The Influence of the Internet on Relationships Between Consumers and Vendors

The Influence of the Internet on Relationships Between Consumers and Vendors

Horst Treiblmaier (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-056-1.ch089
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Abstract

In recent years a plethora of scholarly literature from the marketing and the information systems (IS) domain has dealt with the phenomenon of relationships. While during the precomputer era relationships always implied a social dimension, modern technology tries to mimic this interaction process by learning about customers’ needs and addressing them individually. Interestingly, the central definition of a relationship remains vague in both marketing and IS. Finding the major constituents, therefore, could shed light on the question of whether technology actually could replace “social interactions.” In this chapter, we show how relationships are defined in scholarly literature. Subsequently, consumers define what they perceive to be the crucial attributes of a relationship in general and with an online organization. The results indicate that the notion of relationship has to be redefined for online communication and interaction and offer practical implications for designing the interaction process with online users.

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