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Online Buyers: Lets Get Physical
The key to e-commerce success is in finding ways to use information technology to mimic the physical interactions consumers are already used to in most brick-and-mortar shops, says JungJoo Jahng, assistant professor of management.
In other words, customers want to feel and look at a product at all angles, and have immediate face-to-face contact with someone to answer questionsservices that are not prevalent in todays e-commerce world.
Although e-commerce has been growing in recent years, it has fallen short of what forecasters have predicted, says Jahng. In virtual stores, people cannot touch the product or immediately track down the seller if they have a concern.
Jahng tested his theory using 400 participants in a study in which he simulated several e-commerce sites to sell a digital camera. The Web site viewed by the first group showed a static picture of a camera that participants could only look at. The site also offered an e-mail address for product questions.
A second group viewed another site using interactive technologies. Viewers in this group could use the mouse to get a 360-degree view of the camera and to try out different features of the camera.
The site also provided the viewer with a live representative to answer immediate questions through video conferencing available from a window on the bottom of the virtual page.
According to the study, 79 percent of the group using multimedia interactive technologies purchased the digital camera, which was a 32 percent increase over members of the first group who bought the product.
|Rensselaer Magazine: June 2002|
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