Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 109 ( 2014 ) 763 – 767
1877-0428 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and peer review under responsibility of Organizing Committee of BEM 2013.
2nd World Conference On Business, Economics And Management -WCBEM 2013
A Comparative Study on Service
Quality in the Grocery Retailing: Evidence from Malaysia and
Fauziah Sh. Ahmada, Ali Ihtiyar b,* and Rosmini Omar c
abcUniversity Teknologi Malaysia, International Business School, Malaysia
Comparing service quality in different countries and cultures has been a recent point of interest among researchers to enhance understanding on
how customers of different environments react to elements of service quality. Earlier studies were focusing on comparison among western
countries or between advance western and Asian regions. This study intends to compare customers’ perceptions on service quality between
Malaysia and Turkey, as both are emerging economies with strong growth in grocery retail industry. Therefore, the differences of Malaysian and
Turkeys’ priorities of service quality items will be explored, compared and analyzed for researchers. The study is participated by 357 customer
surveys from Turkey and 249 from Malaysia on an approved Scale and scores were analyzed by the principal component factor analysis. The
comparison will enhance the understanding on customers’ priority in Malaysia and Turkey. This is the first comparison on service quality
between emerging markets of Turkey and Malaysia on how customers react in South East region and Asia-Europe cross borders area principally
to enrich the bilateral trading efforts and marketing understanding between the two nations.
Keywords: Service Quality, Malaysia, Turkey, Retailing, Customer satisfaction;
Despite the traditional competitive strategies in the grocery retailing, which include product conception, pricing,
placement and promotion, marketers still rely on the integration of service quality (SQ) as a main differentiation
agenda to win competition (Cameran, Moizer & Pettinicchio, 2010). The earlier studies on the SQ cover its
interrelationship with customer satisfaction (CS) (Cameran, Moizer & Pettinicchio, 2010), customer loyalty (Omar
& Musa, 2011), buying behaviour (Perez, Abad, Carrillo & Fernandez, 2007), repurchase intention (Olaru, Purchase
& Peterson, 2008), marketing segmentation (Okumus & Yasin, 2007), and implication strategies for various
industries. One of the challenges faced by international retailers is a growing competition as well as increasing
customer expectations (Zehir, Muceldili & Zehir, 2012; Cameran, Moizer & Pettinicchio, 2010) and the
proliferation of demands in cross-cultural markets (Ihtiyar and Ahmad, 2012b; Hui, Chern & Othman, 2011). These
changes in market force retailers to really understand and establish competitive strategies for long-term business
success and CS. In this respect, measurement of SQ has played a crucial role for enhancing and improving CS in
retail industry. How would SQ scores be different amongst emerging economies are yet to be explored and it would
be interesting to make this comparison considering the enormous growth potential of nascent markets for retailers.
* Corresponding Author: Ali Ihtiyar.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and peer review under responsibility of Organizing Committee of BEM 2013.
764 Fauziah Sh. Ahmad et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 109 ( 2014 ) 763 – 767
This study intends to compare customers’ perceptions on SQ between the fast developing Malaysia and Turkey, as
both are emerging economies with sturdy growth in grocery retailing.
The aim of the study is to compare the factor loading scores of SQ for prioritization in the grocery retail industry
of Malaysia and Turkey. Following this introduction, the paper indicates a literature review SQ and short brief about
grocery retailing in Malaysia and Turkey. Methodology of the study is then represented. This is followed by a
presentation of the research findings as well as their implications.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Measuring Service Quality in Grocery Retail Industry
The most referred and validated scale of SQ is SERVQUAL and it is developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml &
Berry (1985). SERVQUAL scale included 22 items that is categorised in five dimensions as tangibles, reliability,
responsiveness, assurance and empathy. The scale is based on the estimated disconfirmation approach whereby the
differences (or gap) between a customer’s expectation and the recent performance are examined. SERVQUAL scale
has been widely utilized and referred in various service settings in the marketing literature, from professional
services (Cameran, Moizer & Pettinicchio, 2010; Bouman & Van Der, 1992) to retail stores (Mehta, Lalwani &
Han, 2000; Dabholkar, Dayle & Joseph, 1996). Nevertheless, SERVQUAL scale has been criticised by Caro &
Garcia, (2007); Mehta, Lalwani & Han (2000); Babakus & Boller, (1992) due to the confusion and realization of
customers expectations and perceptions in the model (Bouman & Van Der, 1992; Wall & Payne, 1973).
The nature of retail industry is not familiar as other services. Therefore, measuring SQ in the industry requires
sector modified scale Dabholkar, Dayle & Joseph. (1996). Although there are many studies with SERVQUAL in
various retail settings, however, the model does not harmonized without any industrial adaptation (Caro and Garcia,
2007; Dabholkar, Dayle & Joseph, 1996; Babakus and Boller, 1992). Hence, industry-adapted scale is more useful
than a single generic scale due to the characteristic of services in retail environment. (Dabholkar, Dayle & Joseph,
1996). From this former point, Dabholkar, Dayle & Joseph (1996) developed and empirically validated the Retail
Service Quality Scale (RSQS). The scale dimensions are namely: “physical aspects”, “reliability”, “personal
interaction”, “problem solving”, and “policy”. RSQS’s consists of 28-item, 17 of them have been adapted from
SERVQUAL, and rests of them have been developed by their literature review and qualitative research.
2.2. Grocery Retail Industry of Malaysia and Turkey
Relating and comparing countries performances in SQ have been a recent point of interest among researchers
(Hui, Chern & Othman, 2011; Matilla, 1999) to enhance understanding on how customers of various countries react
to elements of the scales. Hui, Chern & Othman (2011) further explored SERVQUAL in Malaysia’s cultural context
and convinced that cultural orientations influence perceptions on SERVQUAL. The findings of Ihtiyar & Ahmad
(2012a) focused on RSQS in Turkey, which shows that “giving immediately service by employee”, “safety
transaction” and “store layout makes it easy for customer to move around” dimensions are more critical in among
Turkish customers. It is interesting to note that the study by Matilla (1999) is comparing the application of
SERVQUAL between western countries and Asian countries while the later work by Hui, Chern & Othman (2011)
is focusing on Malaysia and Ihtiyar & Ahmad, (2012a) is focusing on Turkey. How would RSQS be different in two
Asian countries have not been explored, and it would be interesting to make this comparison between Malaysia and
Turkey as both are emerging economies with enormous growth potential in retail Industry.
According to the last census in 2010, population of Turkey is 73.7 million (Turkish Statistics Institute, 2010),
and Malaysian population is 28.3 million (Statistics Department of Malaysia, 2010). Turkey was the 17th crowded
country throughout the world and the second most crowded country in the Europe and Malaysia was the 17th
crowded country throughout the Asia and the 42th most crowded country in the World. In addition, 76.26 per cent of
Turkey population lives in cities (Durdyev, Ismail & Abu Bakar, 2012) and over 60% of the population of Malaysia
is regarded as middle-income customers, and poverty has virtually been eliminated. Furthermore, over 70% of
Malaysians now live in the urban areas (Cottrell, 2010).
As in the world, the growth rate of the industry in Turkey has been represented a significant increase in the past
decade. According to AMPD (2010), the turnover of the sector was $150 billion dollars at 2007 and $187 billion
Fauziah Sh. Ahmad et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 109 ( 2014 ) 763 – 767
dollars at 2010. From 2007 to 2010, the rate was accrued approximately 19%. Furthermore, the expected growth
between 2010 and 2014 is 25%, and the volume of retail industry will reach $ 250 billion dollars at 2014. In other
word, retail industry will be listed as the third biggest sector in the general industry list of Turkey at 2014. At the
same report, AMPD (2010), Turkey’s retail market was the seventh biggest market in the Europe and tenth in the
As highlighted in the report of PWC (2011) for Malaysian retail industry, the turnover of the sector increased to
$54 billion dollars at the period of 2010 from $48 billion at 2009. Additionally, the expected growth rate between
2010 and 2012 is between 5% and 6%. The industrial growth rate in Malaysia will be represented a increase in the
next years and annual the rate of the industry is 3.7% and 3.8% per annum in 2013-2014 (PWC, 2011).
3. Research Methodology
The Retail Service Quality Scale (RSQS) used for measuring the SQ in the retail industry of Malaysia and
Turkey. The respondents were current customers of the grocery retailers in the Turkey and Malaysia. A total of 357
for Turkey and 249 questionnaires for Malaysia were collected by online questionnaire method, however 342 of
these were appropriated and 48 discarded due to incomplete responses for Turkey and 31 for Malaysia, thus leading
to a response rate of 95.79 % for Turkey and 87.55 % for Malaysia, respectively.
All the expressions conducted on seven-point Likert scale. The demographic indicators in the questionnaire are
represented at table 1. The factor scores are analysed by the principal component factor analysis with varimax
rotation for data reduction (Atan, Bas & Tolon, 2006).
4.1. Loading Scores
The result of factor analysis, reliability scores and related statistics were represented for both studies and results
at Table 1.Thus, the 23 items were reduced to five main factors with eigenvalues higher than 1.0 for Turkey and
Malaysia. The indicated factors of variance explained approximately 71 %for Turkey and 66 % for Malaysia.
Table 1. Factor Analysis Results
Values Turkey Malaysia
KMO 0.891 0.913
Bartlett’s Test of S
Significance 0.000 0.000
Cronbach’s coefficient al
ha 0.789 0.899
Table 2. Factor Loading Scores for Turkey and Malaysia
The Factor Loadin
Scores for Turke
sia for Turke
Q1 Behaviour of store em
ee in stills confidence in customer. 0,674 0,707
Q2 The em
ee has sufficient knowled
e to attend to customer. 0,517** 0,791*
Q3 The store employee consistently courteous with customer. 0,813 0,780
Q4 The store em
t service to customers. 0,924* 0,758
Q5 The store em
ee never too bus
ond to customer’s re
uest. 0,78 0,573**
Q6 Most of ma
or credit cards are acce
ted. 0,803* 0,719*
Q7 The merchandise sold is high in quality. 0,794 0,643
Q8 There are
or customer. 0,674 0,545**
hours are convenient. 0,652** 0,607
service material. 0,778 0,885*
Q11 Visually appealing physical facilities. 0,718 0,817
Q12 Modern lookin
ment and fixtures. 0,598** 0,705
Q13 Store la
out is convenient for customer. 0,811* 0,699
766 Fauziah Sh. Ahmad et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 109 ( 2014 ) 763 – 767
The most important items (over the 0.80) of RSQS for Turkey are “The store employee gives prompt service to
customers” (0,924), “Error-free sales transaction and record” (0,846), “Store layout is convenient for customer”
(0,811) and “Most of major credit cards are accepted” (0,803), however, the scores of Malaysia is indicating
differences than Turkey scores for significant and insignificant items, “Visually appealing service material” (0,885)
and “Visually appealing physical facilities” (0,817). In contrast of this, the less significant items for Turkey are “The
employee has sufficient knowledge to attend to customer” (0,517), “Modern looking equipment and fixtures”
(0,598) and for Malaysia are “There are plenty of convenient parking or customer” (0,545), “The store employee
never too busy to respond to customer’s request” (0,573).
Table 3. Factor Loading Scores for Turkey and Malaysia
Items Ave Turkey Ave Malaysia
Personal Interaction 0.742* 0.722
Physical Appearance 0.709 0.745*
Problem Solving 0.655** 0.719
It is interesting to note that on average the factor loadings score of RSQS for both countries is quite similar, that
is on 0.71 score as shown in Table 2. Although the two countries are located in different regions of Asia, the
similarity in overall scoring is rather noticeable indicating the homogenous reactions towards retail environment.
However, as in many earlier studies, the priority scoring on RSQS item differs between countries. The highest
factor loadings score for Turkey is on personal interaction (0.742) while the lowest score is on problem solving
(0.655). Malaysian customers, on the other hand score highest factor loadings on physical appearance (0.745) while
the lowest loading is on policy (0.628). Comparing the findings with earlier studies by Matilla (1999) and Winsted
(1997), Malaysia despite being in Asian region, reacts like US customers when priorities physical appearance of
RSQS. On the other hand, Turkey, although closer to western countries, priorities personal interaction or
communication, which normally being more associate to Asian values.
Overall, the study has shed lights on the RSQS and customers perceptions in both countries. The comparison will
enhance the understanding on customers’ priority in different countries. Marketers or other practitioners would be
able to gauge the expected customer response towards their service quality efforts in Malaysia and Turkey. This
inter countries understanding is also crucial as both nations are making efforts to increase their bilateral trading.
The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) via Exploratory Research Grant Scheme of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) supported
the work. Research name: Integrating intercultural competence for superior service satisfaction a structural equation modelling in dynamic
economy of Malaysia and Turkey, grant no. PY//2012/01358
Q14 Store la
out makes it eas
for customer to move around. 0,747 0,721
Q15 Clean, attractive and convenient public areas. 0,602 0,642**
Promise to something by a certain time.
Performs the service right the first time.
Providing service at the time it promising to do.
of merchandise. 0,625** 0,729*
Q20 Error-free sales transaction and record. 0,846* 0,569**
. 0,647 0,746*
Q22 Sincere interest to solve problem. 0,719* 0,674**
handle returns and exchan
e. 0,599** 0,736
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