Self-service Last Mile Delivery : E-consumer perspective on service renovation

Abstract: The continuous growth of e-retail in the B2C sector has been generating new recordsin revenues for several years. This has led to diversification of the marketinteractions and actors that are involved and impacted by the respective operationsand trends. To address the rising demands from the different actors involved and tohelp manage the increasing complexity of the retail sector, technological solutionsare increasingly being tested and implemented to promote self-service practices atdifferent stages of e-commerce last mile delivery. By granting the consumer the roleof service conductor, service providers (e.g., e-retailers, logistics operators, service network operators) pass on the responsibility for carrying out the service and forgenerating the consumer experience. Since in many cases self-service tools areimplemented anew or present a novel extension of an established service algorithm,the consumer response to them is vital, yet unpredictable in regard to the novelsolution and associated operations.This research follows a deductive design, where through the application ofquantitative and qualitative methodologies, knowledge is generated and presentedto answer the question: What is the consumer perspective on the novel self-servicetools in e-commerce’s last mile? The thesis is a compilation of four scientific journalpublications based on three studies: a consumer experience survey, a systematicliterature review that investigates customer value in self-service kiosks, and a self-service technology usability test with focus group interviews. The findings arepresented in the form of primary statistical analyses, models, a framework andresearch propositions.Evidence is provided regarding the mediating role of the last mile delivery in thecustomer’s e-commerce experience, thus providing supportive grounds for followup studies. The research concludes that the customer experience and value co-creation (in the example of self-service kiosks) are cyclical in nature and emergealong the stages of the customer experience. The research also initiates a mappingof the e-customer journey and sheds light on the consumer response to servicerenovation in e-commerce last mile delivery. Finally, by testing an instance of atechnology enabled self-service solution, the third study identifies the elements ofthe customer value, which can be classified into four types: functional, emotional,social, and financial. The value created is built upon various interrelated elementsthat can weigh positively or negatively in the value creation process.The findings from this research are primarily aimed at e-retailers, logistics serviceproviders, and service solution designers and managers. The findings also contributeto the practices of service management and design, customer experience andrelationship management, and logistics operations optimization.

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