may come along in research. The age bracket of the shoppers can range be from 25-35 years old. Then, quantitative and qualitative data will be analyzed and that quantitative will be sourced to the primary data gathered and will be undergone into compilation, frequencies, percentages and determination of relationships. Qualitative data will come from the open type of questions in the questionnaire that will reflect the personal opinions of respondents not included in the selection, data will be significant when quantitative data is discovered to have deviations from such factors seen.  For the realization of the study in progress, one crucial methodology to be applied is through survey questionnaires that will be given to the shoppers coming from Zara and Topshop stores. The survey questionnaire can be in easy and simple form for the students to respond well and fairly. Thus, basic shopper information have to be included in the survey questionnaire such as the shoppers age, gender, occupation and income bracket (optional, only if the shoppers want to tell how much there income is). The questions can be divided into 3 subsets, 5 questions will be asking how they are influence by the services and products being offered by those low cost fashion stores and possibly ask them if they see and feel any sense of competition among other fashion stores and if there is, any specific indicators of it. The next 5 questions will be price ranges of such products probably, clothes on regular price, new arrival of items, and also those products on sale and or bargain and then ask the shoppers opinions if prices do matter to them as to why they shop at Zara or Topshop and not on those signature, first class fashion stores and possibly to give their ideas on prices when it comes to competition from within the fashion markets. The last 5 questions can be identifying of such Zara and Topshop effectiveness in such promotions they give to their shoppers and basically, ask the shoppers to give their satisfaction ratings of those fashion stores and to ask them to give general assumptions of Zara and Topshop and probably suggest areas for improvement that caters to the shoppers in majority. Thus, there can also be utilization of several case study examples supporting these low cost fashion companies for the underlying outcomes they contribute in fierce competition among fashion industries and its markets and these cases can be found from secondary sources of information as such supported by peer reviewed journals and or academic articles related to the conjectures of the fashion market today. The qualitative approach is to answer questions about the nature of phenomena with the purpose of describing and understanding them from Zara and Topshop shoppers' point of view. Thus, the case study design have the capability of uncovering causal paths and mechanisms and by precise detail there identifies several causal influences and interaction effects which might not be treated well in such statistics investigation as particularly helpful in generating useful concepts for better development of the fashion industry reflected in those low cost companies. (Cited from, Leedy, 1997; Yin, 1984) Thus, the case study approach will amicably involve the utilization of such methodological information integrating certain suitable ideas and concepts from such primary resources as handed well using first hand findings and research outcomes signifying research appropriateness through any case study material based on amiable research tools and techniques to be executed in research. (Cited from, Leedy, 1997; Yin, 1984)


The research methodology and design process would involve such primary as well as secondary sources for bringing about substantial studies that are literature based and theoretically inclined for which such research methods utilized may truly serve its first hand purpose for this study. The primary sources will have to represent original thinking as the core data for the research will have to be in case studies as well as survey questionnaires equipped with suitable statistical data and its measures as it can have direct observation to the research process as undergoing research should be handed in with empirical facets and crucial points gathered by the researcher. There should also be the integration of secondary data as findings and assumption studies made by several researchers can be good option that supports any valid information. The secondary data will then analyze and evaluate information as being found in the primary sources and creates information more accessible to the readers and the parties involved as these were supported by good books, peer reviewed journals as well as articles and other publication types. When moving the case method for instance, can have such shifts from one paradigm to another and in handling study discipline, such careful approach is amicably needed. The data to be gathered will be tallied by the researcher and will be encoded in the computer.  Hard copy will be printed to ensure that files are kept including the questionnaire responses of the sample.  Frequencies will be computed into percentages and will be presented through graphs, tables and textual arrangements. VR data will also undergo interpretation to determine student to VR relationships indicating the applicability of the research study.


The analysis of data can be through scaling interpretation for the survey questions that can be in support to any descriptive type of analysis basing from the responses of shoppers of both Zara and Topshop. The measurement for such analysis, must take such forms of non-comparative scales to be illustrated as qualitative approach can involve numeric value and on the other hand, be it in semantic way with complete scaling measurements as equipped to understand applications in such fashion essence. There will be utilization of interval scaling as the researcher can justify the use of the arithmetic mean as measure of average. Thus, Likert scales have been described in this chapter are among the most commonly used in marketing research. Whilst there are great many more forms which scales can take, if students are familiar with those described in this chapter they will be well equipped to deal with most types of survey problem. Furthermore, through such application of the Likert scale measurement, the degree of agreement as well as disagreement will be given desired numeric value wherein there can include such 2-5 interpretative points from strongly agree up to neutral scaling aspect down to strongly disagree as to be effective in calculation processes (Cited from, Underwood, 2004 p. 1 in Greymaterial, May 3, 2007). The data to be presented will have to be in tabulation and due analysis through the use of deviations in median and percentage standardization. Future studies that could be of use by the researchers can be seen in the matter of how effective this particular research study to the society that will be transpired that the study is of applied values and norms that could be the useful indication of the studies to be discussed and be able to assimilate in the future research studies that is more or less related to the presumed study.  The proposal then, may possibly explain relevance of research approach and its affectivity to the served purpose respectively.   


The resources deemed for the realization of the study can come from related books and certain publications mostly underlying to the support resource materials ideally as basis for the literature studies of the study. The knowledge and information to be integrated and evaluated for validity and reliability can be resources directed to EBSCO – the emerald insight journals and articles as well as from Blackwell Synergy if possible and thus, good sources of books that can be found from Amazon books online and Questia Library.

Access to study population

For such access to study population, there can be distribution of permission letters and that should be given to the supervisor heads of Zara and Topshop and ask their permission to use their stores as the venue for giving out of the survey questionnaires to their customers/shoppers who come in their stores and buy something on their products. Thus, informing Zara and Topshop that such suitable information about them will be use as information reference for whatever case data needed for the overall aspect of the research.

Sample Research Proposal on The Case of Saudi Arabia Airlines

The role of strategic marketing is one of better fundamental influence on how Saudi airlines are managed as of the present, the airline's strategy affects the way business is operated and the reorganization of airlines structure have allowed innovation to prosper and succeed in terms of customer relations. Thus, marketing strategy should relate to such customer expectations and their assessment of service quality within the situation deemed imperative for Saudi Arabia Airlines and thus, looking also to the impact of performance indicator found and reflected within Saudi Airlines market operations and strategies being applied as essential to the role of marketing in Saudi Airlines business industry.

II. Research Aims and Objectives

The objective of this research is to analyze the strategic marketing role relating to Saudi Arabia Airlines in finding out such gap between customer expectations and assessment of service quality along with such impact of performance as applied within the Airlines in support for theory. Thus, strategic role of marketing can be paramount in facilitation of good customer relations to provide ample marketing ways and direction in the process. As the research study will then focus and present detailed case study assumptions regarding Saudi Airlines. Thus, certain analysis of strategic marketing findings and valid sources of information will need to be construed to the marketing strategies of Saudi Arabia Airlines relevant to such customer expectations and the assessment of service quality offered by the Airlines. Ideally, there has been great efforts and aims to accomplishing innovative strategic goal which involves the achievement of the highest levels of excellence in providing their valued customers with the best service possible and gaining their approval and satisfaction. The mission statement of Saudi Arabia Airlines could not have been more appropriate at any other time than at the dawn of the new millennium: to remain world class airline with a distinctive Saudi character, that is customer driven and caring employer.


III. Research Questions


  1. What are possible themes and assumptions of strategic marketing in its crucial role to achieving desirable customer expectations?
  2. How can the assessment of service quality be effective for Saudi Arabia Airlines despite issues and challenges within the business?
  3. What are several market strategies adopted by the Airlines? Provide information sources.
  4. Does marketing strategies utilized by Saudi Airlines provide a sense of performance indicator in narrowing such gap among the customer expectations? How and Why?
  5. Why strategic marketing role do serve as utmost purpose of in terms of business marketing ways within Saudi Arabia Airlines? Explain briefly
  6. How can customer expectations be achieved positively? Does the Airlines marketing tactics enough in securing their customers of acceptable service quality and ensuring them ideal performance through customer service relations? 


IV. Overview of Saudi Arabia Airlines


Saudi Arabian Airlines is one of the Middle East's largest airlines with over fourteen million passengers carried each year and an international network linking over fifty cities on four continents. Saudi Arabian Airline has achieved a ninety percent on its market and on time operational performance, notwithstanding the large number of flights exceeding three hundred a day and has increased the number of all domestic and international flights to include over thirty thousand flights that carry over five million passengers.






A. Current market situation

The current market situation of the Saudi Arabia Airlines are evident as the Airlines has been launching its new customer service ports in partnership to IBM technology stance that recognizes software development as well as hosting of airline's customer patterns with the goal of providing integration with existing customer based systems and applications to meet and realize their marketing strategies and its changes in the system and approach in the business. There is boosting of the airlines customer relations due to effective management for desirable approach of the market and having good partnership capabilities upon leveraging Internet technologies to gain customer trust  as supported by IBM and Saudi Business Machines as successfully completed through ideal strategic domains.

B. Critical Analysis of Marketing Strategy

It is important that Saudi Arabian Airlines had to address issues of acquiring technologies components, knowledge as well as competencies transfer and most importantly the Airlines should be able to adopt proven process of its marketing value in lieu to its strategic plan of organization and useful methods for operation and meet customer behavior as satisfied passengers applied for stable scale of marketing valuation. It is visible that the joined partnership between Saudi Arabia Airlines and IBM secured better customer satisfaction while striking harder to gain trust into the market situation. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia Airlines have taken certain unique approach in the way that it has decided to move forwards with its marketing environment and that is the importance it has given to its marketing integration to be able to provide and develop more on quality service aspiring great satisfaction within the loyal customers.


VI. Overview of Literature Studies


Marketing is philosophy that leads to the process by which organizations, groups and individuals obtain what they need and want by identifying value, providing it, communicating it and delivering it to others. The core concepts of marketing are customers' needs, wants and values; products, exchange, communications and relationships. Marketing is strategically concerned with the direction and scope of activities performed by the organization to obtain competitive advantage. The organization applies its resources within changing environment to satisfy customer needs and expectations. Customer needs are first evaluated through market research; an integrated marketing effort is developed to satisfy customers so that the organization achieves its goals, especially those affecting shareholders. The specific contribution of marketing in the organization lies in the formulation of strategies to choose the right customer, build relationships of trust with them and create competitive advantage (Cited from, Doyle 2000, p. 235).





Marketing should distinguish between the individual customer's short-term needs and wants and the longer-term welfare of society. The two major assumptions behind marketing are that consumers know what they want and are informed and highly rational in satisfying their wants, and that customer sovereignty prevails (Dickinson et al. 1986, p. 9) as argue that if the organization were right in assuming that customers know what they want, then the key issue would be to create the product, create awareness of it and make it available at an acceptable price. Customer perceptions of service quality in most service organizations generally begin with company employees at the lowest levels of the service train, whether the employees have been inculcated into the organizational philosophy or not (Cited from, Allen and Meyer, 1990; Jones, 1986). Although service quality has been given a top priority by service-oriented corporations, ill-trained and often apathetic employees not completely convinced of the superiority of the service themselves are routinely placed in direct contact with customers resulting in increased customer complaints about the gap between expected service performance and what is actually delivered.


Furthermore, Zeithaml et al. (Cited from, 1990 p. 224) indicate that the service-performance gap between what is expected and what is often delivered may be narrowed through increased and better employee training as the employees should always be informed about what is expected of them by defining those expectations based on goals, objectives, strategies and philosophy. One method for assessing service quality based on importance/performance paradigm has been adapted in this study, because it is believed that individuals evaluating the quality of service are likely to place more emphasis and importance on some criteria than others. Aside, so far in service quality research, the focus has mainly been on the cognitive dimensions and on quality factors or attributes linked to service offerings in defining, conceptualizing and measuring service quality. Service experiences and customers' emotions during consumption have been very little researched. An important assumption is that service quality can be understood from both cognitive and an emotional perspective. An emotional response may start cognitive process and thinking may start emotional and affective responses. Thus, services are produced, delivered and consumed in which customers have role in terms of carrying out activities and deeds as well as being part of interactions which will influence or decide both process quality and outcome quality.


VII. Methodology

The main methodology to be adopted by this research is the application and utilization of case study analysis directed towards the role of strategic marketing within Saudi Arabia Airlines. The focus implies to the narrowing gap between customer expectations and their assessment of service quality and such impact of performance indicator respectively. Thus, the research process would involve such primary as well as secondary sources for bringing about a substantial studies that are literature based and theoretically inclined for which such research methods utilized may truly serve its first hand purpose for this study. The primary sources will have to represent strategic marketing thinking of its role as applied to Saudi Airlines denoting core data for the research will have to be in case studies as being equipped with suitable statistical data and its measures as it can have direct observation to the research process as undergoing research should be handed in with empirical facets and crucial points gathered by the researcher.


There should also be the integration of secondary data as findings and assumption studies made by several researchers that can be good option that support valid information as explored by the indication of customer expectations, assessment of service quality, impact of performance indicator to marketing role in its strategy formation in reflections to ample information explored from within the Saudi Arabia Airlines. The secondary resources will then analyze and evaluate information as being found in the primary sources and creates information more accessible to the readers and the parties involved as these were supported by good books, peer reviewed journals as well as articles and other publication types. The research paradigm for the research will be in practice of recognizing the application of various research methodologies and techniques as it should be grounded by means of comprehensive theories and such design needs to be integrated and interpreted in useful manner.





The integration of research methodology for the study within one paradigm can possibly be with certain sort of controversy. When moving the case method for instance, can have such shifts from one paradigm to another and in handling study discipline, such careful approach is amicably needed. Every type of empirical research has implicit, if not explicit, research design. In the most elementary sense, the design is logical sequence that connects empirical data to study's initial research questions and ultimately, to its conclusions. In essence the research design is blueprint of research, dealing with at least four problems: what questions to study, what data are relevant, what data to collect, and how to analyze the results (Cited from, Yin, 1994). It is much more than work plan because the main purpose is to help to avoid the situation in which the evidence does not address the initial research questions. The qualitative approach to research is typically used to answer questions about the nature of phenomena with the purpose of describing and understanding them from the participants' point of view. As Creswell (Cited from, Leedy, 1997 p. 104) have defined quantitative study as 'an inquiry into social or human problems, based on testing theory composed of variables, measured with numbers and analyzed with statistical procedures in order to determine whether the predictive generalizations of the theory hold true'.


A. The Case Study Design


The case study have the capability of uncovering causal paths and mechanisms and by precise detail there identifies several causal influences and interaction effects which might not be treated as operation variables in statistics investigation as particularly helpful in generating useful hypotheses and theories in developing inquiries regarding the role of market strategy and its presence in the Saudi Airlines business markets.  Thus, the case study approach will amicably involve the utilization of such methodological information integrating certain suitable ideas and concepts from such primary resources as handed well using first hand findings and research outcomes signifying the appropriateness of market strategy roles in lieu to customer expectations and service quality assessment, the case of Saudi Airlines through finding and realizing reliable case study material based on amiable research tools and techniques to be executed in the study. The cases will then reflect knowledge and information as seen directly through secondary resource assimilation. The case study can be in descriptive manner as it does intend to present factual data in a more organized structure as there adheres to Saudi Airlines in its situational status and the mode of case presentation to be validated by means of useful responses among case presentation. Quantitative and qualitative data will be analyzed, quantitative will be sourced to the primary data gathered and will be undergone into compilation, frequencies, percentages and determination of relationships. Qualitative data will come from the open-ended questions in the questionnaire that will reflect the personal opinions of respondents not included in the selection, data will be significant when quantitative data is discovered to have deviations from applicable variable points. 


In order to improve Saudi Airlines Customer Satisfaction, it is a must that the management provides relaxing and comfortable travel as for some, the only reason why people fly in business class is the leg room and fully reclining seats as comfort shouldn't be limited to achieve great satisfaction. Then, a genuine smile goes a long way, the airlines should hire capable and friendly people for customer service. There is a need to improve old method of baggage retrieval as the system do need updating such as backed up with technology software tools that IBM gives as partnership with Saudi Airlines.

Sample Research Proposal on Managing Image to Retain Loyal Customers

Research hypothesis

To make inferences about behavior patterns, attitudes and perceptions of the population as a whole, the researcher will  recourse to statistical analyses. Basing on the information to be provided by respondents, various hypotheses of image and customer retention among hoteliers have to be tested.

Ideally, building on notions explored during the secondary research, the researchers will aim to discover whether image of hoteliers will influence customer retention along with better decision process as such the notion that such first class hoteliers would drive more customers and that hypotheses denoted by H0 are as follows:

 H0. Business image has influence on retaining customers within the first class hoteliers rather than other hoteliers.

H1. Business image has varying influence on customer retention within hoteliers

H0. "Hoteliers will need to keep and manage strong image for retaining loyal customers as compared to keeping

H1. "Managing strong image" has varying persuasion on customer retention within hoteliers

Research questions

For the research, research questions serves a purpose in guiding how to do with the research and what information needs to be considered and focus relating to research studies in support to methods utilization and its anticipated outcomes.

1.     How can image management enhance loyalty among hotel customers? (Cite examples, such as case studies)

2.     Do hoteliers need to manage image to retain loyal customers? (Provide secondary support of information)

 3.     What are the ways to achieve customer retention within the effective assumption of business image in hotels? Discuss

4.     Aside, does technology utilization within hoteliers help in keeping their loyal customers? What image is emphasized in terms of communicating well to the customers? (Determine causal relationship between image and technology as imperative factors for retaining customers)


Overview of Research 

The focus of the research will have to be customer retention and image management within the hotel industry. Then, there is integration of research information and knowledge supporting such underlying concepts of how the research should be in essence with ample research applications through such empirical data gathering by means of utilizing research methods and describing detailed organization of how the research will be as a whole context as being backed up with comprehensive literature and its respected studies.


Amicably, retaining loyal customers for hoteliers is essential and a core factor in keeping the business industry in shape and competitive enough to level up the changing trends of globalization that has impacted such business and economic activities of the hotel markets. Thus, to be in control of business image and be able to manage it properly implies strong assumption that the hoteliers require and must keep a top propriety in order for them to retain loyal customers and possibly increase the size of the customers given the fact that, the hotel business must have to secure and update its business image to loyal customers and to the people who can be in a way become potential customers in the future.


Overview of Literature

In the past decades the hospitality industry has witnessed exponential growth, resulting in increased competition on such global scale. Thus, loyal customers critically assess the standards of service provided by competing hotel and confirmed that the customers' approval of firm's quality of service can outcome into better business image of the hotel industries thus, leading to growth in its sales and profits (Cited from, Zeithaml, 2000). Indeed, hospitality industry recognizes that superior quality of service is one of the crucial factors within its control that can add value to its image and amicably will lead into customer retention and loyalty then, good image as well as the quality of service have become the key to hotelier's ability to differentiate itself from its competitors and retain its loyal customers and gain their loyalty (Cited from, Kandampully and Suhartanto, 2003). Faced with intense competition in the marketplace, it cannot be assumed that there is an unlimited customer base prepared to maintain patronage. It is imperative for hotels to tailor hotel services to the changing needs and lifestyles of customers (Cited from, Min et al., 2002) with view to increasing customer loyalty and retention. On the other hand, research conducted by Reichheld and Sasser (Cited from, 1990) suggested that a 5 percent increase in customer loyalty could produce a profit increase of 25-80 per cent. Furthermore, they argued that the profitability derived from an individual customer grows during business relationship. They also found that up to 60 per cent of increased sales to new customers could be attributed to customer recommendations, form of customer loyalty. Thus, Reichheld (Cited from, 2001) argued that five percent increase in customer retention yields seventy five percent increase in net present value. Similarly, Grönroos (Cited from, 2000) indicated that, in most businesses, loyal customers are willing to pay premium price. It is therefore evident that the long-term benefits of loyal customer-supplier relationship can be significant to any hospitality firm, as the "return on relationship" reflects directly on the firm's long-term financial outcome (Cited from, Gummesson, 1999). In addition to hospitality organizations becoming more aware of the benefits of technological applications, customers have also become increasingly driven by technology, and are therefore demanding higher levels of services associated with technology. It is therefore imperative that hotels identify ways in which they can utilize new technologies to create services that contribute to increased value for their customers (Cited from, David et al., 1996).

Several authors have highlighted the implications of being "customer oriented" as the most important component image management (Cited from, Rich, 2000; Siegel, 1999). Supporting the idea is Gummesson (Cited from, 1996) as he claims that "customer focus" not only: "compels management to realize the firm's primary responsibility to serve the customer", but also "to recognize that customer knowledge is paramount to achieving market orientation". As Christopher et al. (Cited from, 1991) offer checklist of how companies can become customer centric:

-         Focus on customer retention

-         Offer superior products services benefits

-         Pursue long-term vision

-         Emphasize exemplary customer service

-         Engender customer commitment

-         Ensure that quality is the concern of all

Meanwhile, there directed emphasis away from transaction strategy towards that of attraction and retention, and as Kandampully and Duddy (Cited from, 1999) point out: "This shift in focus manifests acknowledgement of the lifetime value of customer, as opposed to the one time sale" In support of this paradigm shift, Zineldin (Cited from, 1999) further concedes: "Getting customers is important, but keeping and satisfying customers is more important". What is changing is the pace at which companies must improve their products/services if they hope to keep customers loyal. Reichheld and Schefter (Cited from, 2000) maintain: "Loyalty is not won with technology" and insist "It is won through the delivery of a consistently superior customer experience". Given the involvement of hotelier services in complex relationships with customers, this research will have to discuss empirical research that will be able to attempt in establishing the degree to which hotel groups are subject to image maintenance and update of services provided to the customers.


The purposes of this study is basically to investigate the extent to which business image management has influence customer retention of the services being provided by the hoteliers within the hotel industry and then, to acquire better understanding of the perceptions held by management regarding the impact of imaging through technology on its service and customer loyalty. In particular, the sample excludes small and medium-sized accommodation. Second, the study will focus on perceptions of sales and marketing managers, thereby excluding the perceptions held by customers. Moreover, in order to provide comprehensive understanding of the impact of image on customer loyalty, future studies could incorporate the perceptions of the parties to be involved. Although customer survey questionnaires continue to represent common tool in tracking customer information and customer satisfaction, the results could indicate that managing good image in hotels is essential. To manage hoteliers effectively within diverse operating networks, managers must ensure that the hotel's technology is compatible with other network system. In the past, the hospitality industry was primarily focused on selling accommodation, food and beverages. It has now evolved into truly global industry, not only because hospitality enterprises serve international markets but also because their products and service are complex, discontinuous and globally competitive. For many people, hospitality services have become an integral component of business and social life. Hotel managers must incorporate services that customers demand, and in many respects these are substantially different from those demanded in the past. Hotels today do not represent a mere home away from home. For many business customers, hotels are a traveling office, a meeting place for learning and the exchange of ideas, and a place to entertain, enjoy sporting activities, and so forth. Thus, the traditional core offerings of hotel represent only small component of the package of experience that customers seek. Hotel managers must realize that technology will not be the differentiator. Rather, creative and innovative use of technology that enhances the value of offered services will be the means by which hotels differentiate themselves from their competitors. Managers must adopt new technologies that assist hotel employees to serve customers better at the operational level.

 Research Design

For the design purposes, a questionnaire will be use and will comprise of 17 open-ended and closed-ended questions to be formulated. The questionnaire will cover customer retention information and business imaging process within the impact of such matter on customer loyalty respectively. A total of 70 questionnaires have to be randomly distributed to sales and marketing managers of independent and chain hotels in the city of New York to be the chosen ample because of such known success in hospitality and tourism industries in the US. Along with the four-page questionnaire will include covering letter and such stamped self-addressed return envelope.


Although purposive sample would usually be appropriate for qualitative research, the fact that the sample possibly be nested in context provides such extra advantage. Moreover, the various types of hotel groups can be well represented in the composition of the sample. Thus, it should be noted that hotel groups, would evolve once the fieldwork began, as this represented the full population of hotel groups in the US.




Sources of Data

Given that the primary research aimed to focus on managing image of hoteliers for customer retention, there has to be qualitative perspective deem the obvious choice to express the current reality in explanation and such objective was to offer grounding to secondary research and give the research in-depth information value and structure. In addition, sources of data can include primary and secondary sources that will involve first hand information of research outcomes and certain literature studies from reliable books, peer reviewed articles and journal from such academic resources such as from Blackwell, Ebsco as well as Questia library.

Form of Results

After assessing the pros and cons of the various tools appropriate for the quantitative research, survey questionnaire with regards to the customer retention will have to be in consideration within straightforward method of collecting substantial data as well as being most cost effective. On account of the widely acknowledged reluctance of hoteliers to openly discuss their business imaging and operations, detailed questionnaire, which could not be too probing will be devised. Although the questionnaire has to consists mostly of close-questions and "Likert scale" type of analyzing data (Cited from, Malhotra and Birks, 1999) some open-ended questions, more typical of qualitative research, have to be introduced to provide greater depth of data regarding retaining of loyal customers of hoteliers in order to better understand the complex behaviour of the hotel industry that is without imposing too much links that could limit the field of research.


In order to specify details of such analysis that can be good basis for assessing the research study as such attempt to further explore the research will be important in creating methods and process of research which will determine how far the particular choice of methodology in the form of questionnaire application could continuously lead to the same research measurement and such detailed results supporting aspects of the study. Additionally, when assessing the research against the backdrop of notions under study in the literature review, the researchers could not guarantee consistency of results if another investigation of the topic was to be carried out at the same time using different research instruments. However, to counteract the unconscious deformation of information gathered and to strengthen the reliability of the primary research, case study presentation will have to be utilized. Despite the fact that limitations of the questionnaire in terms of depth and relevancy of information gathered could not be completely eradicated, the data to be apprehended and requested can be deem appropriate for such type of research analysis.

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