The unique role of relationship marketing in small businesses’ customer experience

Shaked Gilboa, Tali Seger-Guttmann, Ofir Mimran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study explores what defines customer experience in small businesses. Unlike the technology-oriented customer experience characterizing large enterprises, small businesses’ distinctive customer experience lies in their human interaction with customers. Two aspects of relationship marketing, namely, social relationship and personal care, have been found to be crucial components of this experience. Combining in-depth interviews with small business owners and customers, as well as customer survey, we identified two parallel relationship strategies: communication and personal care enhances trust in the business, and social relationship foster commitment. Both strategies lead to positive customer outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Customer experience
  • Customer-related outcomes
  • Relationship marketing
  • Small business

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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