This case study aims to understand how Peapod can improve its services by conducting an ethnographic study. The study aims to collect data to understand what the customers feel and their relationship with Peapod. It also seeks to understand how the relationship has changed over time, to design relationship management strategies for Peapod. For this, they analyzed the relationship between consumers and Peapod. These consumers are residents of from Boston and belong to different demographics. Every household was interviewed 4 times over a period of 18 months. The personas of the ethnographic study are Beatrice, Michelle, and Russell.
Susan Fournier and Jill Avery
Harvard Business Review (314142-PDF-ENG)
June 19, 2014
Case questions answered:
- Provide a detailed synopsis of the case.
- Provide the case dilemma.
- What initial meanings do Beatrice, Russell, and Michelle associate with grocery shopping? How does Peapod’s e-commerce service accommodate and/or change those meanings?
- Are there any qualities, characteristics, or life projects that render individuals more or less likely to institute a relationship with Peapod? If so, how can Peapod leverage that in its brand positioning?
- What types of relationships do Beatrice, Russell, and Michelle respectively have with Peapod? What are the rules governing these relationships? Where do these rules come from?
- What determines the evolving character of consumers’ relationships with the Peapod service, their deepening or weakening over time?
- Think about the specific difficulties experienced by Beatrice, Russell, and Michelle over the course of their relationships with Peapod. Do such “interrupts” fall into different types or categories? How do these consumers respond to Peapod’s transgressions? Do relationship transgressions necessarily lead to relationship termination? When do they and when do they not?
- Offer a prediction regarding Beatrice’s reaction to Peapod’s service recovery attempt.
- What specific marketing strategies might Peapod’s leadership employ to strengthen bonds with Russell and Michelle?
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Relating to Peapod Case Answers
A.) Introduction & Case Synopsis
The Peapod software offers features for its customers. It allows customers to sort and locate products by brand name, price, and size. People can order anytime and even through multiple sessions.
It features a product-by-product or conceptual grouping basis, and people can add comments and special requests. It also allows any person to select weekly specials, redeem coupons, and choose between pick-up orders or home delivery.
PROBLEMS FACED IN THE EARLY STAGE
Most problems faced when using the Peapod software are 15-20% out of most products’ stock rate, the number of available products decreased – from 20,000 to 5,000, delivery delays, increase in the cost of distribution, and increase in the price of items.
Customers could not add comments or call the helpline number, and the store pick-up option was eliminated.
OPERATIONS & LOGISTICS
For pick-up orders, Peapod employees aim to fulfill orders from the stores or warehouses. For its home delivery, full-time delivery employees load orders on trucks to achieve service excellence.
Peapod promises superior services, guaranteed delivery, and continuous improvement. The company employs trained personal shoppers and product specialists to choose and collect the orders.
It plans to activate a phone helpline for grievance redressal. It trains delivery employees as ambassadors of Peapod.
B.) Case Dilemma
This case study aims to understand how Peapod can improve its services by conducting an ethnographic study. The study aims to collect data to understand what the customers feel and their relationship with Peapod. It also seeks to understand how the relationship has changed over time to design relationship management strategies for Peapod.
For this, they analyzed the relationship between consumers and Peapod. These consumers are residents of Boston and belong to different demographics. Every household was interviewed 4 times over a period of 18 months.
The personas of the four early adopters are Beatrice, Michelle, and Russell.
- Age group: 50s
- Total family members: 3
- Community: Lower-middle-class suburban
- Occupation: Manager at a tutoring center while pursuing an undergraduate psychology degree
- Segment Type: Necessity Users (Shopping is enjoyment, but because of the kid, work, and studies, she prefers home delivery of groceries)
- Age group: Late 30s
- Total family member: 2
- Community: wealthy, suburban Boston
- Occupation: Former Advertising executive
- Segment Type: New Technologists (young, comfortable with the use of technology, stay-at-home mom so has a lot of time yet chooses to order groceries from the comfort of home.)
- Age: 50
- Total family member: 2
- Community: upper-income group
- Occupation: Proprietor of a tool-sharpening co.
- Segment Type: Time-Starved (badly wanted a grocery home-delivery service to save time & frustration caused because of the experience, can easily afford to pay because of dual-income)
C.) What initial meanings do Beatrice, Russell, and Michelle associate with grocery shopping? How does Peapod’s e-commerce service accommodate and/or change those meanings?
BEATRICE – INITIAL MEANING OF GROCERY
Beatrice had a very enjoyable meaning of grocery shopping as it refreshed her mind. She loved people and could interact with many at the supermarket. She liked touching and feeling grocery products.
She felt it was a luxury but a very sorted way of getting things delivered. It was costly yet comforting. She was ready not to meet people and share privacy if she got things delivered.
RUSSELL – INITIAL MEANING OF GROCERY
Russell hated grocery shopping. He hated noise and people around after his long, busy day. Grocery shopping was, in all, an unpleasant experience for him.
His liking for this service of Peapod was quite strong. He had always dreamt of such a service. He got saved from a chaotic supermarket and enjoyed ordering online.
MICHELLE – INITIAL MEANING OF GROCERY
Michelle had no time to waste on grocery shopping and felt it was a burden. Since she had a small baby, it was more difficult for children to touch the stuff, and she tended to miss the contents on the list.
Peapod’s service was a…
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