E-Shoppers' Perception of Web-Based Decision Aid

E-Shoppers' Perception of Web-Based Decision Aid

Fen Wang (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch074
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The WWW, for better or worse, has forever changed the way retailers do business nowadays. E-shoppers, who become more sophisticated and mature nowadays, are demanding increased flexibility and intelligent aids in accessing product information, making purchasing decisions, and obtaining e-services (Anupam, Hull, & Kumar, 2001; Chen, Gillenson, & Sherrell, 2004). The Internet facilitates interactive selling approaches, whereby product offerings can be tailored to individual preferences. It allows e-shoppers to easily gather, retrieve, and analyze product information. Ultimately, the Web offers the ideal vehicle for delivering intelligent online support tools directly to customers (Grenci & Todd, 2002). Unfortunately, most e-commerce sites are rarely aware of taking advantage of such Internet-driven customer aid. Rapid advancements in Internet technology have offered a solution of Web-based customer decision support system (WCDSS) that can improve transactional efficiency by providing tailored merchandising information, offering sales support and consultation, facilitating sales promotion and advertising, and enhancing the consistency, availability and quality of online support to e-shoppers (O’Keefe & Mceachern, 1998). As the WCDSS aims to empower e-shoppers by enabling them to make informed decisions online, the question of how they would perceive such support arises. In this article, we aim to establish a theory-founded framework to understand and explain e-shoppers’ perceptions of the proposed WCDSS functions. We look at the key features of WCDSS functions that may have impact on e-shopper’s perceptions, and how to scale and analyze e-shoppers’ perceptions regarding specific functions. The specific objectives are threefold. We aim (a) to verify the role WCDSS can play in facilitating e-shoppers, (b) to identify the key issues that impact e-shoppers’ perceptions of WCDSS, and (c) to suggest ways in designing and improving WCDSS functions and interfaces.

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