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Modelling real-time online information needs: A new research approach for complex consumer behaviour

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A major challenge for online vendor website operations is serving information that meets visitor needs at a given point in their purchase process. The problem arises from the complexity of human behaviour, as well as changing needs with the evolution of consumer knowledge and skills through the purchase process. The most difficult element, however, is determining the effects of information provided on the site, as well as from other sources that the consumer may access, and anticipating resulting consumer needs. This paper discusses the contributions and limitations of current modelling techniques and utility studies of online consumer information to model consumer needs in real time. An alternative basis for real-time customer need appraisal is proposed using clickstream and customer input data combined with online information utility to enable more effective information serving. This requires further academic research and changes in practitioner online marketing operations.

Keywords: complex products; online consumer behaviour modelling

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2013

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