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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, Volume 5, Issue 4, Winter 2006, Pages 282–294
To enhance the effectiveness of online comparisons from a manufacturer’s point of view, we develop a framework for the comparison challenge approach. To develop the comparison challenge framework, we analyze 12 factors that determine the characteristics of comparison and propose models of valuable comparison challenges using the CompareMe and CompareThem strategies. We demonstrate the approaches with the example of PC selection. To help plan the comparison challenges, we formulate a mathematical programming model that maximizes the total value of comparison under the constraints of comparison opportunity and budgetary limitation. The model is applied to eight comparison scenarios, and its performance is contrasted with the view of balancing long-term perspective and short-term revenue increase. The performance of the comparison challenge approach is contrasted with those of random banner and similarity-based comparison approaches, and shows a substantially higher effect.
Internet advertisement has become very popular for the promotion of online sales  and . Internet advertising revenue in the US has grown from $8.23 billion in 2000 to $12.5 billion in 2005 . According to a survey conducted by the American Advertising Federation , the percentage of media budgets allocated to online advertising represented 14.1% in 2005, a figure that is projected to hit 19.1% by 2006. To sell products on the Internet, it is common for manufacturers to advertise their models in banners and comparison tables at third-party comparison portal sites such as shopping.com, shopper.cnet.com, pricegrabber.com, and mysimon.com. Since many customers visit comparison sites before they decide what to order, the online comparison can be used as an important channel of advertisement  and . In those sites, the Internet ads may take various approaches, such as banners as arbitrary reminder, personalized banners as relevant reminder, and/or tabular comparison. When a manufacturer designs a new product, it usually considers targeting competitors’ models to beat the competitors in terms of performance and/or price, particularly when the manufacturer is not the major market leader. For instance, a specific model of notebook PC has competing models that are produced by the market leaders. When a new model is developed that can outperform the competitors’ models, the manufacturer is eager to demonstrate this comparison to customers who are viewing the competing models. In the traditional comparison site, however, the manufacturer has no control over how the comparison is displayed. So it is desirable for the manufacturer to have an opportunity to invoke Comparison Challenges. The CompareMe Challenge can be triggered when a customer browses a competitor’s model, while the CompareThem Challenge can be triggered when the customer browses the manufacturer’s own model  and . In either case, the basic brand power and trust in the manufacturer and information provider will be required to attract the customer’s attention and encourage the customer to click on the comparison  and . Suppose the performance and price of a product outperform those of the competitor’s displayed item. As illustrated in Fig. 1, the manufacturer will be eager to shout “Compare Me!”. To be more informative, the term “Me” may be replaced by the specific name of the company or model. Since the comparison will precisely contrast the performance and price, the manufacturer will not be motivated to challenge another product unless their products are competitive in at least certain respects. This implies that the burden of unnecessary comparison can be screened out by the nature of the comparison challenge. Thus we can expect that the comparison will be more relevant, informative, and timely than traditional tabular comparison.When a third-party portal site allows manufacturers to attach the “CompareMe” button at the request of a challenger, this can provide the opportunity of active comparison (in contrast with traditional passive comparison in tables) and just-in-time advertising that would not be possible in physical marketplaces. The “CompareThem” button may be browsed at the manufacturer’s own site to enable a comparison that demonstrates the superiority of the manufacturer’s products without visiting other sites. Nevertheless, it is the customer who ultimately decides whether to click the CompareMe button for comparison or not. The comparison challenge can be found in real-world sites such as General Motors’ BuyPower site, shown in Fig. 2, which compares GM’s model with other vehicles . Lee and Lee  and  developed a prototype system of CompareMe at http://compareme.kut.ac.kr (see Fig. 1), and were awarded a patent for the comparison challenge approach. No commercial sites provide the comparison challenge services yet.The remaining part of this paper is organized as follows. The relevant literature on Internet advertising, comparative advertising, and the importance of considering brand power and trust are reviewed in Section 2. To develop a framework of advertising by the comparison challenge approach, we analyze 12 factors that determine the characteristics of comparison. To measure the value of online comparison from the challenging manufacturer’s point of view, we define comparison as valuable if the comparison provides relevant, advantageous, and trustworthy information at the right level of detail. This issue is analyzed in Section 3, and demonstrated with real-world data for PC selection in Section 4. When a manufacturer has a small number of products to submit for challenges and the competitors have a small number of models to challenge, the planning for the comparison challenge is relatively straightforward. The manufacturer may simply find the comparison sites that provide such challenges. However, when the numbers are large, it is a non-trivial problem for a manufacturer to select its own and the competitors’ items to challenge and determine appropriate comparison sites. To assist this comparison challenge planning, we propose a mathematical programming model in Section 5 that maximizes the value of comparison under the constraints of comparison opportunity and budget. The performance of this model is experimentally tested using 85 models of desktop PCs manufactured by Dell, HP, Compaq, Gateway, and IBM in Section 6, and contrasted with the random banner approach and similarity-based comparison approach.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The types of Internet advertisements are analyzed and the comparison challenge approach is proposed as a new way of manufacturer challenged, just-in-time advertising. To develop the framework of the comparison challenge, we analyzed 12 factors that determine the taxonomy of comparison and propose a framework for the valuable comparison challenge. The framework regards a comparison challenge as valuable if the compared objects are relevant; the level of detail is appropriate; the comparison confirms the superiority of a subject over an object; and the information in the comparison is trustworthy. We proposed the CompareMe and CompareThem strategies depending upon the triggering point of comparison challenges, and classified the compared objects in terms of price and performance dominance as well as the category of salient factor such as CPU in the PC domain. The value of the comparison is defined as the difference in price and performance between a challenger’s subject product and the compared objects. The idea is demonstrated in the PC domain with examples from five leading manufacturers. To assist the planning of a comparison challenge, a mathematical programming model was formulated to maximize the comparison value under the constraints of the comparison opportunity and budget. The model was applied to eight scenarios in terms of the range of comparing objects. The model used a real-world example of PCs, with the performances of different companies’ policies contrasted with one another. The comparison value is maximized in the region in which items outperform others either in price or performance, providing more comparison opportunity. However, the advertising value/expense ratio could be maximized with the items that outperform both in price and function. We demonstrated with an experimental data set that the comparison value maximization model can significantly enhance the value of comparison in contrast to the random banner and simple similarity-based comparison. The limitations of this research provide good opportunities for follow-on research topics. For the experiment, we could not empirically collect real-world data because, at this early stage of research, no commercial comparison portal site implements the comparison challenge approach yet. Empirical studies on the impact of the comparison challenge approach on the click-and-buy ratio are important because the screening effect and the learning effect in which experienced customers discover comparison value will influence the click-and-buy rate in the future. The effect of brand on the click-and-buy ratio in the comparison shopping context will be a very interesting research issue as well. Overall, the customer behavior in terms of clicking the comparison challenges is another topic to be investigated in the next stage of research.