Cross-customer immunization and rating of community members online is faster and easier compared to a physical store, where consumers only meet and communicate occasionally in person. The costs for renting or owning a physical store would be a lot higher than costs of an online store. Although the physical store has the advantages for consumers to try on the clothes before actually owning them and to meet other consumers interested in the same concept in person, the advantages for the online store still outweigh for the FCC.
Lastly, within the FCC the clothes shall be swapped among consumers with the exchange of a coal currency (LLC), following a real example (The Clothing Exchange 2013). Using money as an exchange currency might only be a temporary incentive for consumers to use the FCC. Members could use their financial revenues generated inside the FCC to buy articles outside the FCC. By using a LLC in the CE, consumers are staying within the community to swap clothes and experience a motivation for the usage of the online store. The LLC price is calculated based on type, brand and quality of the piece of clothing.
Lending and renting clothing seems not to be appropriate for the majority of articles exchanged clothes) as the risk of quality damage after bad usage seems too high. To reduce complexity, only one way of sharing – here swapping for LLC – will be used for both clothing and supplements. Swapping clothes directly on a one- by-one basis neither appears to be a good alternative as in this case two consumers each need a piece of clothing that pleases the other’s taste. Thus, the probability to exchange more clothes via swapping for a LLC is higher than via swapping on a one-by-one basis.
Besides advertisement revenues, they can gain money by charging a monthly membership fee that is due once nonusers want to communicate or swap. A transaction-based fee is considered as inappropriate, since it would penalize very active members with increasing usage on the FCC. 2 Consumption Rationales To outline and discuss possible rationales for the active usage of the FCC and to link them to the perspectives of consumer behavior discussed by ˜steelyard and Canteen (2000) first, the concept of Collaborative Consumption (C) will be briefly explained.
Second, possible rationales for using the FCC will be theoretically depicted and then linked to three existing perspectives of consumer behavior. To conclude, the 1 In the interest of brevity the masculine form is used to indicate both the female and the male consumer. Rationales linked to perspectives will be evaluated. Irene and Claire want to create the FCC based on the idea of C. C is a business model, that is used to grant a community of consumers access to goods or services by sharing rather than ownership.
This trend is enhanced further as newly developed technologies such as social media and the internet have spread globally (Walsh 201 1). 2. 1 Cognitive Perspective The Cognitive Perspective or the studies of Consumer Behavior describes nonusers as rational decision makers that evaluate different features of alternative products and goods according to personal preferences and logical reasoning. Consumers act like a computer driven by the brain’s wants. ˜steelyard and Canteen (2000, p. 1 5) describe this behavior as a consumer- driven adjustment towards equilibrium of a person’s preferences and the current situation in the given environment.
One of those models used to explain this rational evaluation of goods and services in the Cognitive Perspective is the Fishbone Model. Consumers form an attitude (A) towards a reduce based on an evaluation (Ii) of several attributes (I) and the belief (Bi) that a product possesses these attributes. A larger attitude towards a product increases the probability of buying the product (Fish been and Zen 1975). Formula 1: Fishbone Model In the case at hand, a consumer generally has the alternative to either buy new clothes or to swap clothes with other consumers for LLC.
Considered attributes where swapping clothes may have an advantage over the traditional way of buying clothes are price, sustainability, flexibility and utility, assuming these attributes are the ones valued by the consumer. After the financial crisis in 2008, the price of a product has become an increasingly important attribute for consumers. In the FCC, the costs for acquiring a product is composed by the price in LLC (determined as mentioned before; LLC is only available after oneself shared used clothes) plus the monthly membership fee divided by number of monthly transactions.
These acquisition costs for used clothes are assumed to be lower than the costs for new clothes, but the clothes will still have a good quality. Also, consumers do not have the sunk costs of buying clothes and using them only once or twice, UT can share them with the community for LLC. Thereby, the consumer can avoid the sunk costs and can profit again from the investment in clothes that he once made. Furthermore, he frees up additional storage in the closet (Walsh 201 1).
In addition to price, also the attribute sustainability plays an evident role in the consumer’s mind. By sharing used clothes further natural resources for producing new clothes will not be wasted. Older, used or not 3 wanted clothes of consumers will therefore mostly circulate within the CE, being used often and thereby save the environment (Walsh 2011). Moreover, yapping clothes increases flexibility, as the consumer can benefit from different styles on a weekly or monthly basis, once he does not like or need his own outfits anymore (.NET-Reputation. De 2013).
Additionally, the utility for the consumer rises while swapping something old and boring for something new and exciting (Batsman and Rogers 2010, p. 208). It is assumed that a) price, sustainability, flexibility and utility are the relevant attributes for determining the attitude towards the alternatives shopping or FCC, and b) the beliefs (Bi) stay constant for the two alternatives. It has been shown that nonusers will evaluate the attributes higher for FCC than for shopping. Under the given assumptions and the fact that AFC>Shopping, the probability that a rational consumer will choose FCC is higher.
As shown above with the cognitive rationales, explanations and the exemplary introduced Fishbone model, rationales for joining the FCC as a rational consumer have been explained from a Cognitive Perspective. 2. 2 Experiential Perspective The Experiential perspective or studies of Consumer Research describes emotional, spontaneous, tourist-like consumers that seek for new experiences driven in their action by what their heart desires. By trying out new products and services the consumer is exploring his self, discovers pleasures and earns memorable experiences (˜steelyard and Canteen 2000, p. 7). It is important that the consumer wants to be actively involved within the consumption process, because it stimulates “high levels of emotional intensity and experience” (Arnold and Price 1993, p. 25). Within this extraordinary experience of a consumer, experiential topics such as personal growth, joy, self-renewal and “communists” (interpersonal interactions), play an important role and lead the consumer to a new perception of his rounding’s (Arnold and Price 1993, p. 31).
Consumers interested in swapping clothes want to find an extraordinary experience for themselves and expect to find such an experience in the unusual procedure of swapping clothes. Especially for new but curious consumers within C, this might lead to a test of the FCC (Batsman and Rogers 201 0, p. 201). The FCC also provides a platform where consumers are able to build up the “communists” because they can connect to unknown members, chat and negotiate with each other, as well as rate or meet each other for their shared passion.
By signing up to be a member of the FCC and swapping loathes, consumers have the feeling of being part of a powerful group, giving them a unique experience. Even more important, the experience of swapping in the FCC makes consumers happier than purchasing clothes in a normal retail stores. The reason behind is that consumers tend to get used to what they own and can not truly value these belongings and old rituals, therefore seek for all new products and services to be happy again (Smith 2010).
Research confirmed that the experience of swapping gives consumers a better feeling, stating that consumers “get a spike of the pleasant 4 retransmitted extinction when they’re entrusted with another’s goods” (Walsh 201 1). Further, consumers want to experience the feeling of trust. Within the FCC a consumer needs to trust his counterpart that he will send the piece of cloth in time to the right address and in the right quality (ibid 2011) or they directly meet in person, which requires even more trust.
Summing this up, from an Experiential Perspective the new cloth swapping experience, the “communists” built and the happiness derived from swapping clothes are the main reasons to use the CE. 2. 3 Cultural and Social Perspective The Cultural and Social Perspective or the Consumption Studies describe consumers as tribe members, which are not only understood as individual consumers but are also as part Of a larger group. The relations between consumers play an important role within this approach (Coastguard and Canteen 2000, p. 18).
As emotional tribe members, consumers are seeking for culturally constituted symbols within the products or services, helping them to recognize those groups they feel related to (McCracken 1986, p. 71 ) and to distinguish themselves from those groups they feel distant to (Coffman and Kane 2004). Those groups are also referred to as reference groups (Kith Thomson 2013, p. 9). Another aspect is that extrinsically motivated consumers tend to present themselves to receive the desired feedback from other members within a social group (McCracken 1986, p. 5). For these consumers, their belongings and behavior influence the way in which they perceive themselves and want to be perceived by others, which represents an extension of their selves (Bell 1988, p. 1 39) Within the F-C a consumer has the possibility to be part Of a digital community by communicating and by sharing clothes and ideas online. Thereby, the consumer can satisfy his “social self” – his needs of connecting and belonging to an exclusive community and further engage himself actively within this community (Batsman and Rogers 2010, p. 200).
Consumers that are concerned with sustainability issues and fashion conscious within the FCC carry symbols for other persons and can thereby guide them in their search for the correct social group. Thus, for consumers that desire to be within a collaborative fashion community, FCC can act as a Contractual Reference Group (Kith Thomson 201 3, p. 9). Moreover, their desire o belong to the FCC could arise because a consumer’s friend is already a member: A consumer’s friend usually shares similar social and cultural values and can therefore act as a strong influence to follow (Batsman and Rogers 201 0, p. 02). A consumer could also join FCC, because he has a strong interest in sustainable living – he might even be interested in Greenback or other reference groups and dedicate himself to live sustainable. By sharing clothes the FCC is a platform for consumers save the environment which could be valued by such a consumer. A consumer expresses his identity by what he has and what he does: By rearing clothes that formerly belonged to somebody else, the consumer is experiencing self-extension, as the clothes have a history and may make him feel like somebody else. 2. Evaluation To derive managerial implications, it would not be appropriate to state that only one of the above mentioned perspectives should be targeted by Irene and Claire. It highly depends on the preferences and situations of the majority of the members, whether these have rather cognitive motives, if they want to make extraordinary experiences or if their reason is to belong to a social group. Still, it is important to o;sigh the perspectives against each there and to discuss if all or only single perspectives are appropriate to stimulate and engage the consumer to be as active as possible.
The Behavioral Perspective or the studies of Buyer Behavior has not been considered for this case at all, as here the consumer is driven by his instinctive needs. Although a consumer needs clothes to avoid freezing and participate in the society, the rationales for a consumer to be part in the FCC are not interpreted as a basic need. The remaining three perspectives are preferred to explain and understand the consumers’ behavior and motives. The Experiential perspective can be verified in motives such as the ‘connection and communication with others’ or the ‘happiness felt after sharing clothes in a community.
Though, under going the ‘extraordinary experience felt while joining FCC’ seems to be vague. Joining a collaborative community can not be compared to something like river rafting, as those activities are connected to a higher extend of stimulating danger and risk and probably do not occur frequently in a consumers life (Arnold and Price 1993). In contrast, it is easy to become an active cloth swapper, carries less sis and probably happens more frequently.