A Sythesis of a Program of Research on Improving



This presentation will provide an overview and findings of the research conducted during the last decade with my colleagues and graduate students for understanding how to make electronic commerce more productive and enjoyable for customers via the use of information technology (IT) support. 

Given that a web site is a company’s “window to the world”, customers interact directly with a number of information technology artifacts provided by the company (such as, product recommendation agents, video product presentations) as well as entities within that company (such as, sales assistants) and other customers (collaborative shopping) via information technology mediated channels. This interaction is designed to enhance customers’ efficiency, effectiveness and shopping enjoyment by providing high quality information technology-based services with the aim of improving customers’ trust in online merchants, reducing their product-related risks of buying on the web, and increasing their loyalty to web merchants and commitment to online shopping. 

We have conducted over 30 studies* using laboratory experimentation and field survey methods.  The topics studied included: how to improve product understanding on the web; how to provide services to customers via IT support; improving customers’ purchase quality via recommendation agent use, designing product recommendations agents that are trustworthy, and designing social interfaces to such agents; collaborative shopping; and reducing risk and deception in electronic commerce. The talk will describe how the studies conducted constitute parts an overall research plan to investigate customer-company communications in electronic commerce, discuss the role of theory and design choices made, and describe the findings of some of these studies and how they could be used to enhance the practical design of electronic commerce interfaces in order to improve the online shopping experiences of customers.   

 (*The papers describing these studies are listed at www.sauder.ubc.ca/Faculty/People/Faculty_Members/Benbasat_Izak/Publications_Record)