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Enhancing Customer Value: Click-and-Mortar E-Commerce

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Question: 1. Begin your discussion by defining the concept of value for the customer. 2. Prepare a literature review, discussing the concept of value as it relates to other concepts including quality, cost, customer service and logistics lead time.   Answer: Introduction With the world undergoing globalization the global market place has become a small place. With the time passing by and new kind of technologies have come into the market the market has become highly competitive. In this scenario some of the companies have focused on emphasizing on the marketing aspect, some have focused on innovation and some companies have given paramount importance on developing customer satisfaction and creating value for the customers. Creating value for the customers have helped a lot of companies in this highly competitive market to effectively develop their market position since they have been able provide exactly what the consumers want from them (Cheng & Chen, 2009). Value creation is an old concept and there are many traditional companies who still focus on value creation for the consumers in order to grab market shares. It could be said that most of the companies who focus on creating value for the company have been able to make it big in the international market. The companies like Wal-Mart, Marks and Spencer, Tesco Plc, Woolworths Ltd, BHP Billiton all have been very successful and their main focus has always been providing the best solution for the customers and this has helped them to understand the needs and wants of the consumers which have helped them to provide the best to the consumers (Hu et al., 2009). They have been able to enhance customer value and have got fair returns for their effective implementation. In the 21st century survival means winning the hearts of the consumers and creating value which have been done very well by companies mentioned above. Hence it could be said that the central task for the managers is to create and provide value for the stakeholders especially the consumers since they provide the much needed advantage to work in a highly competitive market (Yi & Gong, 2013). It is important to mention that value creation is an old concept but enhancing value for the customers is a contemporary concept which is used by many companies nowadays and this is where concepts like operation management, cost, supply chain all come into the picture and hence it could be said that these aspects are directly related to the concept of value as well as enhancing value creation for the customers. Over the years there have been number of researches on customer buying behavior which has indicated that customers have high consideration for value and the company which could create and enhance value for the customers are likely to get better feedback than the other concerns emphasizing on other aspects (Patrício et al., 2011). Hence it becomes extremely important to understand as well as comprehend the role of components like quality, cost, and customer service and supply chain in enhancing customer value which will help to have clean insight on the concept of value creation and will help to address the objectives of the study successfully. The study will also take an opportunity to discuss the statement put forward by Christopher (2011) about the enhancing customer value through time and place utility of a product which would help to justify the study done successfully (Lai et al., 2009). Woolworths Ltd an Australian company is highly concerned about enhancing customer value and has been working successfully in the Australian market for a long time so this company is used as the case study to address the objectives.   Concept of value for the customer Value creation as  discussed above is an old concept during the initial age of the market businessmen have concentrated on providing the best possible service to the consumers which will create value for the customers and naturally will increase the sales of the business and even in this contemporary age organizations focus on creating customer value. Many bigger multinational organizations have made creation of customer value their mission statement in order to stick to one path and not to get deviated from their focus. The UK retail Giant Tesco Plc has their vision to be the best in their market through customer satisfaction and the same goes with the Australian retail giant Coles and Woolworths Ltd (Nasution et al., 2011). These companies have taken initiatives to make sure that they are able to provide and create value for the customers. It could be said that there is a huge interest regarding creation and enhancement of value for the customers among the companies working in the present market. Since there is an increased interest among the management professionals in order to understand the concept of value creation for consumers many research scholars and professionals have taken up the initiative to decipher the exact meaning of value as a concept (Chang et al., 2009). Even though the rivals in the Australian market Coles have been effective but Woolworths have been consistent with their value creation for the consumers. The emphasize highly on operations especially the customer service part, fixes their prices in a very strategic manner as well as tries to implement their options available regarding offering different products to the consumers effectively. As per the classical theory of management value is something which would be found in almost anything and everything. It could be found in the Chocolate Cappuccino bought from Starbucks outlet or in that 99cent iPhone gaming app purchased from the play store. Hence it could be said that the concept of value is different for different people but customer value could be defined as the value that one individual places on a particular product or service that is offered to them at a given time. The customer value is weighted by measuring the relative value of two similar products given to them at a time and they will always prefer the item with the highest value (Han & Ryu, 2009). For instance if one consumer is offered an iPhone and a Windows Phone and is told that both of them have the same specifications and features he might take any one of them and the one he takes is the one he considers having the highest value. Hence it could be said that customer value depends on the perspectives showed by individuals. Hence often value  creation becomes extremely tough for the companies especially in the retail market and  this is why Woolworths use different tools to understand the needs and wants of the consumers in order to be effective for the set or the segment of customers it chooses (Flint et al., 2011). In the recent past the Woolworths have not only focused on creating value but they have also focused on enhancing that value for the customers which mainly helps to develop a strong market base for the customers and also helps to create consumer loyalty. The key concepts that have helped to create and enhance customer value for Woolworths are effective customer service, quality of products and services, costs of the products and services, product mix and also effective supply chain of the organization (Hsin Chang & Wang, 2011).   Value and its key components In the world of sales importance of customer value has unmatchable importance and hence its creation stands to be an arduous task. It could be said that even though most of the companies try all sorts of strategies to create customer value some succeed and some sink without a trace. So, it becomes extremely important not only to understand the components of value but it is also important to understand the relevant components of value which help a company to create customer value and also help to enhance it. What helps to create value for the customers? Building a comprehensive list of aspects is important (Saha & Theigei, 2009). But apparently to see, it could be said that with value creation aspects like quality, customer service, price, and logistics lead time are directly related. It is important to mention that these above mentioned aspects are highly relevant to value enhancement for the customers as the customers see value in a quality product, when they are getting it at an affordable price, the customer service of the organisation satisfies the customers and it is also easily accessible then only the customer becomes ready to buy it and hence the it could be understood that the company has been able to create value for the customers (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2011). It could be said through effective value creation the business could retain consumers as well as it can become sustainable for a longer period of time.                          Fig 1: Dimensions of value Creation (Source: Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2011) Quality: Quality of products is one of the key aspects which help a company to create value for the consumers. It is important to mention that most of the bigger companies in the world tend to invest highly on market research which helps them to understand the needs and wants of the consumers and also to understand the kind of product and their quality the competitors are selling and this helps organizations to make better products. It is a common mindset of the consumers to take better quality product (Ryu et al., 2012). Quality of a product is defined with its performance, features, reliability, durability, aesthetics and perceived quality. Woolworths tries to provide consumers that sort products which fulfill all the above attributes of quality. They will never compromise on quality and this is almost similar for every consumer in the world and hence it could be said that quality is one product which helps consumers to differentiate products and what they feel has more value in regards to quality will choose that product which makes it very clear that quality is one of the key components which helps to enhance value for the consumers. Quality has been a key aspect for Woolworths over the years and it makes sure that the consumers get effective quality foods and groceries. It also ensures that the overall packaging is perfect and ethical as well which helps to enhance customer value for the company (Adelaar et al., 2004). Cost: Cost is another important attribute. It is a known dictum that “consumers are the boss” and yes since every company needs consumers to sustain they have to frame their prices accordingly which means keeping the price within the budget of the consumers. For instance there are various kinds of toothbrushes and in different price range consumers will tend to go for the lower or medium prices toothbrushes as all kinds of toothbrushes do the same thing and hence here lower pric
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