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Sammanfattning: Abstract A general store is a grocery store that is located in the countryside. In today's modern society, it is difficult for general stores to compete with the supermarkets and discounters in terms of price and supply. The purpose of this thesis is to create an understanding of both the rural merchants and its customers’ perspective on a well-‐functioning general store. We have conducted a case study of three general stores where we interviewed the merchants about how they do to please their customers’ needs and identify key elements of a well-‐functioning general store. We also carried out a survey to the customers in each store to examine the customers’ needs, buying behavior and expectations on the general store. What we found out is that the general stores are struggling to compete against supermarkets and discounters. To be competitive in the market, they need to offer services and become a venue to attract recurrent customers and create customer loyalty. The results from the interviews and the surveys clarified that the general store has a big significance for the rural areas and their locals. Despite that the general store’s costumers rated service as most critical when facing a selection between stores, they do become attracted by the supermarkets’ offerings and prices.
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