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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Software Agents in E-Commerce Systems

Software Agents in E-Commerce Systems
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Author(s): Juergen Seitz (University of Cooperative Education Heidenheim, Germany)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch560


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The Internet introduces a new global marketplace for a large number of relatively unknown and not seldom small companies often offering substitutive or complimentary products and services. The merchants profit from reduced costs, reduced time, and unsold stocks. Customers are attracted by increasing convenience and fast fulfillment. Merchants offering these products and services on this new marketplace need to acquire new customers and sustain ongoing relationships. Nowadays, most merchants’ sites are passive catalogs of products and prices with mechanisms for orders (Dasgupta, Narasimhan, Moser, & Melliar-Smith, 1998). The pull strategy is also applied in auctions available over the Internet, where the seller waits passively for bids. The new push technologies for electronic commerce, like software agents, enable customers to compare a bewildering array of products efficiently, effectively, and automatically (Jennings, Sycara, & Wooldridge, 1998). Switching costs for customers and, thereby, their loyalty to previous suppliers in the marketplace decline (Phlips, 1989; Schwartz, 1999). Using the Internet, the producers profit from reduced cost through direct, non-intermediated sales. The key elements to successful long-term relationships between merchants and customers will be the offering of personalized and value-added services, like one-to-one marketing services, discounts, guarantees, and savings coupons (Seitz, Stickel, & Woda, 2003). In this article, we will analyze possible consequences of new push and pull technologies in electronic commerce for customer’s loyalty, as well as the active technologies enabling customers to purchase efficiently and for the merchants to offer high personalized, value-added, and complimentary products and services. We will discuss some examples of such services and personalization techniques sustaining one-to-one relationships with customers and other actors involved.

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