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Competing for the private sector: shedding light on Ziut’s possibilities

Slot, H.R. (2013) Competing for the private sector: shedding light on Ziut’s possibilities.

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Abstract:This research investigates the influence of customer experience on the purchasing process, the information search process and the used decision criteria when selecting a vendor in the private sector of the lighting industry. The main research question in this research is “What is the influence of customer experience with Ziut on the purchasing process, the information search and the used vendor selection criteria?” To answer this question, a survey was held amongst current and potential customers of Ziut, a vendor in the lighting industry. The participants of this research were then divided into three groups, those who are currently a customer of Ziut, those having experience with Ziut but are currently not a customer and those who do not have any experience with Ziut and were not aware of its existence before this research. As vendors try to compete for customers it is a goal to optimize marketing efforts as to ensure a decent spot in the minds of the potential buyer. To better understand what stages the potential customer goes through in the private sector of the lighting industry, this research looks at the eleven stages of the purchasing process. It shows how a potential customers goes from unawareness of his need towards becoming a loyal customer. One of the first steps in this process is finding information about possible solutions and vendors who are able to provide these solutions. This research tried to identify whether there is a difference in how (potential) customers obtain their information. For this end, questions were added to the survey as to which media are used most when searching for information and which type of information (subjects) are most interesting to these (potential) customers. One of the last stages of the purchasing process is making the final decision based on the found information and preferences in terms of selection criteria. This research also tried to uncover which selection criteria are the most important in this decision by using the list of selection criteria of Dickson (1966) and adding an element based on the experience of managers working in the field. The results of the survey were analysed using a one way ANOVA test and an independent samples t-test. The one way ANOVA test showed that there are only a few differences between the three groups, indicating that the influence of customer experience is limited. The only differences that were found showed that e-letters is significantly more used by current customers than potential customers both with and without experience and that social media is generally more used as the amount of experience increases. It also showed that current customers take significantly more time to find their information. They also take more time for the entire purchasing process and more often have contact with their vendor, but this result is not significant. In general it also showed that internet, specifically search engines and the website of the vendor, is the primary source of information for most (potential) customers and that they also value brochures an telephonic contact. Price, quality and warranties & claim policies are the key aspects in making a decision which vendor to buy products from. Furthermore this research showed that there is little difference in the purchasing process, the information search and selection criteria among customers from different branches and that the position of the contact person in the client firm is not relevant in this process. Finally it showed that the account managers of Ziut have a proper view of the market. It can be concluded from this research that customer experience has little influence on the purchasing process in general, the search process or the selection criteria used in selecting a vendor. There is no empirical evidence found for differentiation between these groups in marketing efforts. As search engines, the website of the vendor, brochures and telephonic contact are the primary sources of information, these should be focused and contain sound information. It is also found that price is the most important factor in vendor selection and that Ziut is currently not competitive in that area, which perhaps should be reconsidered in the light of this research. The scientific implications of this research lie mainly in the added case to the current literature and the extension of the list of vendor selection criteria created by Dickson (1966) by (environmental) Durability and MVO. This new criteria proved to be rather important,scoring higher than several criteria that are mentioned by Dickson (1966).
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63423
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