Virtual advisors often increase sales for those customers who find such online advice to be convenient and helpful. However, other customers take a more active role in their purchase decisions and prefer more detailed data. In general, we expect that websites are more preferred and increase sales if their characteristics (e.g., more detailed data) match customers' cognitive styles (e.g., more analytic). “Morphing” involves automatically matching the basic “look and feel” of a website, not just the content, to cognitive styles. We infer cognitive styles from clickstream data with Bayesian updating. We then balance exploration (learning how morphing affects purchase probabilities) with exploitation (maximizing short-term sales) by solving a dynamic program (partially observable Markov decision process). The solution is made feasible in real time with expected Gittins indices. We apply the Bayesian updating and dynamic programming to an experimental BT Group (formerly British Telecom) website using data from 835 priming respondents. If we had perfect information on cognitive styles, the optimal “morph” assignments would increase purchase intentions by 21%. When cognitive styles are partially observable, dynamic programming does almost as well—purchase intentions can increase by almost 20%. If implemented system-wide, such increases represent approximately $80 million in additional revenue.
Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (03-04)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:202-223. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.