All posts by 342466sm

“Boss, I’ll work from home this morning”

When you turn off your alarm on your smartphone at 6:30 in the morning, it is straightaway clear that it is a better plan to work from home this morning instead of at the office. There are traffic jams everywhere and even the trains are delayed. It is advised that you leave two hours later instead. In case you do not want to follow this advice, because you have a meeting at 9:00 in the morning, then your smartphone gives the fastest route straightaway, considering going by car or by public transport. Later that day, you have to be at the dentist at a specific time, whereby your smartphone notifies you when you have to get in your car.


People get busier every day and the personal and digital demands are increasing. Systems get integrated more and more, which leads to an optimal ease of use. Those trends can be applied on the travel and traffic industry too. A lot of problem solving traffic applications have been developed, which led to an online overload (Tsekouras, 2015) of applications that can help you on the road. In this blog I provide you with the mechanisms in those traffic applications, and I will provide an analysis of the different applications which are currently popular in the Dutch market.

Travel & Traffic Applications

The aim of travel & traffic applications is to give and advice about how to get from A to B fastest. Nowadays, a lot more functions are possible such as a personal navigation (to avoid traffic jams), a price advice, a sustainable advice etc. To optimize and customize this for each individual, the user needs to put in information in exchange. With this, the users deliver an input for the actual result.

Data Use

Since everyone has different destinations, different travel times, a different budget, and different resources, those traffic applications cannot give a generic travel advice to everyone. The key point of those applications is that travel advices are based on personal data, such as one’s car, one’s agenda, the amount of traffic jams on the highway, and one’s preferred budget. With this, everyone receives an optimal, personal travel advice. Since the user types in the data him/herself, optimal advices are given, instead of a ‘guess’ based on the most likely information. The downside of typing in one’s exact data is that it requires effort, whereas minimal effort is desired. To lower the impact of this downside, most applications can be fully integrated with one’s smartphone and agenda, which decreases effort in turn. However, this raised privacy concerns at the same time (Tsekouras, 2015).


There are endless possibilities that can be integrated in traffic applications. Most traffic applications integrate the following elements:

  • Navigation
  • Real-time traffic notifications
  • Personal schedule
  • Prices (of fuel or public transport)
  • Available parking spots
  • CO2 saving
  • The amount of stop overs
  • Parking

Revenue Models

Most applications have different revenue models, varying from paying for the download to advertisement based. Noteworthy is the fact that a lot of applications are run by the government and some applications are highly subsidized due to the benefit for the whole community.

Market Analysis

In the following table, an analysis of popular traffic applications in the Dutch market is given.



Tsekouras, D. (2015). Lecture 1: Introduction to Value Co-Creation. Customer Centric Digital Commerce, 18 March, 2015.

Tsekouras, D. (2015). Lecture 2: Information Search & Product Recommendations. Customer Centric Digital Commerce, 25 March, 2015

Raising capital – But which crowd to tap?

Imagine you are an entrepreneur and you want to raise money in order to set up a project or small business by means of crowdfunding: the practice of raising small amounts of money – funding – from a large number of people – the crowd – to finance a project, which happens most commonly via the internet (Schwienbacher & Larralde, 2010). There are many different forms of crowdfunding, and it is a maze for you to choose the right structure and funding focus. How to make the right decision of the path you are going to follow that is suitable for your business? Paul Belleflamme, Thomas Lambert, and Armin Schwienbacher (2014), have written an article that gives a valuable advice in making those kind of decisions, whereby they compare two types of crowdfunding.


Crowdfunding can take place in four different forms (or a hybrid of those): donation-based, reward-based, lending-based, and equity-based (Mollick, 2014). In this article, the authors focus on equity-based crowdfunding, and a pre-ordering structure (which is a form of reward-based crowdfunding), since those are the two dominant structures in the crowdfunding scene. With equity-based crowdfunding, funders financially support the entrepreneur in exchange for a share of future profits. With the pre-ordering method, the entrepreneur invites funders to pre-order the product, usually for a premium price, whereby the entrepreneur is able to collect the necessary capital for launching the production. In this case, the entrepreneur is able to price discriminate between two groups: first stage crowd funders, and second stage consumers. In order to make a decision between those two structures, the authors considered the economic factors that determine an entrepreneur’s choice of a particular form of crowdfunding and came up with a unified theoretical model that suggests the following:


An entrepreneur should choose for a pre-ordering structure in cases when the initial capital required is relatively small compared with the market size, whereas entrepreneurs should choose for a profit sharing structure otherwise.

Adding to this main implication, when  exercising a pre-ordering structure, the amount to optimally implement price discrimination between first stage and second stage supporters, may be constrained by the amount of funding that the entrepreneur needs to raise in order to cover the fixed costs. When this amount surpasses a threshold, the profitability of the project is reduced. For higher funding goals, equity crowdfunding becomes more meaningful for entrepreneurs when community/social benefits are associated with financing the project, since larger amounts of individuals will support the project, whereas the fraction of profits the entrepreneur needs to give up remains equal.


To apply those findings on real-world examples, I would like to highlight two cases.

Yoni – Last week I interviewed the founders of Yoni, a start-up company that produces organic cotton tampons and pads. The founders raised their starting capital on under a pre-ordering structure. By means of perks, crowd funders could pre-0rder products for a premium price and in addition to the product itself they received a special thank-message or a t-shirt. Currently, the products are available for a lower price. Here, we see the typical path of first having initial, first stage supporters (the crowd funders) and later in the process second stage supporters (regular customers). When I asked about their choice for this pre-ordering structure, they said that this was the quickest and most convenient way to start producing their products, which is an operating decision. Besides that, their products are able to reach a large base of customers, which is in accordance with the article.



Donner – Another example, exercised in Rotterdam, is the crowdfunding campaign of the bookstore Donner. When the traditional bookstore was on the edge of its bankruptcy, former employees of the bookstore started an equity based crowdfunding campaign on to raise financing, that led Donner to a go-around. Since a lot of capital was needed for this turn-around strategy, equity crowdfunding was most suitable. The community benefit of this campaign was high, since a lot of customers wanted to prevent the bookstore from closing its doors.



Considering those cases and the article, I think that both firms made the correct decision in tapping the right audience. Going back to the article, Belleflame et al (2014) address that when the project is driven by financing decisions, entrepreneurs should choose a profit-sharing approach, whereas when the project is driven by operating decisions, the entrepreneurs should choose for a pre-ordering approach. Reassuring this, both cases have chosen to the right structure, as it both led to success.



Belleflamme, P., Lambert, T., & Schwienbacher, A. (2014). Crowdfunding: Tapping the right crowd. Journal of Business Venturing29(5), 585-609.

Mollick, E. (2014). The Dynamics of Crowdfunding – An Exploratory Study. Journal of Business Venturing 29, 1-16.

Schwienbacher, A., & Larralde, B. (2010). Crowdfunding of Small Entrepreneurial Ventures. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Customer Empowerment at the University-Spar!

One way to involve active consumer participation is to let the consumers vote.

The supermarket Spar uses this consumer empowerment strategy at our very own university. Hereby, the Spar selects a product and visitors of the Spar can “like” or “dislike” the product by means of pressing a button at a touch screen. When the product receives over 50 likes, the Spar will add it to their assortment. When looking at the customer empowerment matrix by Fuchs & Schreier (2011), this strategy falls in the lower right corner.

Since the Spar gathers information and opinions about their customers, this strategy could be considered as a way of data gathering by means of crowdsourcing. However, I think this tool is mainly used as a marketing tool instead. To investigate whether consumers would like this product or not, Spar could also do a pilot by adding the product for a limited time to their assortment and after that looking at the sales figures whether this product is desired by the customers or not. Besides that, there is a possibility that consumers “like” the product without actually buying it.

The marketing aspect of this tool unfolds in two ways. Firstly, it functions as a promotion campaign for that specific product, since the product is given extra attention in the store. Customers of the Spar may buy it now, because the product is put in a spotlight, whereas they may not have bought it if it was, just like the other products, regularly in the shelves. This is a typical example whereby a store pushes the product towards the consumer (Balugly & Uysal, 1996). Secondly, this marketing tool can have a favorable impact on the image of the Spar as a supermarket itself. According to Fuch & Scheier (2011), (even passive) consumers perceive a higher level of customer orientation, more favorable corporate attitudes, and stronger behavioral intentions when firms empower their customers in such way. Even if consumers do not like the product or do not use the tool, it can still have a positive impact on the brand image of Spar, since consumers feel that Spar integrates consumer’s opinion in assortment selection. Interesting to see is, that there is no marketing found online about this tool. The only place where one can know about this campaign, is by being in the store physically. This is something that Spar could improve, by making this campaign more visible, as Claire Gilby (2012) E.ON executive of stresses: The biggest mistake E.ON could make was to not be visible.

To conclude, with having such a tool with already existing products, I would think that its aim is more for marketing purposes, instead of gathering data about the product or consumers. However, purposes and outcomes could be different with new product development.



Baloglu, S., & Uysal, M. (1996). Market segments of push and pull motivations: A canonical correlation approach. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management8(3), 32-38.

Fuchs, C., & Schreier, M. (2011). Customer empowerment in new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(1), 17-32