The value of the product for the customer
Name of the Company
In this study, we focused on iPhone 4, a product that is produced by Apple Inc. The product, a fourth-generation phone was first released into the market on June 27th, 2010. Apple Inc. is a multinational company that is involved mainly in the production of software, hardware, iPhones, iPads, and personal computers (Apple, 2010). The company was started on 1st April 1976 under the name Apple Computers but in 2007 it dropped the name computers to reflect the expansion it was facing through the introduction of the iPads, iPhone, and iPods.
Description of the Product
As mentioned earlier, iPhone 4 was released on June 27th, 2010. It is a gadget that can be used for communication and entertainment. It is the fourth generation phone to be released by Apple Inc. since 2007. The phone has a touch screen, aluminosilicate in a glass casing, light, a huge internal memory (16 or 32 GB), a strong signal, and long battery life (Apple, 2010). These features have made the phone to be widely used by people of all ages.
The phone has also started to be used in the business world through the numerous applications it has which makes transactions around the world to become easy. Companies have partnered up with Apple Inc. so that they can come up with applications for iPhone applications that support their operations.
Attributes of the Product
iPhone 4 has got a lot of attributes which makes it to be a user-friendly phone. It has a touch screen that gives it a unique look, unlike other phones. The phone is also super slim and light making it to be more portable. The battery can last for over ten hours and automatically charges once it has been connected to a computer. A 5-megapixel camera is installed on the phone which produces very clear images.
It has good internet connectivity and Wi-Fi connectivity enabling fast internet connections. With the phone one can store contacts, make calls, send and receive e-mails and SMS, record videos and take clear pictures, store and listen to music and many more other features. These are the attributes that make people love and use the phone (Apple, 2010).
Type of Research Undertaken
A qualitative approach was used to gather the data for the study. Interviews and observations were conducted. They formed the source of primary data for the study. The interviews and observations were conducted within the university. A sample of 150 individuals was used where 30 interviews were conducted per day. Interviews were conducted in the morning, at noon, and in the evening each interview consisting of 10 individuals. The interviews and observations were conducted during the first week of March 2011. A random sampling technique was used to avoid biases while conducting the interviews.
Large sample size was selected to ensure the information collected truly reflected on the entire population. Secondary data was obtained by conducting a literature review on the topic. The information gathered from the literature review gave an overview of the topic of study and assisted in the formulation of the interview questions and other methodological designs used in the study. The data that was obtained was analyzed by computer software known as SPSS 16 which produced a variance and regression analysis that interpreted the information to be much easier. ANOVA tests were also conducted.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of the research was to test consumer behavior and consumer satisfaction and the effects the product has on value chain management in the industry. In the research, we wanted to establish if consumer requirements and expectations are met, whether the firm concentrates on consumer values and if the consumers of the product are satisfied by services which the phone offers. These reasons were very useful tools in the construction of interview questions and the selection of other forms of methods that were used in the research to capture the relevant information.
Post Research Review
Although the research was successful, some factors acted as a drawback to the study. First of all the time which was set to conduct the study was not sufficient. The research was only conducted for six days straight at the beginning of the month. Due to these time constraints, most factors and consumer trends could not be captured. Secondly, the sample size was not large enough so that the collected results could be generalized to the entire public.
Thirdly, the study was conducted in the university and only people who owned iPhones were interviewed. The study hence seemed to have some element of biasness since these requirements were mostly met by the youths. The questions which were used to conduct the interviews were not carefully structured. They, therefore, had a leading element that affected the answer which the respondent would give. To avoid this in the future, leading questions should be avoided in the formulation of interview questions.
For accurate results therefore the research should be conducted again while considering these shortcomings. The research to be conducted should have enough time, diverse study sites, and large sample size and should consider individuals of all ages and backgrounds. To construct questions that will be precise and straight to the point, qualitative data has to be analyzed and interpreted first. This information will assist in the making of interview questions making it to become more powerful in the collection of quantitative data. The resulting interviews will therefore be precise, flexible, and be able to collect only the relevant data that is needed for the research study.
Conclusions Drawn from the Study
The research was successful since much of the information which was being tested gave out positive results. Most of these results showed almost the same trends as those of the studies which had been conducted earlier in the same field. From the results, it was evident that iPhone 4 met the expectations of the consumers while some of them went further ahead and said that it was more than what they had expected.
The fact that it was the most common smartphone on the campus also proved that the phone was widely accepted by many people in society both the young and the old. In some cases, respondents said that the phone other than offering entertainment and communication also assisted them in performing other tasks such as reading and searching for information on the internet, looking for directions, conducting transactions, and much more. All this has made the life of the people who use the phone to be much easier, unlike the time they did not have the phone. However further studies have to be conducted on this topic especially on consumer satisfaction and the effects of the product on value chain management.
The customer value understood and met by product provider
Consumer Requirements met by Apple Inc.
Apple Inc. has noticed the basic requirements of its consumers and that is why since its first appearance in 2007, the iPhone has undergone a lot of modifications to meet the consumer requirements (Apple, 2010). The iPhone 4 is the latest in the market which was manufactured to meet the ever-increasing demands of iPhones in the world. To know what their consumers need, Apple inc. uses various strategies to gather this critical information.
The company normally conducts interviews and surveys to know what their consumers need, in what manner they want it, and when they want it. The company, through its outreach programs, comes up with ways of utilizing ideas and innovations which their customers have come up with (Slivka, 2010). In other instances, the company has collaborated with other businesses such as AT&T to produce phones which are very powerful and user friendly. Such collaborations ensure that the product which is produced is not only of the best quality but it is affordable to the consumer. The company has been very successful in implementing such programs thus making a lot of mobile phone users to be loyal to the company.
Apple Inc. has also incorporated the use of social networks and brand communities as a means of reaching and engaging consumers in their operations especially in the marketing of the iPhone 4. The company has got its website and applications where consumers can meet and interact with each other and with the company too. In other circumstances, members who are loyal to the brand have formed their chain of networks online and offline.
It is through these organizations that they know the latest products which are present in the market, means of acquiring new software and phone upgrades, where to purchase genuine phones within the localities of consumers, and the best places to repair the phones. All these efforts are done so that the company meets the needs of their consumers.
iPhone 4 was manufactured to meet the consumer values which they had desired for a long time. The company undertook a lot of surveys and research to know what kind of smartphone their loyal customers wanted to be associated with. With this information, they took their time to manufacture the phone which the consumers desire. The phone has a diversity of features and applications which make it to be very sophisticated yet operating the gadget is very easy. These features are very helpful to the customers since different customers use different features that the phone has.
The phone can be used for entertainment, communication, and as a mini-computer. iPhone 4 has got a 3.5-inch long touch screen that is scratch resistant, high resolution, large internal memory (16-32 GB), it is super slim and light, has a powerful speaker, microphone and dock connector, long-lasting battery, fast internet connection, Wi-Fi, a 5.0-megapixel camera and many more features. Also included are games, GPS, reference, and social networking applications.
All these features aim at satisfying the diverse needs of consumers who use the phone. Many businesses and companies have started to integrate the phone into their daily operations since it makes their work to be much easier and it is easy to carry around unlike laptops. Thus these features tend to be in line with the consumers values.
Packaging of iPhone concerning Consumer Values
The first iPhone had a black plastic accent and aluminum covering. The 3G and 3GS models had a back that was entirely made of plastic that was black to increase the GSM signal strength. The 3G model was available in black for its 8 GB model and white for its 16 GB model. The 3GS was available in either color for both the 8 and 16 GB models. The iPhone4 has got an aluminosilicate glass covering with stainless steel at the edges which act as antennae for the phone.
A white version is expected to hit the market anytime this year. These different packaging designs aim at satisfying the consumers values through the availability of different packaging designs that not only make the phone look attractive but also differentiates it from the other brands that are present in the market.
Measurement of Consumer Satisfaction
The company has got various means of measuring consumer satisfaction. They do conduct regular surveys about the impacts of the product on the lives of their customers. They also have suggestions and opinion blogs where people can comment on their feelings towards their products. Through the high sales that they continue to receive as compared to other phone companies, Apple Inc. uses this information as a measure of consumer satisfaction.
This is because consistent sales are good indicators of consumer satisfaction. In the 2010/2011 fiscal year, iPhone had a market share of 4% in terms of the number of phones present in the market and attracted over 50% of the phone sales all over the globe (Kumparak, 2010). This shows that the phone is preferred by a lot of individuals in the world.
Consumer Values That Were not Met
There are however some consumer values which the phone did not meet. First of all the phone is not affordable to the majority of the people who might want to use it. The phone roughly costs around 600$ a price which the majority of the consumers think is very expensive. Others think that the price is too much to be used to purchase a phone even though they may have the money at hand. The phone has a lot of features and applications making it difficult for some people to operate it effectively. One might have to go through the whole manual to know how to conduct a simple operation. This, therefore, makes it difficult especially for old people to use the phone.
Also due to its sophistication, performing simple operations such as making a call or sending an SMS involves numerous operations and procedures, unlike other phones where these tasks are simple and direct. As a result, therefore, people who find it difficult to use the phone will prefer to purchase phones from other companies because of the simplicity of their phones even though they too wanted to purchase and own an iPhone. Apple Inc. should therefore consider these factors and try to come up with a smartphone that is user-friendly to people of all ages.
Retail Stock and Stores Management
There has been a high demand for iPhones over the years but the demand for iPhone 4 was much higher. Apple has tried to come up with ways to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of the phone in the market. According to Slvika (2010), Apple debuted its online store in China to ensure that the people of China could order the phone directly from the company. This came as a reaction to the depletion of the phone in the Chinese market.
It was almost impossible to find the phone in any retail shop across the country. To ensure that the phone was equitably supplied in the market, Apple came up with strategies such as reservations, ID requirements, and purchase limits (Slvika, 2010). The strategy has been working well since at the present moment the phones are available in most retail and online stores for purchase.
Apple Inc. also conducts regular surveys to check the demand of the phone by its consumers all over the world. With this information, they know the number of phones they need to produce and where to supply them. To expand their markets all over the world, Apple Inc. has created a partnership with local stores where customers in these regions can get legitimate and reliable iPhones, iPhone products, and applications.
Customer Service Support
Apple Inc. has made it easier for their customers to contact them at any place and at any time. Through its website, one can contact the company when he/she has any query concerning online stores, technical support, reservations, and getting information about authorized service providers (Bach 2007, p. 21). Technical support can be offered online or through the phone. The online services have tutorials, product solutions, and much more help and support to their customers and anyone else. Also included is the means to access the relevant information which the customer could need to solve the problem he/she is facing.
Customers can also get technical support through the phone. Apple Inc. has got operators who work 24hours a day seven days a week to receive calls from iPhone customers and assist them to solve their problems. The operators are distributed almost all over the world. They are highly trained and have problem recognition and solving skills which assist the customers to solve their problems. The customers have unlimited phone support for 90 days since the day of purchase (Apple, 2011).
The phone support numbers are present in the manuals, receipts of purchase and can also be easily found on the internet. Also available are Email services and chat services through the MobileMe application which consumers can use to ask any question concerning their product and the Apple staff will get back to them as soon as possible. More consumer support can be offered on Apple’s online store, Apple authorized service provider, and apple consultants’ network.
During the first three days when Apples iPhone 4 hit the market, it sold over 1.7 million handsets, the greatest sale the company has ever witnessed (Digital Production, 2010). This caused the company to have problems with the supply of the phone as the demand was very high.
Some people lined up in the stores for more than 24 hours but did not manage to get the phone. However, research conducted by the company concluded that the failure of Apple Inc. to cope up with the demand for iPhone 4 could make the customers of the company purchase phones from other competitors such as Motorola and Google Android phones. This is because the customers did not contend with the supply chain management of the company and might be forced to start to look for alternatives.
To deal with this problem Apple Inc. shipped 21.7 million iPhone 4 units all over the world to meet the ever-rising demands of its customers. The sales which Apple received from selling the iPhone 4 was enough to sustain the company for the whole of 2010 /2011 financial year even though customers were upset by the decline in the supply of the phone just after a few days when the phone hit the market (Digital Production, 2010).
Recruitment of Additional Staff
On the debut day of the iPhone 4, all the stores which had the phone employed extra staff to deal with the anticipated long queues of customers who wanted to purchase the phone on the d-day. Although the company had put up means in which people could purchase the phone via the internet through their online stores, many people also preferred to purchase the phone from local stores. Before the debut day, the staff had received training on how to handle and deal with large crowds and at the same time offer them quality services (Pride et al 2011, p. 111).
The workers were therefore ready for the tedious task which lay ahead of them. After the rush to get the phones was over, most stores still maintained a relatively large number of staff so that they can deal with the customers who will visit the stores, delivery of the product to customers, and offer technical support to the customers.
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Kumparak, G. (2010) Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones last quarter , over 70 million since launch. MobileCrunch. Web.
Pride, M., Hughes, R.J. and Kapoor, R.J. (2011) Business. Cengage Learning, Portland. nd.
Slvika, E. (2010) Iphone 4 Sells Out In Apple’s Chinese Online Store in Only 10 Hours. Macromours.com. Web.