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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2016
Thesis number: 14752
Optimizing Customer Experience in Omnichannel Retail - Case: K-Rauta Hardware Store
Author: Penttilä, Niklas
Title: Optimizing Customer Experience in Omnichannel Retail - Case: K-Rauta Hardware Store
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: palvelut; vähittäiskauppa; rautatarvikkeet; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; shoppailu; prosessit
Pages: 72
Key terms: omnichannel retail; multichannel retail; customer experience management; hardware retail; customer purchasing process
This research studied how customer experience could be optimized in an age of omnichannel retailing when customers are looking for an integrated and seamless shopping experience. The research divided the customer purchasing process into three specific stages: search, purchase and aftersales and aimed to discover what omnichannel strategies best fit into each of the three stages. The study focused on hardware retail, as customers and sales clerks of K-Rauta retail chain were interviewed as part of a case study. The research aimed to understand what specific omnichannel strategy K-Rauta should pursue and what the special characteristics of hardware retail and its customers are in an omnichannel retailing context.

A literature review on previous research was conducted to understand consumer behaviour and what different elements affect the consumer's channel choices during his purchasing process and also how multichannel and omnichannel retailing are different and what the best practices for omnichannel retailing are. The literature review was then organized as a framework which combined the customer purchasing process and omnichannel retailing. This was followed by description of the methodology, explanation and background of the case company and analysis of the customer and sales clerk interviews.

The results of this research support previous studies and discover a very distinct omnichannel customer group at K-Rauta, who switch between channels during their purchasing process and are open about using online channels during all of the three stages. For this group channel integration is the most important element during all of the stages and the importance of specific best practices such as apps with GPS capabilities, click and pick delivery options and personalized customer service and loyalty programs are also emphasized.

An important managerial implication and also a difference from previous research was that in a hardware retail setting making the shopping experiential does not have a big importance to the customers. The importance of making shopping experiential was emphasized in prior research on omnichannel retailing. For hardware retail customers, however, the efficiency and convenience of the shopping process is of greater importance.

This study does not address organizational and technical capabilities that are needed to pursue a successful omnichannel retailing strategy and that would be an interesting topic for future research.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.