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How Information Search On The Internet Affects The Level Of Involvement

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Introduction

With the development of technology and internet, there is an increase amount of people who are able to access to the internet and the World Wide Web. The internet has provide a medium for people from all around the world to be connected and engaged in a whole list of activities that include online shopping, online chat, information search and etc.

As seen in the case study, Grace Morrish was engaging herself in some forms of information search before she was performed a purchase of the toaster online at Amazon.com. The tool that she uses for information search was the Google search engine, Google directory and the Epinions. After she had searched for her information, she engaged herself in online shopping and purchasing at www.epinions.com and www.amazon.com. The following provides an overview of the tools that Grace had used in her process of information search and online shopping.

A brief background about Google and Google directory

Google Inc was set up back in September 1998; Google designs and manages search engines that are commonly used on the internet. The business model of Goggle mainly revolved around its search engine and a list of tools that assist the consumers in searching of various sources of information like images, updated news and etc.

The search engine is widely used by users online as a gateway to information. It is believed that the Google search engine received approximately a billion of search request everyday. And the popularity of the search engine can be seen from the study done by AC Nielsen cited from Wikipedia, "According to the Nielsen cabinet, Google is the most popular search engine on the web with a 54% market share, ahead of Yahoo! (23%) and MSN (13%)." (Wikipedia contributors, 30 July 2006, "Google", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Viewed 31 July 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Google&oldid=66704786. )

Under the list of tool that Google has in its search engine, there is one particular tool is the "Google directory". This Google directory was set up in April 2000 is actually a subset of the Google's database that arranges the results into subcategories. This will help the consumers to narrow down their search and reduce the time taken to filter the information available. (Wikipedia contributors, 30 July 2006, "Google", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Viewed 31 July 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Google&oldid=66704786..)

Brief background of E- commerce

As mentioned by Rosen (2000), Electronic commerce or E-commerce actually covers the range of online business activities for both products and services through the internet. E-commerce can exist either in the form of business to business (B2B) or a business to consumer (B2C). It can be broken down into 2 main sections: Online shopping and online purchasing.

1. Online shopping

Online shopping refers to the activities that the consumers go through when purchasing a product or service over the internet. Online shopping is popular because of its speed and ease of use.

(Wikipedia contributors, 31 July 2006, "Online shop," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia Viewed 31 July 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Online_shop&oldid=66783190)

When Grace was browsing through Epinions, she was actually engaging in online shopping as it provide her with the information that she needs before making the decision to buy the toaster.

2. Online purchasing

It is been defined by Rosen (2000, pg 5) as the "technology infrastructure for the exchange of data and the purchase of a product over the Internet."

This is about how the website, eg Amazon.com, uses the system to facilitate the exchange of data between the website and the consumers. If this system is well developed, it will encourage more consumers to purchase from your website.

Epinions (www.epinions.com)

Epinions was established in 1999, currently owned by Ebay after the company that owned Epinions was acquired by Ebay in 2005. Epinions is a website whereby users or consumers actually post their post purchase evaluation and personal view of a particular product on the website with the aim of providing an overview of what the consumers expect from the purchase of the product. Consumers from all over the world can contribute their opinions and review as long as they have the access of the internet and register with the website.

Previously, Epinions had an Eroyalties plan and Income Share Plan. The Eroyalties plan actually pay writers based on the times that their reviews are been read by users. However, it was abolished when the payment of per review gradually decrease. The Income Share Plan is still an ongoing program whereby reviewers are rewarded based on how much their reviews had assisted the user in making the decision of which item to purchase.

Generally, the website has been used by consumers as a source of information that helps them to make decision in the decision- making process. (Wikipedia contributors, 31 July 2006, "Epinions," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, viewed 31 July 2006,

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Epinions&oldid=66855235)

1. Given Grace's recent online shopping behaviour, is buying a toaster still a low involvement process for her or has her increased information search turned this decision into an extended problem- solving situation?

With the development of technology, the amount of information that the consumers can access readily via the various methods such as via internet, magazine and other media sources also increase. With the availability of the information, it has influences the way consumers made their decision.

The 3 types of decision making; habitual, limited, and extensive, are influenced by the source and amount of information search, and hence will determine the alternative evaluation stage. Ultimately, it is the level of involvement that derives the amount of information search and the alternative evaluation criteria.

The level of involvement in each purchase decision is highly dependent on the consumers' perception of the importance and intensity of interest of the product in a particular situation. (Brown, A n.d., BUAD 301, Introduction to Marketing, Spring 1996, viewed 30 July 2006 http://www.udel.edu/alex/chapt6.html)

According to Peter and Olson (2005, Pg 88) "Involvement is a motivational state

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