Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Innovation in Do-It-Yourself Retail: An Empirical Study on Generation X among Professional Craftsmen and Consumers

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Innovation in Do-It-Yourself Retail: An Empirical Study on Generation X among Professional Craftsmen and Consumers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Generating competitive advantage by proper differentiation of products and services is probably the greatest challenge for 21st Century firms. Product assortment changes, improvement of manufacturing recipes and product presentation, as well as ongoing innovation probably represent the best way that a company may choose to attract and impress customers, arouse their interest, make them respond favourably to the whole organization and its brands, recommend its products and services to others and return to the store. Innovation encompasses a wide range of facets and meanings, from mere re-thinking of an advertising slogan to substantial change in a product or identification of a new technical solution based on extensive research.

A high degree of interaction between the retail service provider and customer increases the latter's capacity to recognize innovation and novelty, which represents a strong motivating factor that drives demand. Supermarkets, specialty stores, discounters and other retailers that enable their own customers to be more innovative will be successful in the face of fierce market competition. Innovation, development of new products and technologies, together with, and for customers represent an important element that each company should include in its corporate culture. Following this course of action, a retailer will be able not only to better its position in the market, but also to create the prerequisites for sustainable development in a knowledge-based society.

DIY retailers need to innovate because competition has become increasingly fierce and customer interest in novelty has grown. Through innovation, these retailers not only attract customers by arousing their interest, but also make them return to the store, even if they are not looking for a particular product. Innovation and novelty offer the possibility of enjoying leisure time and fostering a spirit of search and adventure. Through innovation and the products supplied, the customer becomes the DIY retailer's equal partner (Streimikiene, 2014). This calls for a careful investigation into the purchasing and consumption behaviour of the target groups and profile of the average customer. A recent study (Ipsos Research, 2015) revealed that DIY retailers are concerned with promoting their own concept in a way that deep emotion is stirred towards well-known and new products.

The concern for expanding the knowledge about consumer behaviour changes in DIY retail is called for by the gap between rapidly advancing technological innovations (including those in DIY retail) and the limited approach to this issue in the literature. With this objective, the research sought to:

a) confirm Gen Xs' increased willingness, as compared to that of other generations, to get involved in finding the best innovative solutions compared with other markets (food market, consumer electronics, etc.), adapted to their needs and expectations;

b) identify the various forms adopted by the relationship between retailers and service providers (exchange of information and advice, co-participation in conceiving renovation, interior design, repairing, gardening projects, etc.);

c) identify how the concept of innovation in Romanian DIY retail is perceived by the four Gen X customer clusters.

To identify how Romanian young people perceive innovation in general, and innovation in DIY retail in particular, the authors implemented empirical exploratory research. The data were collected through the survey method using an online questionnaire. The respondents were young people, either single or couples, who were at the start of their family life cycle. These young people were seeking to set up their own household, equip an apartment or a bought, rented, or inherited house, and needed information about building materials and other DIY retail offers. Some owned gardens or holiday houses and were therefore interested in new DIY methods. …

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