Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Problem: In today’s business markets companies are faced with new challenges occurring from globalization, new technologies, deregulation, blurring borders between industries, and outsourcing which change the competitive environment in the market. To deal with these challenges organizations are forced to look for new and innovative ways to differentiate themselves from competitors and to satisfy customers’ demands for more customized products and services. Additionally, nowadays customers strive for fulfilling their needs by being more active. Value co-creation, the collaboration between companies and customers, is as a solution of current interest to cope with these challenges. Due to the close linkage between retailers and customers, value co-creation is of high interest for this part of the SC. Hence, this thesis focuses on the retailer-customer context and co-creation in terms of co-designing of bikes.
Purpose: The purpose of this Master of Science thesis is to investigate how and why retailers and customers co-create value. Therefore, retailers’ and customers’ potential motivators, the interaction between them and the actors’ potential outcomes are explored.
Method: This thesis conducts an exploratory and qualitative investigation of three case companies; Bike by Me, myownbike, and 718 Cyclery. The empirical material is gathered from interviews with the CEOs of the three companies, the retailers’ customers, and potential customers. The findings have been analyzed using a framework developed based on existing literature, stated in the frame of reference, which is improved by this thesis’ findings.
Conclusions: Customers and retailers co-create value due to different potential motivators and outcomes. Retailers are motivated by aspects such as increases in competitive advantage, differentiation, customer loyalty, and better understanding of new needs. Customers’ motivators are amongst others the product itself, individuality, and enjoyment. As retailers’ outcomes increased efficiency and effectiveness, new customer acquisition, and the establishment of long-term relationships are identified. Customers’ outcomes are high customer satisfaction, new knowledge, convenience, and financial aspects. Actions between retailers and customers in value co-creation are identified through a learning phase and an innovation phase. The retailer participates through providing information, the platform for co-creation, and suggestions and assistance. The customers collaborate in terms of designing the product, expression of desires and experiences, feedback, and WOM in interaction with other customers.
2012. , 62 p.