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Consumer cooperatives: uncovering the value potential of customer ownership

Abstract

The consumer cooperative enterprise is becoming an increasingly noteworthy company form. Various forms of sharing economy and recent initiatives in collaborative consumption further amplify the relevance of a company form wherein the members have a dual role, acting both as owners and as customers. Today, cooperatives that are based on customer ownership can be found in banking, insurance, and retailing, where they account for about a trillion US dollars in annual revenue. Notwithstanding the relevance of cooperatives and their unique characteristics, which are partly contradictory within the framework of investor-owned firms, this company form and customer ownership itself have remained under-explored in consumer marketing research. Customer ownership may hold major implications for how customers ultimately perceive value, which, in turn, influences the very foundations for companies’ competitiveness: customer satisfaction, repurchase intention, and recommendation. Consequently, the purpose of this conceptual study is to uncover the value potential of customer ownership. As a result, a conceptual framework that addresses the value potential of customer ownership is proposed. In addition, the work identifies what kind of value customers can perceive through customer ownership and how that value can be defined and created in consumer cooperatives. The paper concludes with a discussion of both theoretical and managerial implications emerging from the value potential of customer ownership.

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The authors would like to thank the editor and the reviewers for their insightful comments, which were valuable in developing the paper.

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Talonen, A., Jussila, I., Saarijärvi, H. et al. Consumer cooperatives: uncovering the value potential of customer ownership. AMS Rev 6, 142–156 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13162-016-0083-2

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Keywords

  • Consumer cooperatives
  • Co-operatives
  • Customer value
  • Empowerment