Winning Small Retailers’ Trust: A Suppliers’ Perspective

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Cross-Cultural Marketing and Entrepreneurship/ Small Business Marketing

Publication Date



Trust is one of the key elements in long-term relationship retention (Morgan & Hunt, 1994; Barnes, 1997; Gwinner, Dwayne & Bitner, 1998; Reynolds & Arnold, 2000), which has been paid much attention to by both academics and practitioners. Trust is not only important for businesses to retain their customers; it is also crucial for suppliers to maintain good relationship with their retailers (Ganesan, 1994). Hence, how to create retailers’ trust has been studied excessively in business to business (B to B) context. Many studies focus on suppliers’ performance because retailers’ trust is rooted in suppliers’ high level of performance. Since businesses are commercial entities who hunt for economic outcomes and high level of performance is a sign of competence (Kim et al., 2004). However, performance is the ultimate goal of businesses, which would be influenced a lot by environmental factors of the market; how retailers decide whether to trust their suppliers should be more complicated, rather than consider the performance solely. Till now, the question that how retailers, especially those small retailers, judge from their suppliers’ performance, as well as other relevant factors to decide the overall trust over their suppliers has been insufficiently studied (Corsten & Kumar, 2005). Based on a review of the literature, our study proposes that small retailers would have a whole process of reasoning in deciding whether to trust their suppliers. Besides suppliers’ performance, they would take environmental factors, as well as some other factors, such as suppliers’ opportunism and market intelligence, into consideration to make an overall judgment. This study will contribute to understand the reasons that can generate small retailers’ trust; it will provide great implications for suppliers’ relationship marketing in practice.

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Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License

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