Print Email Facebook Twitter Creating customer engagement for the customers of Ahold Title Creating customer engagement for the customers of Ahold Author Van Meir, S.L.O. Contributor Creusen, M.E.H. (mentor) Jepma, E.J. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Product Innovation Management Programme Master of Science Strategic Product Design Date 2012-01-30 Abstract In recent years, innovations like Smartphones, 3G (wireless Internet), and social media have entered the Dutch market. These innovations lead to brand transparency because they give customers access to brand related information and and allow them share that information amongst each other. Loyal customers therefore might be tempted to consider other brands for making their purchases. The chance of this possible decrease of loyal customers is enhanced by the financial crisis, which makes customers more aware of their pattern of expenditures. Engaging your customers is a method to block the decrease of loyal customers, and it might even increase the number of loyal customers. Ahold is an international retailer, owning brands like Albert Heijn, Gall & Gall, and Etos in the Netherlands. Retailers are also subject to the possible decrease of loyal customers, and that is why Ahold should focus on customer engagement (CE). This graduation project investigates what CE exactly is, what it means to Ahold, how it can be created, all leading to a concept which creates CE for the customers of Ahold. Literature Study The literature study indicated that loyal customers are the ones that make repurchases at a brand and recommend it to friends and/or family. Engaged customers are one step further; they make repurchases and recommend the brand, but they also collaborate with the brand. Collaboration means that the customers give feedback to the brand, so they put effort in the brand. That effort gives the customer the feeling that he or she puts something of his or her own in the brand, which creates an emotional connection. Besides inidicating what CE is, the literature also described some important topics regarding which brands should be taken into consideration to create CE. First of all, a brand should focus on creating an emotional bond with its customers instead of a transactional one. Repurchases will automatically follow if a customer has an emotional bond with a brand. Secondly, a brand should perform a cross channel strategy to provide its customers with the needed information at the right moments of interaction. This provided information should be transparent, otherwise customers might think the information is questionable and they will consider other brands (as described in the first paragraph). Finally employees are very important, because they form a decisive factor for customers in experiencing a positive or negative interaction with the brand. Research The literature descibed CE from a brand’s perspective, but a customer’s perspective was missing. Therefore the qualitative research method, contextmapping, was performed to find the customer’s needs. The found needs were combined with external values (developments, trends, states, and principles) to define the following four most important factors which describe the customer’s perspective. Authentic newness - Customers like it if a company surprises them with a “new thing” as long as it is brand relevant and does not feel unfamiliar. Transparency - Customers want to be in control, and therefore they want a brand to be transparent. The brand should not have any secrets. Valued - Customers want to have the feeling of being valued by the brand. They want to be rewarded for the loyalty they show to the brand. Sharing - Customers want to share experiences with others, and be part of groups/communities. Innovations like social media increase the opportunity to share experiences and information. Concept The conclusions from the literature study and research were translated into a design brief. This brief described the requirements, wishes, and goals that the final design had to fulfill to create CE for the customers of Gall & Gall. This brand was chosen as a domain to design for, because it had the fewest products and/or services for its customers. The final concept is a product service system (PSS) which has an online and offline part. In the online part customers can co-create drinking experiences. These experiences consists of, by customers added, representative pictures and drink suggestions. Customers can also vote for the experiences they prefer the most, and after two months of co-creating the three top voted experiences will be placed in the Gall & Gall stores (offline part). This offline part consists of three products which represent the three top voted experiences, by showing the co-created pictures in a collage, and each one will also have three matching odors. Customers will first choose one of the experiences based on the collage, and then they will smell the different odors which facilitate a re-experience. Behind each odor is another drinking advice. The customer will ask Gall & Gall’s employee which drinks are advized by the odor he/she prefered the most. Subject customer engagementproduct service systemsmelldesign To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:28d01d8c-ef12-412a-89e7-76db3a3f083c Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2012 Van Meir, S.L.O.