Nowadays, the efficient delivery of goods is regarded by customers as a significant value. One of the recent studies on “UK consumer attitudes towards order fulfillment in online shopping” with “a sample of 2000 UK consumers” revealed that “87 percent of respondents would switch to another supplier if they experienced delivery problems twice or more” (Galpin para. 2). It means that delivery represents a vital component of the overall purchasing or service reception experience and contributes to the development of customer loyalty (Bobalca 241). The provision of a custom delivery service can help to resolve this problem for consumers and, therefore, the iRunning project may be regarded as promising.
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Time efficiency is the primary advantage associated with online delivery service (Roberts and Zahay 34). However, the cons of online delivery may include expensive delivery charges, risks of receiving a wrong order, delays, and so on (“Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Food Delivery” para. 3). iRunning will aim to minimize the mentioned risks and provide service at cheaper rates.
Effective pricing is one of the ways to approach targeted customer groups more efficiently and draw their attention to the service. Based on this, the project will employ the customer value-based pricing strategy. It can be defined as “the method of setting a price by which a company calculates and tries to earn the differentiated worth of its product for a particular customer segment when compared to its competitor” (Dholakia para. 1). Generally speaking, “effective, customer value-based pricing involves understanding how much value consumers place on the benefits they receive from the product. Then, we have to set a price that captures this value.” (“Customer Value-Based Pricing” para. 1). It means that iRunning will render service at a very competitive price based on the analysis of other companies’ offers in the given area. Since iRunning implies a community-based voluntary and individually performed delivery without the involvement of intermediary agents such as professional couriers, etc., it is characterized by cost-efficiency for the owners, and the service’s price thus can be equal to its actual value.
iRunning is intended to be an online network. In general, social networks can be defined as “communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others” or “a map of relationships between individuals” (Sharp 3-4). As Arca states, “Social Media Marketing is marketing that focuses on people, not products…The products can be presented by the company with as many qualitative features and promotional tools as possible, but what matters is the comments and appreciations left by the customers” (14). It means that as any online network, iRunning will be associated with a decreased level of control over marketing content. However, it will be possible to manage this risk by adding the following features:
“Administrative control Allows network owner to monitor and manage all content uploaded by members, and gives the ability to delete the material deemed offensive or otherwise out of sync with the overall theme of the network…
Content management. Allows the administrator to keep the network secure and safe – includes spam (or profanity) filters, COPPA-compliant features, and user moderation” (Sharp 10).
By adding the given features, it will be possible to reduce the risks of the website misuse and ensure positive customer experiences. Safety is one of the major attributes of service excellence. Thus, it is important to pay attention to content and users’ activity monitoring and control.
Service customization is another customer value provided by iRunning. It is observed that product and service customization is characterized by a high level of customer involvement and, customers/users’ participation in the process of product/service creation increase the brands’ attractiveness (Margalit para. 2).
“The ability to influence the shape of an object automatically generates emotional attachment. The final design of a product reflects the customer’s taste; the self-selection of features, color, shape, etc. all work to provide a glimpse of the customer’s inner world. The opportunity to take part in a process and influence the result promotes emotional attachment that leads to psychological ownership, the feeling that something is “mine” even without legal ownership” (Margalit para. 3).
The major advantage of customer/user engagement in the process of service/product creation is “the elimination of, or at least the reduction of, several risks and increases the odds of market success” (“Customer-Driven Product Development” para. 3). The involvement of customers into the process of product development and customer-driven marketing strategies designed according to customer interests aim to improve the quality of service and increase product awareness (Kotler et al. 331). Moreover, constant communication with potential consumers may contribute to customer satisfaction through the integration of additional values into a brand’s or product’s image (Kotler et al. 343).
Another important customer value-added to iRunning service will be the orientation towards the environment-friendly operation. In marketing, consideration of health and environment concerns “adds to the good perception of the product in terms of credibility, quality, and purchase intent” and, in this way, helps to increase profits, customer loyalty, and competitiveness (Binninger 13). The integration of “green” principles in business operations may have long-term positive impacts on organizational performance, consumer health and perceptions, and environment. Therefore, it may be highly beneficial to balance financial and environmental concerns in a way that will allow supporting business sustainability and meet consumers’ needs and interests.
“Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Food Delivery.” Food Reviews, Bar Reviews, Restaurant Reviews, 2014, Web.
Arca, Celine. “Social Media Marketing Benefits for Businesses: Why and How Should Every Business Create and Develop Its Social Media Sites?.” Forskningsportal, 2012, Web.
Binninger, Anne-Sophie. “Perception of naturalness of food packaging and its role in consumer product evaluation”. Journal of Food Products Marketing, 2015, pp. 1-17. Taylor & Francis Online, Web.
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Bobalca, Claudia. “The Loyal Customers’ Perception Regarding the Online Buying Process.” CES Working Papers, vo. 7, no. 2, 2015, pp. 241-255. Research Library, Web.
“Customer Value-Based Pricing – Pricing Based on Customer Value.” Marketing-Insider, Web.
“Customer-Driven Product Development: A Report from the Trenches.” Selleo. 2014, Web.
Dholakia, Utpal. “A Quick Guide to Value-Based Pricing.” Harvard Business Review. 2016, Web.
Galpin, Paul. “The Importance of High Delivery Standards.” Small Business. 2013, Web.
Kotler, Philip, Gary Armstrong, Valerie Trifts, and Peggy Cunningham. Principles Of Marketing, 9th Canadian Edition. Pearson, 2013.
Margalit, Liraz. “The Psychology of Online Customization.” Techcrunch. 2014, Web.
Roberts, Mary Lou, and Debra L. Zahay. Internet Marketing: Integrating Online and Offline Strategies. Cengage Learning, 2013.
Sharp, Julien. Design and Launch an Online Social Networking Business in a Week. Entrepreneur Media, 2009.