Interpersonal Relationship Marketing: Reciprocity in Buyer-Seller Dyad with Customer Gratitude as Mediator
This research examines relationships among customer focal antecedents, seller focal antecedents, customers feeling of gratitude, and norms of reciprocity. The two-fold objectives of this research are; 1. To investigate the role of customer focal and seller focal antecedents in the development of reciprocity; 2.To analyze the mediating role of customers feelings of gratitude in the development of norms of reciprocity. The proposed hypotheses are tested with dyadic data set. The data is collected from both parties (buyer and seller) in the relationship from multiple sectors e.g., Food, Apparel, Financial, Medical, and Travel agents. The dyadic data is analyzed with Partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) because the nature of the data supports this analysis technique. The results highlight that both customer focal and seller focal antecedents have a positive impact on customers' feelings of gratitude; additionally, customer focal antecedents directly lead to norms of reciprocity whereas seller focal antecedents lead to norms of reciprocity via feelings of gratitude as mediator. The research results provide fundamental support to the interpersonal relationship marketing model. Theoretically, this research validates and extends the interpersonal relationship marketing model by incorporating reinforcement theories of interpersonal attraction, and both buyer and seller perspective with dyadic data set; moreover, this research validates the thought that seller focal antecedents in relationship stimulate the customers' emotions which are paid in form of reciprocal behavior and long-term relationship chain starts. From a managerial perspective, this research helps managers to understand the importance of seller customer focal and seller focal antecedents in relationships for reciprocal customers' behavior.