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The role of the Internet and related technologies in providing customisation / personalisation for consumers.

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Introduction

The role of the Internet and related technologies in providing customisation / personalisation for consumers. The last few years has seen remarkable changes in the way in which businesses operate on the Internet. Over the last ten years, the Internet has been the springboard for many businesses that decided to operate online - when selling a product or a service. This has been due to changes in technology, increasing globalisation and the growth of the 'information age' sector. All of these elements together have contributed to the growth of e-commerce. One of the key concepts that have been the forefront of the Internet over the last few years has been the increasing use of customisation and personalisation of websites. Consumers have become more intelligent over the years and are constantly demanding products or services suited to their needs. Therefore, it should be pointed out as to how their needs can be met through the use of customisation and personalisation. It should also be asked how the Internet and 'related technologies' have contributed to the growth of customisation and personalisation and whether this growth is likely to continue in the future. The benefits of both concepts to consumers and organisations will be analysed and critically evaluated and highlighted. Therefore, it should be asked how the Internet and 'related technologies' have 'enabled' customisation and personalisation and to what extent does this bring 'benefits' to consumers and organisations; and whether these benefits might have drawbacks, if not careful. The Internet has grown over the last ten years. It has significantly changed the way in which firms operate. The growth of the Internet has been highlighted by the fact that more and more firms are looking at ways in which to operate online. For example, Amazon and Ebay are already one of the biggest shopping online portals on the Internet. The Internet has also accelerated the way in which businesses conduct their business. ...read more.

Middle

"welcome back, Mrs. Smith". This technology allows the personalisation of websites and suggests that the Internet plays a major role. However, the major drawback is that if the user deletes cookies from their hard drive then most of the information about the person is lost. Moreover, if a user uses a number of different machines then different cookies will store different information from the same user. Nevertheless, cookies are important in enabling personalisation of websites (Dewan, 2003). The firm Nissan uses customisation technology - ICON (Integrated Customer Ordering Network). This technology allows users to build-and-order manufacturing parts for cars and was one of the first firm who used this type of technology (Moozakis, 2002). This illustrates that Nissan views the Internet as important in assisting its customisation technology. Moreover, it suggests that despite the fact that new technologies are constantly discussed Nissan is in the early adaptor phase in the diffusion-adoption curve. Amazon.com also uses personalisation technology. In 2002 it started to target early adopters and creating 'early adopter score' for target consumers. This helps again to illustrate the fact that a giant retail online shopping site like Amazon.com regards the Internet as important in technology to enable personalisation and customisation (Wolf, 2003). Hanson argues that personalisation technology is relevant to the DNI framework (see appendix 2.1). This comprises of Digital Capabilities, using the network and individuals working (Hanson 2000). The importance of the DNI framework is that it makes extensive use of the Internet to develop personalised websites. WAP also makes use of customised technology. Although its popularity has not quite taken off over the years, since its launch, it is pointed out by Smith (2001), that WAP have even more customised features, pop-up menus and will make extensive use of XHTML coding - Internet security style. This helps to point out that users can use customised technology from their phones and supports the view that 'related technologies' like WAP help keep this technology growing. ...read more.

Conclusion

sued Etracks (marketing company) who claimed to have sent 6500 illegal emails to Morrison & Foerster over a six-month period (Retsky & Lans, 2002). This highlights the dangers of sending out lots of information to the customer if a firm does not consider the legal implications. Would this therefore mean that tougher legislation would mean firms would lose out? Technological factors are also important for a B2C organisation to consider when adopting customisation/personalisation as this will force changes in legislation around the world that protect individual privacy. For example, new spy software on the Internet, such as Professional Edition is powerful enough to monitor e-mail, keystrokes, and online activity. It also lets users customise settings (Donaldson, 2002). Does this therefore, meant that B2C firms must adapt quickly to technology and anticipate legalisation when deciding to implement customisation/personalisation? Firms should also consider social bonds when operating on the Internet. For example, findings have indicated that the Internet is considered to have had little impact on social bonds in an inter-firm relationship between with the consumer. Emails sent by firms cannot convey language or emotions (Rao et al 2003). Therefore, it should be asked whether social factors play an important part in customisation/personalisation. Would a better understanding with consumers change the methods firms employ? The evidence suggests that customisation and personalisation are two different, but similar terms used on the Internet market. Customisation itself will continue to grow due to an increase in technology. However, firms must carefully monitor the changes in the environment such as legislation and technology in customising websites. Firms must also consider privacy as a key factor as some customers have started to question the information they give to companies. However, on balance customisation/personalisation plays a significant role for B2C firms. For example, research suggests that in the 21st century almost 73% business executives agree that 50% or more of US companies will adopt most customisation of products and services. Therefore, the fact that the Internet plays a significant role in implementing customisation and personalisation is valid. Number of words used - 3008 1 ...read more.

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