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Product Brokering

After the consumer has realized a need for a product, he or she needs to locate information on what to buy. The consumer needs to not only locate the product or service but also evaluate the different product or service options available to create a consideration set.

In this case, the primary function of the e-business is to provide the information that the consumer needs and in the process to build a stronger relationship with the potential customer. Like in the case of Macy's Santa Claus, the better the service, the stronger the loyalty to the business.

Web sites such as Deja.com (http://www.deja.com/) offer consumers reviews and recommendations on any number of products in a variety of categories. Deja.com helps consumers find precisely the product that they want then directs them to merchants armed with competitive pricing information who have that exact product in stock. In this way, Deja.com collects consumer information to further personalize their shopping experience. That can bring consumers back again to use their service–in effect, creating a very "sticky" site to attract and keep shoppers.

Another way to create stickiness is to create a sense of community among consumers. Discussion boards, chat rooms, discussion lists, and electronic newsletters are great ways to create shopping communities at your e-business. Monitoring these community-building activities gives a company the opportunity to collect information on its users to build a better shopping experience.

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