Category Archives: Mini Cases

How could you trust other users when they sell?


Don’t feel like cooking yourself, but you don’t have the time nor money to go to a restaurant? Shareyourmeal.net can solve this problem! http://www.shareyourmeal.net is a website, where people can offer their (prepared) food to their neighbours. The ‘Foodie’ (or in other words, the hungry person who doesn’t want to cook) can subscribe to the website and then see all the meals in his/her neighbourhood. The tool is not meant for any commercial interest, and restaurants and professional cooks are therefore kicked out. Cooks don’t get paid (they get a small amount to cover for the expenses of the ingredients), they merely cook for love & glory.

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However, these kind of C2C platforms have some disadvantages. One of the problems is anonymity. Users could create fake usernames and as a user you generally don’t know who the cook is. But then how could a user be sure that this platform is safe? How do you know whether the cook prepared the food in a right, hygienic manner, and whether all the ingredients are safe? The website clearly states that they are not responsible for damage caused by any of the parties. So how could you trust the other users on the platform?

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Warning: Fraudfunding


Over the past few years, crowdfunding platforms have become more popular. Just within 5 years, the number of the platforms had risen from 21 websites in 2007 to 143 websites in 2011 (a). Crowdfunding platforms offer the opportunities for people to pursue their dreams or to raise money for good a cause.  On the other end of the spectrum, these platforms also provide opportunities for investment. However, as the popularity goes up, controlling this growing community is challenging since there are no concrete law or regulations, as can be seen in fraud cases occurring across crowdfunding platforms.

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Take for example the Kobe-red project on Kickstarter, which was intended to raise money for beef-based jerky made with 100% organic and beer-fed Japanese cow. This project was supported by 3,252 funders generating over $120,000! Being as successful, it was approached by two filmmakers who would like to include this project in a documentary called Kickstarted. Looking back on hindsight, it was then discovered that many features provided by the project creators on the page were suspicious, raising concerns about the legitimacy of the project. Continue reading Warning: Fraudfunding

Power to the People


Thunderclap (1): A crowdspeaking platform that enables individuals with ideas to gather support from the public and shout out their message to the world, ready to be picked up by governments or companies (but it’s also just a good marketing tool!). The #1 example? Phonebloks. As a message from Dave Hakkens, his Phonebloks Thunderclap gathered almost one million supporters before its due date. The result? At the same day the Thunderclap was sent out, Project Phonebloks was picked up by Motorola and is now being developed (under the name Project Ara) by the infamous Google X. Talk about success. Sometimes all you need to do is gather enough supporters so your idea can get the attention it deserves. Thunderclap enables this and makes sure that good ideas, innovative ideas, crowdsupported ideas, get to those that can develop it.

Turn this idea upside down and we’re talking about Google’s Play Store (2). Bring those that can develop applications an open source platform and within no time you will have a monster load of applications on any subject and of any quality. Regulation is minimized and this ensures an almost instantaneous time-to-market when the app is submitted for publishing. The crowd is used for app rating and as a back-up check to make sure the app isn’t malicious. Only when a certain amount of complaints is reached will Google step in.

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Mass Customization: Just Upsides?


Mass customization is becoming more and more trendy. An increasing number of companies turn their products into customizable ones to attract customers that seek uniqueness, but are they all successful? Also, are there only advantages to this? Nike, Ikea and Dell did it; but when and where do companies stop? These are all questions we try to answer in our mini-case.

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First, why is mass customization such a sought feature? Well, if handled correctly, it’s a win-win concept for both customers and companies. Thus, the customer receives a product which fits better his/her needs, while the company gets great insight into what its customers want. Aside from choosing a suited market and/or product, handling mass customization correctly means following 5 principles:
deciding whether the customization process focuses on needs or parameters, providing the starting point, offering the possibility for incremental refinements, creating prototypes to be tested by consumers in order to avoid surprises and teaching the consumer about the product [1].

Continue reading Mass Customization: Just Upsides?

Crowdsourcing Takes Off!


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Crowdsourcing can be defined as the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call (Howe, 2006). The motivations for people could be intrinsic or extrinsic or a combination of both. Two examples were highlighted to exemplify crowdsourcing, illustrate the different motivations behind them and to discuss their relevance and success levels.

The first example was Tomnod.  A Boeing 777 disappeared into the ocean in flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines on March 8th. Due to the large search area of the ocean, the search was an overwhelming task. Therefore, to make the search faster, a satellite imaging company, Digital Globe, launched an online platform called Tomnod. Continue reading Crowdsourcing Takes Off!

Experiencing clothes behind a computer screen


Simply everything can be bought online nowadays. From mass production products to specific niche products. However, about a third of all online transactions are returned (1). Buying online can result in certain disadvantages compared to buying in an actual store, one of which is the impossibility to physically hold the product, which can in the case of online clothing retailers, result in product returns. E-commerce clothing retailers like Zalando and Wehkamp.nl use a lot of different kind of recommendations to help the customers make satisfactory choices.

When buying clothes online, a customer can not try the article behind his/her computer screen. A customer will not know if the fabric is what the customer wants or how the product will actually look when he/she wears it. Does it look fancy? Slobby? Casual? Formal? And most of all, a customer will never be sure if the clothing actually fits unless he/she tries it on. This disadvantage has to do with the fact that clothing is an experience product characterized by the attributes that need to be experienced before the purchase, like taste, softness or fit (2). According to Xiao and Benbasat (2007), the use of recommendation agents influences the choice of users to a greater extent in the case of these products. What kind of recommendation agents do Zalando and Wehkamp.nl actually have to help customers choose? Continue reading Experiencing clothes behind a computer screen

Recommendation System @Match.com


Nowadays, interactions between consumers and firms are increasing in complexity and intensity. Companies need to learn how to deal with it in order to remain competitive.

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Moreover, when looking at the world pyramid of ages, we can see that if a 26 years old male is looking forhis optimal female partner (assuming that “optimal” implies the girl is in the same age range and also that there is only one optimal choice), he has only one in 275,001,000 (- the number of females he already met) chance to meet her. His chances fall even lower if we consider that there is no reason why both partners should be in the same age range. Thus unless the guy is very lucky, he might need some help to find the right partner. Continue reading Recommendation System @Match.com

Recommendation system at Netflix


Netflix was initially an American company in the business of DVD’s rental and was launched in 1997 and headquartered in California. Its initial core business was renting and mailing DVD’s to their clients. They launched their own website in the same year and developed several new rental models such as the online rental model and the monthly subscription model. At that moment, they had already developed video recommendation systems based on the experience of their customers that they cautiously recorded. For instance, they implemented systems for the clients to express concern about movies and to create movies’ ranking.

However, the market significantly changed over the last ten years with the development of the digital movies at the expense of the physical DVD’s. As a result the market was progressively moving away from the physical DVD’s to a more digital business based market. Netflix has subsequently responded to this trend and has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Continue reading Recommendation system at Netflix