Article citation: Srivastava, V., Rangarajan, D., & Badrinarayanan, V. (2023). Customer equity drivers and repurchase intent among B2B customers: the moderating role of perceived switching cost. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing.
This study aims to investigate the role of three customer equity drivers on customer repurchase intent in business-to-business (B2B) markets. It also explores the interconnected nature of equity drivers, specifically, the effects of brand equity and value equity on relationship equity. Further, it investigates how perceived switching costs moderates the interrelationships between customer equity drivers. The authors explore the interrelationships between the customer equity drivers in a B2B context involving commodity products in a developing market.
Data collection was done from a pool of 184 institutional customers of a lubricant brand in a developing market. The sample had representations of buyer organizations across sectors, namely, automobile, cement, metal, fertilizer, railway, defence and mining, etc. The final data were subjected to partial least squares-based structural equation modeling to test the hypothesized model.
The study found a direct effect of brand equity, and value equity on relationship equity and an indirect effect on repurchase intent, namely, relationship equity. Perceived switching cost was found to moderate the interaction between brand equity and relationship equity as well as between value equity and relationship equity. The direct effect of relationship equity on repurchase intent was also significant.
The study implies that B2B firms should ground their marketing program on these customer equity drivers, especially when dealing with commodity products. The absence of any of these drivers would be detrimental in customer retention. The study also establishes the relevance of switching cost(s) and its impact on the underlying dynamics between the different equity drivers in the context of commodity products. The customer equity drivers along with switching costs, if managed well, may become switching barriers for customers and eventually would ensure recurring revenue through repeat purchases.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first studies that focuses on the disaggregated effect of customer equity on customer outcomes in the B2B context. Furthermore, this study investigates how perceived switching costs moderates the interrelationships between customer equity drivers in the industrial sales context in an emerging market.