Utilising product knowledge: Competitive advantage for specialist independent grocery retailers

Karise Hutchinson, Donna McGuinness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how product knowledge is utilised by specialistindependent grocery retailers (SIGRs) and how it can enhance competitive advantage for these firms.Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach was deemed most appropriate to gaininsight into an unexplored area of study. A total of 30 in-depth interviews were conducted over asix-month period supported by the collection of observation data and documentation. A purposivesampling method was adopted and the owner managers of the chosen retailers were interviewed askey informants for the study.Findings – It was found that four main resources created the concept product strategy andultimately explained the success of SIGRs. These relate to knowledge of how to provide a uniqueproduct; knowledge of identifying and sourcing from quality suppliers; knowledge of recipes,preparation and storage methods; and knowledge of how to merchandise products.Practical implications – It is argued that if these specialist grocery firms can achieve sustainedcompetitive advantage from building and exploiting product knowledge, so too can other independentretailers in the sector.Originality/value – This paper provides empirical evidence and theoretical understanding ofproduct knowledge as a competitive advantage for SIGRs, which is a neglected area of study in theretail literature.Keywords Independent grocery retailing, Resource based view, Product knowledge,Competitive advantage, Retailing, Retailers, Product information, United KingdomPaper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-476
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2013

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