Retail Research

Customer Engagement (Retail and Services) Research Group

  • Unit(s) of assessment: Business and Management Studies
  • School: Nottingham Business School


The group is located within the Division of Marketing and its vision is:

  • to be recognised internally and externally as a centre of excellence for generating and disseminating knowledge on the most effective ways to engage with retailers and consumers.
  • to publish at the highest level in relevant academic journals and trade outlets thus enhancing the reputation of Nottingham Business School as a centre of excellence in applied research.
  • to generate income from research councils and industry bodies to support the continuous development of research activity in this field.
  • to develop and nurture the research interests of all participants (including PhD and DBA students) through collegial discussion and debate and to encourage the highest level of contribution.

The work of the group focuses on five areas of engagement:

  • Technology Enabled
  • Emotional / creative
  • Efficient and effective
  • Leadership
  • Responsible and Sustainable.

The Retail and Service sectors provide the context for the output, and social and economic impact is enhanced by Professor Kim Cassidy's role as Co-ordinator for the ESRC Retail Sector Initiative. Customer engagement is a topic which represents a fundamental component of any effective business and / or marketing strategy and impacts both private and public sector organisations.

The group has a strong interdisciplinary focus working with colleagues in Psychology, HRM, the Performing Arts and Design.

Members also connect with a network of international collaborators, including colleagues from the USA (Texas State US, Clemson) and China.

In 2012, the group hosted the 20th International Colloquium in Relationship Marketing. Presenters included Professor Venkat Ramaswamy (Michigan), Professor Christian Gronroos (Hanken), Professor Ray Fisk (Texas) and Professor Charles Martin (Wichita); as well as senior retail practitioners Alex Gorlay (CEO, Health and Beauty Division, Alliance Boots), Sophie Patrikios, (Senior Director, Consumer Services, LEGO Group) and Andy Lyon (Retail Partner, PwC).

The colloquium confirmed the reputation of the School for business engagement with a keynote presentation from Dr. Richard Straub, Head of the Drucker Society (Europe).


The group has strong links with industry and a regular programme of guest speakers for both students and the business community. Recent talks include senior managers from Vision Express, Boots Alliance and Fat Face.

Nottingham Business School will soon welcome Bill Grimsey, to give a Business Leaders' presentation on the Future of the UK High Street.

Working with us

Members of the group have research and consultancy expertise and interest in the following areas:

  • multi-channel retailing: design and execution of multi-channel retailing business models, including where new channels, such as the Internet, mobile phones and iPads are added to complement existing channels
  • branding and internet marketing communications including social media
  • marketing strategy
  • ethical / sustainable consumption in fashion retailing
  • CSR and socially responsible consumption. Smart meters / energy efficiency fuel poverty: impact on loyalty and long term relationships
  • value co-creation: value in customer relationships
  • design / emergence of business markets: design of technology science market; contracts; value networks; sustainable business models / modelling
  • theory of marketing contracts: service contracts; non ownership concepts of services; service and economic development
  • B2B relationship marketing: key account management
  • customer perception (emotions) in services and link to trust loyalty and behavioural intention
  • organisation's management of the customer experience (including call centres)
  • customer experience strategy: managing and improving experience (including the student experience)
  • behaviours of Marketers (role / attitudes / influences)
  • history of retailing
  • pawn broking
  • emotional engagement
  • customer to customer interactions: on and off site
  • self-service technologies and customer learning styles
  • retail marketing in SMEs
  • dynamics of retail location: regulation
  • actor network theory in the context of consumer engagement
  • retail internationalisation (particularly retailing in China)

Related staff

Core staff members

PhD students with interests in relevant areas

  • Susanne Clayton: Consumer experience of UK Higher Education
  • Susan Diston: Consumer emotions in service delivery
  • Susan Hill: Consumer Choice and Climate Change
  • Karl Knox: An Investigation into the Information Strategy Formulation Process within a Higher Education Institution
  • Tengfei Ma: Evaluating the potential for service experience co-creation
  • Maghamis Faisal: The Impact of Organisational Culture on Sales, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention
  • Daniel McDonald-Junor: Business Support in Biotech Incubators
  • Francesca Morosi: A Phenomenological Exploration of Young Girls' Advertising Experiences
  • Alex Hiller: An examination of ethics as a dimension of customer value in clothing purchase
  • Judith H.J.C.M Van Roy: Strategising the employer brand
  • Kai Zhu A: Survival Analysis of Customers' Adoption Drivers and Adoption Timing of Mobile Channel Service


Michael Ehret

(2013) Business models: Impact on business markets and opportunities for marketing research, Industrial Marketing Management, 42:5, 649. DOI: 10.1016/j.indmaman.2013.06.003. ISSN 0019-8501

(2013) Emergence of business markets – A critical realist foundation, Industrial Marketing Management, 42:3, 316. DOI: 10.1016/j.indmaman.2013.02.014. ISSN 0019-8501

(2013) Financial socialism: The role of financial economics in economic disorganization, Journal of Business Research, 67, 2686. DOI: 10.1016/j.busres.2013.03.017. ISSN 0148-2963

(2010) Ehret, Michael / Wirtz, Jochen : Division of Labor between Firms: Business Services, Non-Ownership-Value and the Rise of the Service Economy. Service Science 2(3), pp. 136-145.

Lisa Siebers

(2013) SIEBERS, L.Q., ZHANG, T. and LI, F., Retail positioning through customer satisfaction: an alternative explanation to the resource-based view. Journal of Strategic Marketing. Published, online first, 28th Aug. 2013.

Sheilagh Resnick

(2012) Making sense of higher education: Students as consumers and the value of the university experience (with T Woodall, A Hiller), Studies in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2011.648373. ISSN 1470-1744

(2011) Service quality in alcohol treatment: A research note (with M Griffiths), International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 24:2, 149-163. DOI: 10.1108/09526861111105103. ISSN 0952-6862

(2011) Aligning teaching and practice: A study of SME marketing (with R Cheng, C Brindley, C Foster), Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 13:1, 37-46. DOI: 10.1108/14715201111147932. ISSN 1471-5201

Carley Foster

(2013) Foster, C. and Resnick, S. 'Service worker appearance and the retail service encounter: the influence of gender and age', The Service Industries Journal, Vol.33, No.1-2, p236-247. 10.1080/02642069.2011.614341. ISSN 1743-9507

(2011) Foster, C. 'Using scenarios to explore employee attitudes in retailing’, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 39(3), p218-228.

(2009) Whysall, P., Foster, C. and Harris, L. (2009) 'Job dissatisfaction amongst retail employees: a study of three leading UK retailers', The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, Vol.19 No.2, p.179-198

Paul Whysall

(2013) 'Retail planning and retail change in central Nottingham since the 1970s', Town Planning Review, 84(6), 769-794, 2013.

(2013) 'Viewing the Strategy-Performance Relationship Through a Reputational Lens: A Longitudinal Study of Leading Retailers', Strategic Change. 22(3/4), 129-144, (with D.M. Brown).

Chris Pich

(2014) Pich, C. Dean, D. and P, Punjaisri. 'Political Brand Identity. An examination of the complexities of Conservative brand and internal market engagement during the 2010 UK General Election campaign', Journal of Marketing Communications - this will be published in November 2014.

(2014) Dean, D. M. Croft, R. and Pich, C. (2014), Towards a Conceptual Framework of emotional relationship marketing: An examination of two UK political parties, Journal of Political Marketing, special edition Political branding.

Julie Lewis

(2012) Lewis, J., Whysall, P., Foster, C. 'Understanding the key drivers of, and technology related issues associated with, going multi-channel: Preliminary findings from an exploratory study in the UK retail sector'. Oxford Retail Futures Conference, Oxford University.

(2012) Lewis, J. 'Implementing a multi-channel retail strategy and the role of internal marketing'. 19th EIRASS Retailing and Services Conference

Tony Woodall

(2012) Woodall, T. Driven to excess? Linking calling, character and the misbehaviour of marketers. Marketing Theory, 12(2), pp. 173-191

(2012) Woodall, T., Hiller, A. and Resnick, S. Making sense of higher education: students as consumers and the value of the university experience. Studies in Higher Education, iFirst Article, available online at:

(2009) Woodall, T. and Swailes, S. Conceptualising and measuring Defensive Marketing Orientation (DMO): some inaugural thoughts on assessing marketing's place in 'society's doghouse'. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 17(5), pp. 345-364

Helen Goworek

(2014) GOWOREK, H., An investigation into the retail buying role for own-label clothing: a multiple case-study. Journal of the Textile Institute. Forthcoming.

(2013) GOWOREK, H., FISHER, T., COOPER, T., WOODWARD, S. and HILLER, A., Consumers' attitudes towards sustainable fashion, clothing usage and disposal. In: M.A. GARDETTI and A.L. TORRES, eds., Sustainability in fashion and textiles: values, design, production and consumption. Sheffield: Greenleaf, 2013, ch. 23, pp. 376-392.


ESRC Retail Navigator Final Report February 2013

Related projects

ESRC Retail Navigator

This one year project, completed in February 2013 and funded by the ESRC, comprised of a team of three researchers from the Customer Engagement research group who acted as knowledge brokers promoting knowledge exchange and collaboration between businesses in the retail sector and academia. The team identified a number of key retail agendas, which were used as the basis to launch a £4.5m research call in 2012, the Retail Sector Initiative.

ESRC Retail Co-ordinator

As a follow on from the ESRC Navigator project, in 2013 Professor Cassidy was appointed as Coordinator for the Retail Initiative with the specific remit of helping all the successful grant holders to enhance the collective economic and social impact of their work. This is a two year project.

Other activities

Researchers have also received funding from the HEA and VITAE to improve the ability of students from different cultural backgrounds to engage more effectively with Business Managers.

In 2012, Julie Rosborough and Julie Lewis were awarded a Chesshire Lehmann Research Grant Award to explore the role of marketing as a tool to improve smart meter adoption amongst different fuel poverty groups.

Members of the research group have close ties with the Academy of Marketing. Professor Cassidy has led the Services Marketing SIG group from 2008-2010 and Carley Foster has recently taken on a similar role for the BAM Retail SIG from 2013.

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