The Soul of the New Consumer: The Attitudes, Behaviors and Preferences of E-Customers

Laurie Windham, Author, Ken Orton, With
Laurie Windham, Author, Ken Orton, With Allworth Press $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-58115-066-7
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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What can be deduced about e-shoppers that will help Internet businesses fine-tune their marketing plans, maximize competitive opportunities and avoid dangerous pitfalls? ask marketing consultants Windham and Orton. After analyzing the comments of more than 1,000 online consumers collected via telephone, online surveys and focus groups, the authors present a range of marketing suggestions based on their survey results for Web-site design, driving initial traffic, converting a brick-and-mortar retail business for the Internet and streamlining the purchasing process. Unfortunately, after a few chapters, the quoted comments sound as though they were made by the same three or four people. In addition, the authors disdainfully reject such traditional statistical adjustments as ""confidence intervals""and ""calculated margins of error"" and instead ask for the reader's trust based on their ""years of experience in studying consumer behavior."" Although much of their advice is old-fashioned common sense--e.g., a good product combined with good customer service will win customers--the authors do point out that the Internet is unique in some respects. For example, while most marketing texts assert that it is much cheaper to keep an existing customer than to win a new one, Windham and Orton maintain that it is nearly impossible to garner online consumers' loyalty and advise e-businesses not to devote great efforts to chasing it. Though this study is marred by its authors' superficial approach, the promise of both the title and the author's survey will attract the many business readers seeking an edge with consumers in this new marketplace. (Oct.)
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