For the last couple of years, I am leaning more towards online shopping for buying books for the obvious reasons of comparing prices, reading reviews etc. Both Infibeam and Flipkart have been my predominant choices, just started exploring IndiaPlaza. Now if I look back, I am not a loyal customer of any those online stores. More often price and the availability of books play a key factor in deciding between .COMs. So I have started wondering how .COMs can ever create a stickiness factor with customers. Some of my friends have remarked service as one critical factor that can create stickiness. Whether service alone can create stickiness is still debatable. Service is too broad a term to define it exactly, IMO as long as I receive the book intact I will classify the service as good even though there might be a delay in delivering the book. I only care about precise delivery only when I gift someone on some occasion.
Can any other factor create stickiness, how about personalization? Wishlist is the first step towards personalization, but it is pathetic that some of the online stores lack it. Wishlist provides a snapshot of the customer interests in prior, and it can also help to build a profile of the customers in terms of their interest. I have around 20 books in my wish list and it should obviously provide a hint of my categories of interest (within books). Further comparing wish list with the actual purchase order, should throw a fair idea of which category is of higher priority/interest to me. My opinion is that we purchase books in high price category only if it is highly essential, so price factor can also be used to prepare a priority list of categories for each customer. Later all this information can be used to develop a personal landing page to cross sell books/articles in the category/segment of interest. Though I am an avid reader, I might not have an exhaustive knowledge about all the existing/new books in my category, so personal landing page that can educate me about the existence of such books coupled with good review can definitely trigger me for additional purchase. Before any .COM delves into the complicated process of personalization, I would firstly prefer to receive an email if there are any additional discounts on the books in my wish list. Oops.. Am I sounding more like a price conscious person?
Well, in spite of all this efforts can personalization effectively create stickiness? I can only insist that it can generate more visits and subsequently enable customers to spend more time on the site, but will it actually translate into revenue is still debatable and I would probably leave it to the wise minds of e-commerce experts. Otherwise as Malcolm Gladwell states can there be any other factor that can create an ever lasting impression/experience as to create a stickiness factor. May be it might not be all about selling goods cheaper; it can be about creating an experience too. Yet my quest to find out how .COMs (more specifically an online store) can create stickiness factor has not ended.