Using the Internet to Build Customer Relationships: Case Study of Virtual Businesses in Taiwan

Chung-Chuan Yang
Yuan Se Institute of Technology, Taiwan

Abstract

Several new marketing communication paradigms have been introduced recently to help businesses cope with increasing competition in the global marketplace. These include integrated marketing communication (IMC), relationship or one-to-one marketing, database marketing, and others. These new marketing paradigms are a result of the Information Revolution, which has dramatically changed how business is to be done. With the increasing popularity of the Internet and the World Wide Web, more businesses have gone into the venture of setting up virtual stores in cyberspace. In Taiwan, the Commerce Administration, under the Ministry of Economics, will allocate US$19 million to conduct the first pilot Cybermall Initiative in 1997.

Although the importance of building and maintaining customer relationships has been realized by most businesses, there is little or no discussion on how and whether customer relationships should be built in cyberspace. In this research, over 250 Taiwanese cyberstores currently present in the Internet are surveyed through e-mailed or faxed questionnaires.

This paper examines the following questions:

  1. Do these businesses consider building customer relationships to be important to their success in cyberspace?
  2. What strategies and tactics have been implemented to build cybercustomer relationships?
  3. What empirical evidence is available about the success or failure of these strategies or tactics?

This paper provides an exploratory, but detailed, description of current practices for building customer relationships in Taiwan's cyberstores. Findings from this study will help future implementation and revision of relationship-building strategies and tactics.