Customer experiences of the future: Digitalisation of services in physical meeting places as a way to create added value for both companies and customers

Erik Wästlund, Associate Professor, Karlstad University

Digitalisation for boosting physical locations
The death of city-centre retail has been the subject of discussion in recent years – out-of-town retail areas and online shopping are taking over. But there is a desire to make physical meeting places more attractive places to visit and one way to do this is through digitalisation.

“We are focusing on value-additive digitalisation in order to boost physical meeting places in the future in a way that encourages both the retail and tourism industries”, says Erik Wästlund, docent in psychology and project manager, Karlstad University.

Through the two focus areas customer and concept, the research group will be studying how new digital services can encourage customer experiences, lead to altered consumer behaviours in the different physical environments and, in the long run, lead to positive results for the retail and tourism industries in general.

In order to face up to the competition from online shopping and out-of-town retail, centrally located retailers and the tourism industry have drawn up strategies for creating new customer experiences and thus attracting more visitors to the physical locations of city centre retail. Technological development has made it possible for the physical shops to compete by offering digital services.

“We want to look more closely at how these services affect customers’ experiences and how this in turn affects the profitability of the retail and tourism industries” says Erik.

Answers concerning digital services
This project is important because there are no clear-cut answers to the question of how digital services affect customers’ experiences of various physical meeting places.

“The results will allow us to give companies better data on which to base their decisions concerning how best to use digital services”, says Erik. “Investing in, for example, an app costs time and money and it is therefore important to know what works.”

The research group will be using focus group interviews, workshops, experiments and questionnaires with representatives of both the retail and tourism industries in order to produce data for analyses and results. Some of the new digital services that are generated will be tested experimentally through a partnership with the app development company Infid.

Aim
The aim of the project is to investigate the areas where digitalisation can be of use, its opportunities and development potential, with a focus on value creation for both companies and individual consumers.

Collaborators
Pernille K. Andersson, senior lecturer, Karlstad University
Tobias Otterbring, senior lecturer, Karlstad University

Partners
Centrum Karlstad Utveckling, Visit Karlstad Member and Karlstad Handel

The research programme Framtidens Fysiska Mötesplats is a partnership between the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council and BFUF.

Publications from the project

Title Year Image
En perfekt plats 2020
Framtidens fysiska mötesplats – Ett digitaliserat värdelandskap, slutrapport 2 2020
Framtidens fysiska mötesplats – Ett digitaliserat värdelandskap, slutrapport 1 2020

Erik Wästlund

Project Manager

Pernille K. Andersson

Member

Tobias Otterbring

Member

Project facts

Project:
Customer experiences of the future: Digitalisation of services in physical meeting places as a way to create added value for both companies and customers
Research organization:
Karlstad University
Project Manager:
Erik Wästlund
Members:
Pernille K. Andersson, Tobias Otterbring
Period:
2017 – 2019
Amount:
SEK 3,961,000