Customer Co-Production: How one furniture company tested self-assembly messaging to enhance value and reduce frustration

Tweet Self-service and customer co-production of products is everywhere — customers assemble furniture themselves, follow directions on food packages to prepare meals, scan their own groceries at supermarkets and use online banking. Despite its price-lowering and customization value, co-production has a dark side, requiring effort and time from the customer and potentially causing frustration. Today, we’ll look at a study from the furniture industry comparing the effects of two marketing communication strategies to mitigate customer frustration with the co-production process.   The Study In November 2015, Till Haumann, Pascal Grϋntϋrkϋn, Laura Marie Schons and Jan Wieseke from the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany published the results of a field experiment with a multinational furniture company. The company sells furniture that requires co-production from the customer or, in other words, standardized, ready-to-assemble furniture that customers purchase in flat packages and assemble at home. Depending on customers’ assembly skills, the process can be frustrating to a degree. So the scientists set out to test two ways of alleviating customers’ frustrations with the process (“co-production intensity”) by (1) enhancing the perceived value of the process and (2) reducing the perceived effort and time required in the process.   Method The study authors asked 803 self-assembly furniture customers to fill in two Web-based surveys. Customers were assigned to experimental and control groups. Participants in the control group were not exposed to any posters, while participants in the experimental group were exposed to one of the two types of company advertising poster messaging: Value-enhancing communication strategy…
Source: Marketing Experiments
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