New Research on Hard Benefits of Online Customer Communities


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According to a 2011 survey, almost 50% of the top 100 global brands host some kind of network or community but are there any indications that these investments are paying off? Strategy and Business Magazine have just published an article which suggests the answer is “YES”.

S + B reviewed a research paper published by The Ross School of Business in January 2012 which tracked the impact of company community membership on the amount of money members spent on the firm’s products and conclude:

“Although based only on a single case study, the results appear to be a significant affirmation of the economic value of these networks: The authors found that revenue from members increased by an average of 19 percent after they joined, a result of closer ties with other customers and more engagement with the company”.

The research authors go on to say “We find that social dollars represent about 19% of revenue once customers join the online community. These social dollars arise primarily via more frequent orders with the firm, rather than increased shopping basket sizes.”

This is just one type of online community and a one-dimensional perspective on its benefits but nevertheless it is very encouraging to see that there are real hard benefits to be found beyond all the hype.

Read A Big Payoff from Online Company Communities

Read the full Research Paper: Social Dollars: The Economic Impact of Customer Participation in a Firm-Sponsored Online Community

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ken Thompson
Ken Thompson specialises in four key business areas: 1. Creating High Performing Teams in enterprises including Virtual and Mobile Teams, 2. Establishing effective Collaborative Business Networks, 3. Development of graphical on-line interactive Business Dashboards and 4. What-if Simulators for organisations to support Performance Improvement, Strategy Development and Executive Team Development.


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