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Customization in bicycle retailing

Hamid Jafari, Anna Nyberg, Tone-Lise Osnes and Annika Schmitz

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2015, vol. 23, issue C, 77-90

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore the process of customization by investigating how retailers and consumers interact in bicycle retailing. The paper focuses on three high-end bicycle retailers. Building on qualitative data gathered through interviews and netnography, this study takes both retailers’ and consumers’ processes into account. The results show that retailers capitalize on external and internal opportunities for co-creation, including new technologies, production and distribution innovations, and social media. Retailers’ planning for co-creation plays a significant role in providing a unique shopping experience for consumers. This includes supply chain solutions such as effective inventory and warehousing systems, partnerships and outsourcing, tracking, and postponement, which facilitate simplicity. Retailers rely on feedback from consumers to improve their planning and implementation processes. In terms of consumer processes, several emotions are evident, including the sense of standing-out and self-esteem, fun and coolness, creativity and imagination, and most importantly, the possibility of reflecting one’s personality in self-designed bikes. Systems that are easy to interact with, such as interactive online configurators, contribute to consumers’ cognitive processes. Loyalty and positive word-of-mouth turns out to be a common manifestation of the behavior associated with such co-creation processes. We also reflect on how, by what means, and why consumers and retailers engage in co-creation through customization, mainly pertaining to learning and innovation. Our results also point to various possible outcomes from such processes for consumer and retailers; including expressing ones personality and individuality for consumers, and providing product variety efficiently, and boosting brand image for retailers.

Keywords: Customization; Value co-creation; Bicycles; Netnography; Postponement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2014.12.004

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