Information As A Competitive Advantage - Part 5, The Internet


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Enormous opportunities to capture Customer demographic and behavioral information, are offered on the web channel. This information gathered on the business web site, can be used to improve Customer service.

The use of e-services is characterized by a lower degree of anonymity compared to conventional cash transactions, given that it requires the submission of a minimum set of payment data (name, credit card number, shipment address for a physical product). Moreover, a User is often invited to register to a site and fill-in data related to his personal profile, professional activity and interests. The User gets in return, access to the site’s content, or an email with a white paper, or some other web product or service.

Personalized treatment of each registered User is feasible, given that the User has submitted her/his preferences (e. g. a news site may present in a personalized page, news relating to the predetermined areas of interest only). On the other hand, the behavior of a web User can be captured in detail, in a sequence of clicks on the hyperlinks, that the User follows as he navigates through the various web pages (a sequence known as clickstream). Clickstream analysis is a new trend, in order to develop Customer insight on the web channel. Customer insight can lead to a more effective marketing promotion on the web. Product promotion based on analyzed Customer profiles, can be very effective. An example of this is the personalized promotion of books on, based on previous Customer purchases or selections in a wish list.

The development of portals which focus on a specific vertical market (known as vortals), aims at targeting specific customer groups, and allows the focused promotion of products and services from this vertical market, once this specific Customer group is attracted. Many such examples can be found on the internet, like traveling and vacation sites, or healthy living and nutrition sites. Moreover, product search on the internet, via the submission of keywords or keyphrases on search engines, allows the highly focused promotion of products and services on the search result pages. This method, known as keyword advertising, has a very high potential to produce business value and is growing extremely rapidly.

The automated customer–business interaction potential of the internet, changes radically the transaction landscape, and creates new opportunities for value creation, but also new risks for businesses oriented exclusively to conventional transactions.

Copyright 2006 – Kostis Panayotakis

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