Today, the physical â€˜bricks-and-mortarâ€™ retailing industry across the world is facing several challenges, a situation referred to by some analysts as the â€˜retail apocalypseâ€™ (Thompson, 2017). The most prominent threat emanates from the online retailers; specifically from major e-commerce players such as Amazon and JD.com, who are growing at an unprecedently fast pace. In their quest to achieve customer acquisition and retail dominance, these online retailers are disrupting the traditional business models and driving transformative changes in the retail industry. The most notable example of these retail disruptors is Amazon. Faced with a decreased likelihood of survival due to the continuous innovation of conglomerate e-commerce platforms, bricks-and-mortar retailers are urged to profoundly change their way of doing business.
Founded in 2007 at Massy, in the Parisian region of France, ZÃ´dio is a retailer specialising in home accessories and furnishings, decoration, creativity, and hobby. Since its relatively recent entrance, ZÃ´dio has already acquired a large share of the market with its differentiation strategy. The company belongs to the Adeo Groupe, which includes other retail brands such as Leroy-Merlin, Weldom, Bricocenter, Aki and Bricoman, Kbane, Delamaison.fr, and Dom Pro. The group is the third in volume, worldwide, in selling goods for DIY (Do it yourself) and decoration and had a turnover of EUR 23.1 billion in 2018 (Adeo Groupe, 2019). According to recent figures, the Adeo Groupe is the leading player in the European DIY market, serving 452 million customers through its 800 points of sale (Adeo Groupe, 2019).
In 2018, the ZÃ´dio network included 22 subsidiaries in France and two stores in Italy and employed more than 1,184 people, with the aim to expand and tailor its concept stores to the Spanish market in the near future (Adeo Groupe, 2019). ZÃ´dio is continuing to expand its distribution channels and has now extended the format to Brazil, which saw the opening of its first ZÃ´dio outlet in SÃ£o Paulo in December 2018. The stores, located in France, Italy, and now Brazil, make up a gross leasable area ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 mÂ² per store, offering products for home equipment, accessories, and decoration.
The stores are organised around eight main creative themes: â€˜I cookâ€™, â€˜I entertainâ€™, â€˜I decorateâ€™, â€˜I createâ€™, â€˜I organiseâ€™, â€˜I cleanâ€™, â€˜I feel goodâ€™, and â€˜I pamper my childrenâ€™. The groupâ€™s concept focuses on providing a complete range of on-trend home accessories under one roof, and the concept includes helping customers to create their individual interior design. The company constantly renews product offerings to help people accent and style their home to suit their unique personality and lifestyle, currently offering more than 30,000 products to fit out, accessorise, and decorate the home (Adeo Groupe, 2019) â€“ estimated to be twice the offering of its competitor, IKEA. In addition to selling quality products for home decoration, ZÃ´dio aims to create a unique experience for its customers.
Consumer co-creation refers to â€˜a collaborative new product development (NPD) activity in which consumers actively contribute and select various elements of a new product offeringâ€™ (Oâ€™Hern & Rindfleisch, 2009, p. 4). The concept of co-creation entails high-quality interactions that enable an individual customer to co-create personalized and unique experiences with the company (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). There are two major dimensions of the value co-creation concept: co-production and value-in-use (Ranjan & Read, 2016). Co-production involves customers in the product and/or service design process, performing either a facilitator or an active role through the sharing of knowledge or information with the firm (Vargo & Lusch, 2008). Value-in-use extends beyond the co-production stage to the consumption stage: customers, as consumers, assess and determine the value of goods and services (Vargo & Lusch, 2008). In order to compete in a well-established and competitive market, ZÃ´dio has managed to engage customers in both dimensions of value co-creation, following a broader strategy of differentiation. ZÃ´dioâ€™s differentiation strategy is defined as a generic strategy that involves the creation of a significantly differentiated offering, for which the company charges a premium (Porter, 1980). ZÃ´dio aims to create a unique and memorable customer experience and views its customers as collaborators in the creation of value and assessors of the value produced, using both online (i.e., social media platforms) and offline channels (i.e., in-store).
The value co-creation strategy that ZÃ´dio has implemented throughout its business operations intersects with various stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, local craftsmen, freelancers, etc.). The companyâ€™s efforts to co-create value with customers focuses on developing different ways to create multiple interactions with them and design unique experiences to engage customers throughout the process, so creating the feeling of there being a ZÃ´dio community. Engagement with an online brand community is known to influence customer brand loyalty and equity (Kim & Lee, 2017). ZÃ´dioâ€™s marketing director, in an interview, emphasised that the companyâ€™s main goal consists of accompanying customers in all moments of their life, so to become a reference point for customersâ€™ daily routines (BFM, 2018).
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