All posts by 375682md

Seniors go Klupping: An innovative solution to reduce perceived loneliness of an aging population.


Can you imagine that one of your grandparents uses Tinder? Probably a lot of people do not even want to think of the idea, nevertheless a Dutch startup does! Addressing a very relevant issue in most developed countries, a continuously aging population, Klup tries to solve a corresponding and increasing phenomenon: the feeling of loneliness.

How does it work?

At first it sounds like a controversial concept, but as soon as the intension becomes clear people understand the idea. Basically the app works similar to the well-known dating-app Tinder: a profile is based on a picture and an indication of what people are looking for. Users, called ‘Kluppers’, can determine a location-range in which they are looking for others. If another Klupper is found, the user can like this person’s profile and in case of mutual interest, the users have a match and are able to start chatting. But from this point forward, any similarity stops since Klup only focuses on connecting people for friendships, not love-affairs. In addition, users are also able to directly invite people in the vicinity for a self-organized event.

The target group of the app are seniors of 55+ that want to be active but do not have someone to share an experience with. Since the app is freely available, the founders hope to earn money in the near future by even providing premium-accounts and advertising-opportunities for companies that are content related. Because seniors are becoming more modern, applications should focus more on this group and give them the opportunity to use a smartphone.

Social relevance

Unfortunately, for a lot of elderly people it is not so easy to call a friend if they long for companionship. More shocking is the number of a whopping 1.2 million seniors that admit to feel lonely (TNS NIPO, 2012). They do not necessarily miss a loved-one, but just someone to share things with. A factor that negatively influences this issue is the digitalization of contemporary life and the segregation of elderly. Nevertheless, a study by Mallenius, et al., (2007) indicates that elderly people are interested in using mobile phones and services, but they need to deliver real value for them. This relevant value is expressed in form of a more social, active, and independent life. A keyword for them should not be age, but functionality instead. The Klup app therefore links these two phenomena.

Future perspective

Despite elderly are often neglected in product development, they are the only growing age group in most developed countries (Mallenius et al,. 2007). Therefore Klup focuses itself on the “new generation of seniors” (Wolters, 2016), since this group is used to work with mobile devices, but also on informal caregivers such as family and home-care organizations to organize social activities with their clients.

Although the platform is still relatively small, it had its first big success in Rotterdam, and is now rapidly expanding across the country. Mainly because seniors are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of modern technologies, and are successful in the adoption of touch-based user interfaces, regardless physical or cognitive weaknesses (Häikiö, et al,. 2007). In addition, the app is widely promoted on national television and via public organizations. Therefore Klup is currently busy with the modernization and extension of a new platform which will be released around April 2017. Society throws heaps of praise on this relatively new idea, and for the skeptics of mobile device-usage, this app combines the best of both worlds: an online environment facilitating offline contact.

References

Häikiö, J., Wallin, A., Isomursu, M., Ailisto, H., Matinmikko, T., & Huomo, T. (2007). Touch-based user interface for elderly users. MobileHCI ’07 (pp. 289-296). Singapore: ACM. Mallenius, S., Matti, R., & Tuunainen, V. K. (2007). Factors affecting the adoption and use of mobile devices and services by elderly people – results from a pilot study. Sixth Annual Global Mobility Roundtable, (pp. 82-94). Los Angeles .                                                                                                                                      Snel, N., & Plantinga, S. (2012). Eenzaamheid in Nederland Coalitie Erbij. Utrecht: TNS NIPO. Wolters, M. (2016, september 27). ‘Tinder’ voor senioren blijkt hit in Rotterdam. (D. v. Vliet, Interviewer)             http://www.ad.nl/rotterdam/tinder-voor-senioren-is-groot-succes-in-rotterdam~acc64449/                                               https://www.hetkanwel.net/2016/12/16/klup-app-senioren/

Impact of Online Consumer Reviews on Sales: The Moderating Role of Product and Consumer Characteristics


Considering the ever increasing popularity of online consumer generated reviews, companies realize they can benefit a lot from this trend. One very relevant belief is that online consumer reviews can significantly influence a consumer’s purchasing decision via an online form of word-of-mouth promotion (WOM).

Review

Several researchers have studied the average effect of reviews on a product’s sales, but the article by Zhu & Zhang (2010) adopts the view that product- and consumer-specific characterisics can moderate this relationship. In their developed conceptual model (Figure 1), this governing effect is examined. Via an emperical analysis in the gaming industry based on an extensive data set, the researchers came up with some interesting results. One suggestion that arose, is that the role of reviews is crucial if other information sources are relatively scarce. Therefore, an absolute ‘nail’ for an online marketing strategy of less popular products that reside in the “long tail”, is to intensively manage review possibilities. Mainly because superior WOM via online reviews strongly influences its sales. Furthermore, since people are nowadays relatively experienced with the internet, companies should be aware about the notion that online reviews are more influential when a consumer has greater internet experience.

concept

Strengths

Although prior studies focused on the effects of online reviews on purchase decisions, they did not consider any other external factors. Therefore, this study was the first to empirically examine the contextual factors that can moderate this relationship. In order to do so the researchers were able to collect a lot of reliable sales-data via a leading market research firm and review-data from established and well-known reviewing websites. This enabled the researchers to carefully analyze the obtained set containing five years of data! This amount of data definitely improved the validity of the results. Besides, the researchers were able to account for certain biases due to promotion actions or popular purchasing periods. Moreover, the researchers resolved a bias that occurred in the study by Chevalier & Mayzlin (2006) since they calculated for potential differences in the amount of sales caused by a higher level of competition per game.

Weaknesses

A major weakness of the article is that some questionable assumptions are made. The most relevant one is that ‘online game players’ have greater internet experience than offline game players. Although these games make use of the internet, this is unrelated to reviewing and surfing on the internet via a computer. This requires completely different skills, and although these people may be more likely to have this experience, it does not say anything about relative levels of experience. Furthermore, players of offline games could simply prefer these games over online games, while these players also have great internet experience.

Discussion Points

The researchers claim a correlation between increased online reviews that result in higher incremental sales for products that currently have relatively high sales. Since this claim rests on a correlated effect, this does not mean there is a causal relationship. Therefore, the effect could also be the other way around, so the increase in online reviews could be a result of higher incremental sales.

To increase the generalizability of the results, other product categories need to be studied. As the researchers discuss inconsistent prior findings that resulted from other product categories, this could be a reason for the different outcomes (Jiang & Guo, 2015). As they propose themselves, products that are closer related to internet sales and online communities could have significant different reactions.

References

Chevalier, J. A., & Mayzlin, D. (2006). The effect of word of mouth on sales: Online Book Reviews. Journal of Marketing Research, August(43), 345-354.

Jiang, Y., & Guo, H. (2015). Design of consumer review systems and product pricing. Information Systems Research, 26(4), 714-730.

Zhu, F., & Zhang, X. (. (2010, March). Impact of online consumer reviews on sales: The moderating role of product and consumer characteristics. Journal of Marketing, 74(2), 133-148.

The Milkman is cool again: Everything for an ultimate customer experience


After the disappearance of the labor-intense and specialized grocery-jobs, the Milkman is on its return in the Netherlands. Waking up the grocery giants such as Jumbo and Albert Heijn: a super-efficient online supermarket focusing on home deliveries emerged, Picnic. Making life for busy people much more convenient, this online retail distributor delivers your products at your home for free! And it becomes even better, since they manage to guarantee the lowest prices, leaving the establishment at their wit’s end with their unattainable business model.

How does it work?

Although online groceries are not completely new, this company makes it into their core business. After you have ordered your products and selected your most favorable delivery timeslot, Picnic does what they are doing best: delivering your groceries as quick as possible for the lowest price. Furthermore there is no need for waiting, since Picnic’s “Runners” are trackable via the real-time app on your mobile device. Even better, with an estimated arrival time up to 10 minutes accurate.

This makes it into a highly relevant opportunity for hardworking people with tight schedules, but also for the infirm and elderly (Keh & Shieh, 2001). Furthermore, Picnic is created together with the customer. Having the opportunity to reengineer the app or influence the available assortment, Picnic centralizes their customers to guarantee an optimal service level.

What is their unique formula?

However sceptics question the business model, Picnic has no doubts. Due to the savings as a result of skipping the physical supermarkets, these related costs are evaded. This leaves room for higher profit margins per product and a substantial budget for its distribution network. But how do they make their deliveries so efficient? The foundation lies in an extremely efficient supply chain. After shipping the products from their centralized warehouse-center to crossdocking locations at strategically positioned hubs, Picnic’s self-developed route planning system cracks the last mile to the customers.

Leaving from the environmental friendly hubs without energy-wasting cooling systems, electrical mini-trucks filled with grocery-boxes deliver the products at customers’ homes. By eliminating product oversupply and gas pollution via alternative fuels, Picnic wants to be as green as possible since that is what the modern customer wants.

Future ambitions

Although Picnic still focuses on a small part of the Netherlands, their potential goes far across the border of the country. Not only in places with a high population density but also in distant rural areas. Though, so far it is more complementary for households, especially throughout the week on top of their weekend-groceries. Nevertheless, Picnic is shaking up the traditional market and addresses some relevant issues in modern life. Which is, putting it mildly, remarkable in a country where most people live less than a kilometer away from a supermarket. So, do people really need dozens of locations with all those choices of different products, wasting all this food?

Thinking in a progressive manner with a customer becoming more aware about the environment and the positive influences of this business model (Ramus & Nielsen, 2005), Picnic has a huge potential. And although the online retail for groceries is not yet on fire, there will be a breakpoint. So will Picnic be the David that beats the Goliaths in their industry with its business model?

References:

http://www.distrifood.nl/formules/nieuws/2016/12/picnic-volgend-jaar-10-tot-15-steden-erbij-101104025                                     https://fd.nl/ondernemen/1165206/picnic-wil-in-hoger-tempo-naar-nieuwe-steden-toe  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/01/innovation-is-greening-retail-and-wholesale-pt2.html                                                                         https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/08/30/een-hoog-wagentje-als-handelsmerk-4060425-a1518656                                                                  Keh, H. T., & Shieh, E. (2001). Online grocery retailing: success factors and potential pitfalls. Business Horizons, 73-83.     Ramus, K., & Nielsen, N. A. (2005). Online grocery retailing: what do consumers think? Internet Research, 15(3), 335 – 352.