Optimal Product Information Display Formats in Online Shopping Scenarios: Implications for Management Practice and Policy Formation
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Sharkey, U., Acton, T. and Conboy, K. (2009) "Optimal Product Information Display Formats in Online Shopping Scenarios: Implications for Management Practice and Policy Formation", Social Science Research and Policy Making: Bridging the Divide. NUI Galway, Ireland, Irish Social Sciences Platform, December 1st - 2nd, 2009.
The second key challenge noted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (2004) eBusiness Strategy report is the building of confidence among Irish SME's and Micro-enterprises in the development of online trading. Its associated April 2006 progress report (Department of Enterprise 2006) further stressed the necessity of Irish business to be at the forefront of eCommerce. While Irish online shopping is performing well in comparison to OECD countries (Department of Enterprise 2004) and European Union members (CSO 2008), there is an absence of information codifying optimal methods for displaying product information in online trading. This research addresses the gap in knowledge regarding optimal information presentation formats in online trading scenarios. Within the context of supporting the consumer decision making process lies a body of knowledge discussing decision strategies which may be utilised, the formation of consumer consideration sets and research on how best to present product data to a consumer. Somewhat lacking is research into the applicability of these domains to electronic commerce systems despite the value they hold for practitioners. The research here proposes an investigation into the product data presentation structures which exist in many free, open source webstore software systems operating for many thousands of businesses. This research identifies the shortcomings of online consumer decision supporting systems in light of the functionality and attributes expected of the decision supporting aspects of these e-commerce systems, strategies which are appropriate to support the consumer purchasing environment and methods which may be suitable to deliver some of the benefits of decision support to the online consumer. Specific management and policy implications are presented.