Factors influencing the purchasing behaviour of Dunair's dealer network in the Southern African automotive aftermarket.
Transaction and switching costs have consistently declined owing to global access to more choice; as a result, channel member relationships have become increasingly critical. A wide variety of research supports that personal relationships between buyers and sellers are a definitive factor in customer retention of organizational buyers. Owing to their mutual dependence, their joint success is built on understanding and delivering customer value. A majority of models of industrial buying behaviour focussed heavily on buying centres, largely ignoring the dynamics of the autonomous buying behaviour of smaller firms. This study identifies the factors that influence the buying behaviour of Independent Aftermarket (IAM) installers of automotive air conditioning products within Southern Africa. The aim of this study is to harness the information gained from the study to improve derived demand of manufacturers by influencing the customers of their distributers. Manufacturers, marketing practitioners, sales staff, managers and any other firm wishing to benefit from managing relationships of business to business (B2B) customers within the Southern African aftermarket will derive benefit from this study. The objectives of the study were to identify the factors that influence the buying behaviour of Dunair’s IAM installers and to recommend how to improve the mutual gain of channel members. This empirical study was performed using quantitative analysis of structured questionnaires administered online. Using the Dunair dealer listing of 2013 as a sampling frame in conjunction with convenience sampling, invitations to participate were e-mailed to 118 possible respondents which yielded a response rate of 31% collected over a two month period. In order of priority availability, quality and price were identified as the most important purchasing factors. The preferred channels of communication amongst the IAM dealers were firstly the Internet followed by product catalogues. This research was originally intended to be descriptive in nature but owing to the poor response rate it could only be considered exploratory in nature. The following has been recommended to Dunair: bypass distribution intermediaries: introduce an online point of sale ordering system, provide product and technical training, develop and distribute high quality product catalogues and upgrade the Dunair webpage.