Nowadays platforms offer several opportunities for companies to interact with their customers. An example of such an interaction is market research. The purpose of the article of Witell et al. (2010) is to understand the differences between proactive and reactive market research techniques, as both have different influences during the development of new market offerings.
For years, promoting products from the same category that the customers previously purchased from has always been the mainstream in recommendation systems, since it is more likely that products from the same category will match and correspond with customers existing purchase preferences. However, the focus of the recommender system research community has shifted their attention from accuracy-based recommendation strategy towards diversity-based recommendation strategy, this entails offering products from new category that the customer never purchased from. The shifted interest is mainly caused by the ever-increasing impact of long-tail phenomenon on the current e-commerce practice, instead of choosing the mainstream products people tend to search for niche products that can better serve their needs, the advance of recommendation systems is considered as a great stimuli of this effect since it reduces the search effort greatly.
This year I am really going to sport more, eat healthier and lose 10 pounds. New Year’s resolutions, we all love them. Losing weight and staying fit occur on most people’s top 10 list, and sales in sport attributes surprisingly increases in the months after Christmas and New Year. In order to stick to my new year’s resolutions, I wanted to purchase new running shoes. Nowadays, thousands different sorts of shoes are being offered on the internet. With the large amount of running shoes being offered, a third-party product review by for instance Runner’s World would come in handy. Runner’s World is a dominating consumers website and has got an important role in buying behavior of a customer interested in running attributes. The website have got an annual running shoe review and ranking which has got an impact on sales of the companies.
So imagine you are working on co-creating a physical product with people from all over the world. Now, you want to explain to your co-creators how you would like to adjust some attributes of the product. But since their not physically near you, explaining exactly what you mean would be considered hard by most.
What if there was some way to see a model of your product right in front of you, your co-creators had the same model in front of them and you would all be able to work on it real-time?
People are nowadays renting their spare everything, for example cars, apartments or knowledge to other people through platforms. Recently, four friends developed the Cycleswap platform (Trouw, 2015). Cycleswap provides the opportunity to rent a bike directly from local citizens of Amsterdam. The platform connects tourists and visitors to local citizens. This is the ideal opportunity for tourists and visitors to rent a cheap bike.
Google introduced Google Photos (referred to as Photos for the remainder of this blog) in May 2015 (Sabharwal, 2015). Photos is an application that manages your photos and can run in your browser, on your desktop and on your mobile devices (i.e. smartphone and tablet). Photos allows you to upload an unlimited amount of photos* and videos* for free. Besides, the application provides great search functionalities (i.e. search for persons, places and things), share possibilities and smart creations (such as stories and after movies). Therefore, Photos has become the central place for all my 14.000 photos and videos. For an impression of Google Photos, please see the screenshot from Google below.
“Don’t underestimate what people are willing to do to save money.” (Kunde, 2012)
These are the words by Tim Kunde, the co-founder of Friendsurance, the first insurance company to break the traditional mindset and pave the way into a social, peer-to-peer insurance sector. The past few sessions of the course have highlighted the growing importance of the customer for the creation of value and pointed towards the innovative business model called the “sharing economy”. From Zipcar to Find-A-Desk, various examples have been outlined to illustrate that this approach has spread into countless customer-centric business areas. Yet, most insurance companies have been hesitant in adopting this business model.
The explosion of data
If you think of what you can accomplish in 60 seconds, it is probably not much. But if you think of the amount of data that is created in these same 60 seconds, it is a whole different story. Google received over four million search queries per minute in 2015 and Facebook users share over 2,5 million pieces of content and like over four million posts (Gunelius 2014). Besides this, there are a whole bunch of other (online) things happening in this same one minute, which is graphically shown in figure 1.
Understanding the value of customer participation as a vehicle to generate repeated business is often emphasized in business assessment. Just basic business logic shows that it makes sense to listen to your customers (Merlo et.al., 2013). Take “listening” to the next level and you build a situation of co-creation. When adapting co-creation, there will be a change in the current distinct roles and a situation from trying to find customer needs and adjust the product to fit, to a new dynamic of joint customer and producer effort of creation. The aim of involving the customer in the process is to restructure the value chain and obtaining a differentiated position (Humphreys et.al., 2009). Some say that co-creation might become a requirement to stay viable in the future.
More and more innovative companies are platform based and everywhere around us it is all about personalization; personalized ads, personalized online search, personalized composed outfits etc. Another trend fuelling personalization is real-time tracking/data. The technological changes and the overload of information alter the way people communicate, work together and create value.
For the fortunate among us that have a personal assistant, nothing new is being presented in this post. However, for those that still make their own breakfast and need to think about bringing food to the park themselves, reading this might open a few doors.
Nowadays, almost everything is available online. From ordering groceries and complete meals to outsourcing more personal matters as holiday booking and creating photo books. Still, for each of these things you still need to go to different websites, fill out different registration forms, and every time ‘explain’ who you are as a customer and what it is that you need. But some clever entrepreneurs have recognized this problem and started companies offering ‘all’. The best known companies are the American Magic, the German GoButler and also quite recently the Dutch uButler.
The emergence of the Internet has enabled the development of online platforms, in which user-generated content, sharing and collaboration are promoted (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Due to these technological advances, consumers are able to share goods and services more easily. This led to the development of the sharing economy, which is primarily based on the principle of ‘collaborative consumption’. Collaborative consumption is defined as “the peer-to-peer-based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services, coordinated through community-based online services”(Hamari et al., 2015). Some of the most well known collaborative consumption initiatives are: eBay, Uber, Airbnb, and Zipcar.