Market Segmentation And The Shari'ah Compliancy Process In Islamic Banking Iinstitutions (IBIs)

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Shari'ah compliance is the unique feature of Islamic financial services (IFS) and is, therefore, a very critical process for Islamic financial institutions (IFIs). This study focuses on the compliancy process conducted in Islamic banking institutions (IBIs), as the sector is considered one of the most established IFIs. Shari'ah non-compliance is considered damaging to an Islamic bank’s reputation. But the main issue is whether or not consumers at large or a particular group of consumers consider Shari'ah compliance as critical in their purchase decision. Therefore, the main objective of this study is twofold: to explore the possible consumer segments from the managerial perspective, and to conduct a case study on the applicability of a proposed Shari'ah compliance framework. The analysis of interviews made with selected key market players reveals four consumer segments: Religious Conviction Group; Religious Conviction and Economic Rationality Group; Ethical Observance Group and Economic Rationality Group. Theoretically, the closest possible market segmentation basis for these groups are, values (psychographic segmentation), which also emphasises opinions and attitudes, activities and lifestyles, and benefits sought from products or product attributes. The study’s initial finding could serve as an aid to guide product/brand positioning strategies for IBIs when designing their marketing communication. The analysis of the case study conducted shows that proper Shari'ah governance was in place and that appropriate steps are being taken to ensure these mechanisms work as intended. In addition, the process was clearly elaborated and disclosed in the bank’s annual report. Although the detailed process is not explained, we may conclude that what is being practiced by the bank under study is in line with what we have proposed in our framework, thus validating the applicability of the proposed framework.



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