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2.9 Interactivity, Flow and Stickiness

 

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

 

 

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

 

Dissertation
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

Appendix

 

 

Chapter 2

Business in Cyberspace 

 

Chapter Two Business in Cyberspace

2.1 Introduction
2.2. The new digital world

2.3 The Net Economy
2.4 The interactive marketplace
2.5 Business in Cyberspace
2.6 E-Business, Organisation and Culture Change
2.7 Trends
2.8 Web Design, Usability and Communication
2.8.1 Web Communication
2.8.2 Web Design and Communication
2.8.3 Usability
2.9 Interactivity, Flow and Stickiness
2.9.1 Interactivity
2.9.2 Flow
2.9.3 Stickiness
2.10 Summary

 

 

2.9

Interactivity, Slow and Stickiness

 

2.9.1 Interactivity

 

Interactivity is a major reason why the Web is both a fascination and an emerging resource. Media has, until very recently, been a rather passive activity. Television, radio, newspapers, and magazines all deliver information to us in a linear fashion. All offer information that is predetermined by the content providers in form, feel and experience. A user has little control over what happens during a given television or radio program. Of course, the consumer can turn up the volume, turn down the volume, change the program, or as some prefer, turn off the machine completely. With newspapers and magazines the user can subscribe or unsubscribe, choose the articles he want to read from the pool provided, or if so inspired, write letters to the editor regarding content. These options are very limited when compared to exciting, truly interactive environment of the World Wide Web.

 

Holzschlag (1998: 729-730) offer the simplest definition of interactivity “as something acting on another” If we look at the cycle of interactivity and try to visualise this in terms of the web and go to the most basic act linking we will find a good place to start.

“Web interactivity can then be measured by the cycle of an end-user making a choice,
and the medium (in this case the underlying technology of the Web) responding to that choice.
Click on a link, get another page. Do this again, and the cycle repeats.
The user makes a choice, and the medium responds.
In fact, the Cycle of Interactivity is perfectly exemplified by the act of linking.”

(Holzschlag, 1998: 729-730)

According to Hanson, (2000: 94) individuals and marketers can interact trough the Internet. Direct interaction creates customer value and sets the stage for relationship building.
“As sites tap into individual user needs and become more interactive, customers dramatically increase their usage. This is not an engineering or networking law. Rather, it reflects the many changes that result when individuals suddenly receive new capabilities, information, and opportunities. It connects interactivity with the power of an organization to create relationship through customer contact.” “As interactivity rises, customer use a service more frequently, invest time to understand capabilities of the service, and increase the duration of their online activity. This creates opportunities for personalization, community building, and other avenues of real-time marketing. This expands the amount of business between company and customer, leading to even more contacts.”

 

According to Hanson (2000: 95) interactivity depends on:

  • Direct communication – Dialogue is possible when there is direct communication between marketer and customer, without intermediaries filtering or blocking feedback
  • Individual choice-The Net is more than just a communication medium. It is also a vehicle for assortment, advice, choice, and transactions.
  • Friendly technology-The Internet can be a difficult and challenging environment for users. In order to realize the potential of the medium, firms must make the Net friendly and more appliance-like.

 

 

Online marketing requires a careful understanding of how consumer behavior changes in an online world. This reflects how users relate to on-screen material, how communication occurs, when social and quality cues are limited, how hard it is to find material, and online activities range from challenging to tedious. True interactivity grows when technology is both appliance-like and compelling.

 

Parker (1997: 5) writes: “the web is an interactive medium,  which means that the visitors can concentrate on those topics of interest to them…because  the Web permits you to offer something for everyone…” That means the Web site is offering personalized information.

“ The real difference in designing interactivity for multimedia lies in multimedia’s added richness and complexity.
To design a means of navigating effectively amongst thousands of images, video sequences,
sound, text and numerics, all seamlessly combined as a single information resource,
is a challenging problem and one that lies at the heart of successful multimedia applications.
Indeed, interactivity largely defines the user’s experience of a multimedia product.”

(Feldman, 1997: 14)

 

Bonime (1998: 104) suggests the following elements of interactivity as important:

  • Pop-Ups
  • Navigation
  • Multimedia links
  • Drag and Drop
  • Buttons
  • Check Boxes and Radio Buttons
  • Dialog Boxes
  • Rollovers
  • Pop-Up Boxes
  • Icons
  • Menus

 

 

 

As seen web site interactivity has some key benefits:

  • Increasing site visits and site duration enables enough time for the E-Customers to build a loyal relationship with the E-Retailer or brand. Interactive features can also increase average order size and customer lifetime value.
  • Gathering data about E-Customers/buyers, profiling and actual interaction gives the company data that will help the company know more about the customers.
  • Reduce cost of marketing, selling and supporting the E-Customers, many interactive features can decrease the number of phone calls received by the sales and service departments.

 

 

 

E-Commerce site interactivity can in this way do a lot for the E-Retailers web site. If the E-Retailer know its customers, how they buy from or interact with them the E-Retailer would immediately think of several interactivity tools to put on the web site. Some online interactivities include chat, web conferencing, games, online tutorials, online demos, online presentations, build-your-own solution tools, information or buying tools such as calculators, educational tools, online surveys, etc.

 

2.9.2 Flow

 

The flow construct has been proposed as essential to understanding consumer navigation behavior in online environments.

 

“Consumers respond enthusiastically when there is an effective balance between the difficulty of using the Web and its rewards.
One of the experiences that many new users report with amazement is the ability to get lost in their activity
and suddenly discover that an hour or two has passed.”
“Csikszentmihalyi has called this the state of flow, which represent the “process of optimal experience.”

(Hanson, 2000:113)

 

Hoffmann and Novak (1998) feel this is an important aspect of online activity. They find that flow occurs when the online experience is:

  • Characterized by a seamless sequence of responses
  • Intrinsically enjoyable
  • Accompanied by a loss of self-consciousness
  • Self-reinforcing

 

 

 

A simplified version of Hoffman and Novak’s conceptual model is shown in the figure below.

IMG_6340cr

Figure 2.4 Hoffman and Novak’s conceptual model about flow

 

Achieving flow can be very important for recreational uses of the Web. It has to be a balance between challenge and skills otherwise E-Customers will find the E-Commerce Site too dull or they will get frustrated if it is to difficult to use. Therefore it is valuable to test the E-Commerce Site with different E-Customers with different skills and abilities.

 

2.9.3 Stickiness

 

«Stickiness» is undoubtedly an essential requirement of a successful E-Commerce site, and the techniques and resources mentioned will all help to give the E-Commerce site an edge over the competitors. E-Retailers  has to be aware of that they do involve a considerable investment in time and effort to get good results.

 

“Stickiness refers to a company’s ability to retain users and drive them further into a site” (Wired News, 1999)

 

Amazon.com is after many people opinion a “sticky” Web site Amazon .com is a not any more only a web site, which sells books. Today Amazon is much more than that that. As well as expanding its E-Commerce offerings it now offers auctions, user stores and stickiness- features such as member pages, discussion boards and e-cards.

 

Stickiness involves three components: (Gillespie, 1999)
  1. Duration of visits
  2. Frequency of visits
  3. Depth of navigation

 

 

The most of the Web sites, which are “sticky», have all implemented not just a few but many features all designed to keep E-Customers on the web site. The basic idea is don’t give the E-customer an excuse to leave.

 

When selling on the Web, it’s only possible to sell to customers when they visit the Web site. It follows that the longer the E-Retailer can keep potential E-Customer on the web site, the more chance it will have of making a sale, and of course more page views can lead to increased advertising revenue

 

“Stickiness is influenced by flow and telepresence, but it is not defined purely by those aspects.  Both refer to the state of mind of the user and therefore are focused on effects of web design on the user. Stickiness however refers to attributes of the site itself and how that in turn affects the actions of the user.” (Gillespie, 1999)

 

There are a variety of well-proven techniques that a company can develop to increase «stickiness» on the Web site. For instance the following either together or alone:
  • Community(i.e. Bulletin Board/Forum, Chat, Newsletters, Home Pages, Email, Polls, Quizzes, Greetings cards)
  • Content (i.e. News Sites, Articles, Weather, Humor)
  • Rewards (i.e. Currencies, Coupons)

 

 

 

Download Dissertation

 

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