Despite unethical retail store practices, consumers at the bottom of the pyramid continue to be loyal

Shruti Gupta, Pratish Srivastav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Research in the area of retail store loyalty agrees that consumers reward retailers when they are satisfied with its products, services, and its image. Moreover, one would agree that if the retailer engages in unethical practices, the customer would quickly defect and even engage in word of mouth to influence others to defect. But this might not be the case universally. One consumer group that continues to be loyal to a retailer despite widespread unethical practices is the poor. A growing stream of research under the label of bottom of pyramid (BoP) and subsistence consumers has increasingly pointed out the market attractiveness of this segment to multinational companies. These poor consumers are individuals who earn approximately $2 per day. In this paper, we explain the nature of widespread unethical retail practices prevalent amongst the neighborhood retail stores (or kirana as they are referred to in India) that serve the BoP consumer, types of patronage behaviors, and the reasons ‘why’ these consumers continue to support the kirana store. The data for this paper comes from a qualitative study conducted with 58 urban poor consumers in India. This study carries significant implications for both domestic and multinational companies that market fast-moving consumer goods in the BoP market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-94
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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