Customer ecosystems: exploring how ecosystem actors shape customer experience

Michaela Lipkin, Kristina Heinonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to characterize how ecosystem actors shape customer experience (CX). The study also proposes implications for managers and research regarding the customer ecosystem, its actors and actor constellations in the context of CXs.
A qualitative study is conducted among activity tracker users to identify how actors within their ecosystems shape CXs. Data include 28 in-depth interviews and ten self-reported diaries.
This study delineates six actor categories in the customer ecosystem shaping CX within and beyond the service. The number of actors and their importance to the focal customer in various actor constellations form individual-, brand- and socially driven ecosystems. These customer ecosystem types show how actors combine to drive CXs.
Research limitations/implications
Researchers should shift their attention to experiences emerging in the customer’s lifeworld. A customer ecosystem highlights the customer-centered actor configuration emergent within the customer’s lifeworld. It is self-constructed based on the customer’s reference point.
Practical implications
Managers should aim to locate, monitor and join the customer’s lifeworld to gain more insight into how CXs emerge in the customer ecosystem based on customer logic.
Social implications
Customers are not isolated actors simply experiencing service; rather, they construct idiosyncratic actor constellations that include various providers, social groups and peers.
This paper extends the theory on CXs by illustrating how the various actors and actor constellations forming the customer ecosystem shape CXs.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 18.03.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • customer experience
  • customer ecosystem
  • customer-dominant logic
  • actors
  • actor constellation

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management


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