Comparative Shopping on Agent Web Sites

Comparative Shopping on Agent Web Sites

Ming Wang (California State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch021
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The enormous amount of commercial information available on the Internet makes online shoppers overwhelmed and it difficult to find relevant information. The recent development of shopping agents (bots) has offered a practical solution for this information overload problem. From the customer’s point of view, a shopping agent reduces search complexity, increases search efficiency, and supports user mobility. It has been proposed that the availability of agent Web sites is one of the reasons why e-markets should be more efficient (Mougayar, 1998). Shopping bots are created with agent software that assists online shoppers by automatically gathering shopping information from the Internet. In this comparative shopping environment, shopping agents can provide the customer with comparative prices for a searched product, customer reviews of the product, and reviews of the corresponding merchants. The agent will first locate the merchants’ Web sites selling the searched product. Then, the agent will collect information about the prices of the product and its features from these merchants. Once a customer selects a product with a merchant, the individual merchant Web site will process the purchase order and the delivery details. The shopping agent receives a commission on each sale made by a visitor to its site from the merchant selling the product on the Internet. Some auction agent Web sites provide a negotiation service through intelligent agent functions. Agents will represent both buyers and sellers. Once a buyer identifies a seller, the agent can negotiate the transaction. The agents will negotiate a price and then execute the transaction for their respective owners. The buyer’s agent will use a credit card account number to pay for the product. The seller’s agent will accept the payment and transmit the proper instructions to deliver the item under the terms agreed upon by the agent.

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