Monday, April 16, 2007

Deciphering online customers

Online retailers are getting wary about how savvy shoppers make purchasing decisions. According to Errol Denger, a senior strategist at WebSphere commerce at IBM, "2006 marked an important inflection point where the primary driver of online sales growth shifted from new customer acquisition to driving repeat business and maximizing wallet share." With each customer creating a unique selection criteria and approach to shopping, online retailers have to be even more dynamic to deliver a shopping experience that can cater to all customer preferences. One of the methods to do this is to use Rich Internet application technologies (RIA), which help online vendors do reach and connect with their customers better.
Nearly 50 percent of consumers presented with too much information refuse to make a choice, he claims, instead foregoing the purchase. "Selection criteria can include parameters such as price, size, usage, materials or other attributes to visually sort and narrow the product set until the desired results are displayed," Denger says.

"RIAs further enhance configuration and final selection by showing how different products fit together in specific configurations," Denger says. A consumer shopping for bedding may match duvet cover, pillow shams and sheets almost as they would in a physical store environment.

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