Creating customer value in commercial experiences
Abstract: There is a type of business offering gaining much attention, both in the media and in financial figures, which provides the customer with something extra, something to be remembered. This offering is a commercial experience. It is claimed that commercial experiences are different from traditional industry and mass-production and even separated from goods and services. The possibility of creating something extraordinary in order to gain profit is of increasing interest in today’s business world. Consumers are seeking for experiences to reach a higher level of personal growth, an experience that create personal identity and lead to long-lasting memories. This is something an increasing amount of consumers are willing to pay money for - the commercial experience market.The purpose of this thesis is to contribute knowledge about and a deeper understanding of commercial experiences, both in general and especially with regard to how customer value is created. The focus of the research was also to strengthen and support organizations that offer commercial experiences. In order to fulfill the purpose, two case studies were conducted with different focal points. The first aimed to find best practice and explore excellent ways of working when providing commercial experiences. The second study aimed to identify the needs for improvement to strengthen organizations offering commercial experiences.According to my findings, there seems to be several distinctions between commercial experiences and goods and services. These include; the level of price, the time spent by the customer, the customer affect as strongly emotional and maybe most importantly, the finding that commercial experiences create a higher level of customer value than goods and services. All this proves that the commercial experience is to be considered an offering on its own, a refined customer offer of higher value. Since commercial experiences are said to engage customers in an inherently memorable way, reaching a higher level of customer value than goods and services, is seen as a critical factor. Understanding what the customer really wants, needs and what builds customer value when offering commercial experiences then become particularly important as drivers of success. When studying a particular organization for best practice, several similarities between providing commercial experiences and working according to the core values of TQM were found and established as a factor of business excellence. Further when it comes to providing commercial experiences storytelling, theming and a creative environment stood out as additional factors of business excellence. Moreover, selecting the right co-workers based on their values rather than merely their skills and academic qualifications was seen as an important factor of success. The co-worker is often the co-creator of the experience together with the customer and therefore has an important part to play in the organization. Creating a corporate culture with co-workers sharing the values is seen as essential in order to run a successful business. It appears that any type of organization can provide an experience for the customer, the key is adding on the extra value to reach the level of attractive quality. The commercial experience is described as deeply affecting both the feelings and senses of the customer, resulting in new memories; it is a memorable event the customer is willing to pay for. The commercial experience contains elements of engagement, personal relevance, novelty, surprise and learning and is not limited to certain types of businesses. The fact that this is an area of increasing business interest but as yet a poorly explored one indicates that there is a need to develop improved ways of working, tools and methods, tailor-made for providing commercial experiences. Improved tools for identifying customer expectations and measuring customer satisfaction are clearly needed, especially since this is a growing industry that cannot be ignored. Welcome to further explore the experience economy where new memories are so highly valued that people are prepared to pay for them!
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