Customer Acquisition in rural Norway - An in-depth exploration of how to acquire customers in the middle of Norway.
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The continuous decrease in and aging of the rural population in Norway makes customer acquisition in rural Norway an important topic to investigate. By presenting the rural consumer, the rural business, and factors such as promotional channels, perceived quality, market segmentation and mindset equity, we cast a foundation for qualitative and quantitative study. Since customer acquisition has been a relatively scarce explored topic, particularly in Norwegian rural areas, in-depth interviews with independent business owners shed light on the perception of rural consumers as cautious and price conscious. In addition to this, we found that interpersonal relationships are crucial for the business, but also that the businesses perceived local shopping as a conscious choice by shoppers’ vs non-shoppers. Promotional channels available to the businesses were Facebook, Instagram, posters, and the local newspaper, which we chose to explore in the quantitative study. Through a web-based survey we explored the consumers side of rural shopping behaviour. The study validated rural consumers as cautious and price conscious but found no significant evidence that these factors influenced purchasing intentions or visiting frequency. We did however find that relationships are positively correlated with both purchasing tendency and visiting frequency. In addition to this, we found high numbers of positive attitude towards local businesses since Covid-19, clearly in favour of local businesses. Exploration of promotional and communication channels revealed that printed promotional channels such as flyers and local newspapers were most preferred, in addition to Facebook being a good choice for social media visibility. Whilst a perception of calling to be a dying form of communication, the sample had calling as their preferred communication channel in addition to Facebook Messenger. We find that customer acquisition strategies for rural businesses should focus on relationships, personal interaction, and an increased visibility of product/service- and price-range.