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Classification and retail positioning into strategic groups: The case of DIY retailers and builders' merchants in Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Marketing and Logistics)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Marketing and Logistics)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, ISSN 0959-0552, E-ISSN 1758-6690, Vol. 40, no 8, 570-591 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – To understand the potential for various types of retailers, it is essential to appreciate retailer' positioning in the marketplace. Positioning has a critical effect on retailers' competitiveness and performance. Despite the significance and popularity of retail positioning, a few gaps remain that prompt the need for this research. First, little has been written about positioning in the building materials distribution industry, as compared with other retail sectors. Second, the retail classification literature has rarely included positioning as a dimension of retailer characteristics, although, in essence, they are both ways to understand retailer strategy and behaviour. To fill these research gaps, the objective of this research is to contribute to retail positioning research, using the Swedish building material distribution industry as a study setting. Specifically, it has two key goals: to develop a classification framework focusing on the Swedish building material distribution market; and to analyse those distributors by strategic groups and identify their common business priorities.

Design/methodology/approach – This research looked at a majority of building material distributors in the Swedish market. A total of 23 interviews were conducted with managing directors or similar from case companies. Interviews ranged from 40 to 90 minutes in duration. This research adapted materials developed for other purposes in order to enhance and strengthen primary data.

Findings – This study develops a classification framework of building material distributors and provides an overview of distributors operating in the Swedish markets. Drawing on theory from retail positioning and classification, the research result suggests that the studied distributors can be classified into three strategic groups: DIY-service focused; DIY-cost focused; and builders' merchant (BM)-service focused. Research also showed that distinguishing building material distributor by customer type is not as effective as it once was; there is a trend of internationalisation in the Swedish building material distribution industry; and distributors exert growing central control over certain areas, such as purchasing and marketing.

Originality/value – The building material distribution industry attracts little research attention when compared to other sectors, for instance food and grocery retailing. Given this, the value of this article lies in identifying the leading companies in Sweden and offering strategic analysis of their business developments and focus. Insights into building material distributors' supply requirements are provided.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. Vol. 40, no 8, 570-591 p.
Keyword [en]
Builders' merchants, Building material, Buildings, Classification, DIY retailers, Materials, Retail positioning, Strategic groups, Sweden
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81410DOI: 10.1108/09590551211245399OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-81410DiVA: diva2:552295
Available from: 2012-09-13 Created: 2012-09-13 Last updated: 2017-12-07
In thesis
1. The Role of Suppliers and Resellers: Cases of Timber Product Distribution Channels
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Role of Suppliers and Resellers: Cases of Timber Product Distribution Channels
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation aims to explain the impacts of distribution channel developments on the roles of timber product distribution channel actors. The role of channel actors in this dissertation is defined as the structured behaviour pattern that combines activities and resources in distribution channels. Three phenomena and their impacts on channel actors’ roles are addressed: (1) shifts in manufacturers’ supply chain position, (2) the changing nature of manufacturing companies’ offerings, and (3) concentrated markets with enhanced resellers. The research builds on case studies focusing on timber product distribution channels. The dissertation consists of an extended summary, six papers, and a grand case description.

This dissertation has produced several findings. First, reseller developments have driven changes in the retailer supply chain structure and have placed pressure on manufacturers. Manufacturers’ downstream vertical integration and their move to a total offering approach can be seen as countervailing effects on reseller developments. These effects have result in a new type of role: the integration role, while the significance of the service role has increased. Second, resellers have gained a central position in distribution channels, not only because they are in good position to exploit the clones to customers, but also because their business has extended from being suppliers’ distribution partners to customers’ supply hub.

Theoretically, this research contributes to the field of distribution channels by proposing definitions of roles and the roles of channel actors that allows for a better understanding of the dynamics of distribution channels. This research also proposes a distributionsupply view of vertical systems that highlights the roles played by resellers in defining offerings to customers, shaping supply chain structures, and developing and launching new products.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 275 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1502
Keyword
Distribution channels, roles, role changes, downstream vertical integration, offerings, timber products
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88483 (URN)978-91-7519-687-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-01, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-02-08 Created: 2013-02-08 Last updated: 2013-02-08Bibliographically approved

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Guan, WeiRehme, JakobNord, Tomas

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