4.5 The Customer led E-Retailer Web Site


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The E-Business, the E-Customer, their Relationship and Interactivity



KunnskapskildenE-Business –
E-Business, E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity


The E-Business, the E-Customer,
their Relationship and Interactivity 

Jan Vig 

Dissertation  av Jan Vig om E.Business, E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity  (286 sider) i forbindelse med Masterstudie i Information Technology and Communication Juni 2000.


The E-Retailer Business, the E-Customer,
their Relationship and Interactivity

Table of Contents

Chapter One Introduction to the study

Chapter Two Business in Cyberspace

Chapter Three E- Retailer Commerce

Chapter Four E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity

Chapter Five A Successful Case study – Amazon.com

Chapter Six The Future, Critical Success Factors, E-Business Strategy, Results and Conclusion




Chapter 4

The Customer led E-Retailer  Web Site 




Chapter Four E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity

4.1 Introduction 108
4.2 The E-Customer 111
4.2.1 The E-Customer 111
4.2.2 The E-Customer and Benefits 113
4.2.3 The E-Customer behavior 114
4.2.4 The E-Customer and shopping 121
4.2.5 The E-Customer and shopping agents 123
4.2.6 The E-Customer and privacy 126
4.3 One-to-One Marketing and CRM 130
4.3.1 CRM 130
4.3.2 History One-to-one Marketing 132
4.3.3 Current Situation 133
4.3.4 Why is One-to-one marketing important today? 135
4.3.5 One-to-one marketing, trends and technology 136
4.3.6 One-to-one marketing tools 138
4.3.7 Benefits of One-to-one Marketing/CRM 138
4.3.8 Arguments against One-to-one marketing 140
4.3.9 Examples on One-to-one marketing 141
4.3.10 Implementing One-to-one marketing 143
4.4 E-Retailing, relationship, customer focus and customer experience 145
4.4.1 The E-Retailing and relationship 145
4.4.2 Personalisation 148
4.4.3 Create a great customer experience 152
4.5 The Customer led E-Retailer Web Site 155
4.6 Summary





The Customer led E-Retailer Web Site 


At every stage, the E-Retailer web site should encourage customers to make the decision to buy. The E-Retailer can help by ensuring that they have all the information they are likely to need and that the process is straightforward and easily understood. Good design can help to close the deal, making it easy for the customer to buy at any point.


The E-Retailer Web site should be:

  • Easy to buy from
  • Friendly and easy to understand
  • Logical in it’s organisation and structure
  • On-target and up-to-date in their information content
  • Competitive in what it offer (whether measured in prices or content)
  • Responsive to requests for information or service
  • Secure
  • Designed in the way that it should be possible with as few ‘clicks’ as possible to go anywhere the customer  need to go
  • Innovative concerning feedback and invite the customer to a dialogue




There are a number of principles that contribute to a successful E-Retailer web site:

  • Show visitors that they have come to the right place by making it very clear what the business does and how it can help them.
  • Make sure the web site is fast to load and easy to navigate.
  • Build trust.
  • Confirm all orders promptly by e-mail.
  • Always provide physical contact details.
  • Offer a choice of ways to pay.
  • Stay in touch by offering after-sales service and support. 




“The most important business goal for a Web site is to maximize user loyalty and the life-time value of the user’s future visits and purchases. It is less important to maximize the value of the current visit, and indeed it is often counter-productive to do so.” (Nielsen, 2000)


According to Parker & Rogers (1997: 112-113) the company has to ask the following questions to identify the obstacles that stands in the way for achieving the goals of the Web site.

  1. What are some of the possible reasons you don’t sell more of your products or services?
  • Potential buyers don’t understand the benefits your product or service provides
  • Your market is not aware that you offer the product or service
  • Your market is buying the product or service from others, knowing that you are in business
  • Other
  1. What about price?
  • Price is not a significant factor
  • Your market perceives you as more expensive than the others
  • Other are selling your product or service significantly cheaper- and your market is letting you know about it.
  1. Who is your competition – i.e., whom do you lose sales to?
  2. Does your competition have a Web site?
  • What’s it like?
  • What do you think are its short-term and long-term goals?
  1. What are some of the ways you differ from the competition?
  • Product knowledge
  • Training
  • Years in business
  • Location
  • Service backup
  • Extended warranties
  • History of customer satisfaction
  • Other
  1. How often do you lose sales (that you know about)
  • Never
  • Sometimes (10 to 20 percent of the time)
  • Frequently (over 75 percent of the time)
  1. What are some of the reasons lost prospects give you after you find they have bought elsewhere?



Parker & Rogers (1997:169-170) suggest using the following questions in involving the company’s visitors:

  1. Does the structure of your Web site make it easy for visitors to directly access desired information? Yes. No.
  2. What information are you interested in obtaining from your Web site visitors?
  3. What can you offer to motivate visitors to register?
  • Offer a premium
  • Provide opportunities to save money
  • Answer questions or search for specific products
  • Allow access to enhanced content
  • Award a price
  1. How can you acknowledge and/or reward visitors who register?
  2. What types of promotions and last-minute specials can you promote via e-mail?
  3. What are some of the other ways you can use the e-mail and postal service addresses of Web site visitors who register?
  4. How can visitors customize the content of your Web site to suit their interests and needs?
  • Searchable databases
  • Product previews
  • Product availability
  • Financing information
  • Newsgroups
  • Audio, video, or virtual reality
  1. What assistance or service can you offer Web site visitors by the use of return e-mail or the postal service?
  2. How close to actual sales do you want your Web site to take visitors?


Does my firm’s product or service lend itself to sales over the Internet? Yes. No. If no, what can you do make your products or services more attractive to web buyers?
Gianforte (n.d.) has discovered eight basic attributes that make Web-based customer support work.

  1. Make sure your Web site «listens»
  2. Give customers what they want
  3. Make responsive content and response mechanisms easy to find and easy to use
  4. The «80/20» rule 80% of all site traffic is aimed at 20% of the content.
  5. Get «pushy» By offering a variety of e-mail notification options, you can turn a customer’s e-mailbox into an extension of your Web site
  6. Respond fast
  7. Track religiously. It’s critically important to track requests for information as they come in.
  8. Automate


These simple principles can make the difference between online success and online failure.


In the «The State of One-to-one Online» report (1999) analysts found that there were five key secrets to competing online profitably.


  1. Don’t just protect customer privacy, tell users how you’re going to do it.
  2. Explain your motives for wanting to create a relationship.
  3. Organize around customer needs — not products.
  4. Give customers individual control.
  5. Motivate customers to collaborate with you.


The point to start with by creating relationship is to start with number three the need of the customers.


One of the most valuable strategies for the E-Retailer web site is to build a community.


Online communities are focused online social gatherings.
Communication is multidirectional, with users responsible for providing material as well as consuming information.
Repeated interaction reinforces the social features of community, build trust, and creates continuity.”
“Many organizations and Web sites are adding community building to their goals.
This includes customer sites, business sites, nonprofit and charitable organizations.
Online communities have formed on issues ranging from space exploration and terminal diseases to board games and trivia.
Community builders face several critical challenges.
As always, there is the challenge of gaining attention and building traffic to the site.
This is double important for communities trying to reach a critical mass of members.

( Hanson, 2000: 294)


Download Dissertation


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