Virtual reality on timber and forest management service sales : design ethnographic and grounded theory approach

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Title: Virtual reality on timber and forest management service sales : design ethnographic and grounded theory approach
Alternative title: Virtuaalitodellisuus puukaupan ja metsänhoitopalveluiden myynnin yhteydessä : design etnografinen ja grounded theory lähestymistapa
Author: Pöllänen, Niko
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Metsätieteiden osasto
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten, Avdelningen för skogsvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Metsäekonomia ja markkinointi
Forest Economics and Marketing
Skogsekonomi och marknadsföring
Abstract: In recent years, timber and forest management service sales have increasingly moved into electronic services. Combining this with distant ownership can create a situation where forest owners' knowledge about silviculture and forest management is in danger of diminishing. Poor understanding of the condition of one’s own forest and silviculture increases the need of trust towards the service provider. The purpose of this study is to find out how forest owners currently make timber sales and purchase forest management services. In addition, the focus will be on identifying the factors involved in the sales and purchase decision and how virtual reality fits into timber trade, the purchase of forest management services, and the services of forest owners. In this research, e-services and virtual reality on the customer path rose to special consideration. More specific research setting or research questions were not assigned for this research due to the nature of design ethnography and grounded theory, which are used in this research. Design ethnography and grounded theory methods were chosen as the research approach. The purpose of ethnography is to gain a wholesome understanding of the customers’ behavior, beliefs, and reasons behind their actions. The research was conducted by interviewing forest owners and following their journey during the timber sales and purchase of the forest management services. Methods of grounded theory was used to provide the academic framework for this research. Results show that one of the most important, if not the most important factor in decision-making and choosing a service partner, is trust, which also has an intergenerational influence. Research results showed antecedent trust factors to be customer-based (e.g., previous experience) or company-based (e.g., company values and quality of the services). Other important factors affecting trust and decision making are perceived risk and customer learning, which are interrelation with customer trust. The results of this research indicate that virtual reality can potentially increase customer trust toward the service provider under certain conditions. Virtual reality was also seen as having an impact on customer learning, which allows forest owners to learn the effects of different silviculture practices on their own forest. The results show that every customer segment can benefit from virtual reality. Inspecting the forest plan and seeing the effects of different forestry operations in the virtual reality were seen as the most significant benefits of the virtual reality. In addition, interviewees saw that including the ability to see the visualization of the expected future growth in virtual reality would facilitate decision making.
Subject: Virtual reality
customer trust
perceived risk
customer learning
customer education
customer experience
design ethnography
grounded theory

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