1. Variables in the Purchasing Environment
Nowadays, more and more people shop online for convenience and time saving. WHSmith UK Retail, a multi-channel retailer, gets benefits from such environment. It is made up of 553 high street stores, 220 travel stores and WHSmith.co.uk, serving customers on the internet world-wide. The Direct division provides the WHSmith offer across several digital channels wherever and whenever the customers choose to shop, such as shopping with www. WHSmith.co.uk on the Internet as well as visiting their stores, on interactive Digital TV through Sky Active, Telewest and NTL, or by telephone. The Direct division offers a range of over 2.1 million products and sales peak after most of the High Street stores have closed. Its customers would receive regular updates via e-mail on the latest releases and offers. Furthermore, as 24/7 online shopping, WHSmith.co.uk offers customers a choice of flexible and affordable Internet connection packages through WHSmith net, including Broadband.
Free WHSmithnet disks can be picked up in store for customers to learn about it and in April 2000, it launched Internet access in 20 stores ('What').
Many online retailers make good use of personalization and customer data to operate business effectively and efficiently, so dose WHSmith.co.uk.. On its web site, it is categorized into several categories, including shopping by person, shopping by price and dividing its products into varieties, such as books, stationery, gifts & cards, DVD&, etc., in order to offer different ways of shopping varying from customer to customer. WHSmith.co.uk achieves personalization through collaborative filtering. When customers click a product to look through in detail, "Browse for products similar to this one" will appear on the screen under the product, offering much more choices to customers, which hypothesizes that customers may buy the similar products (www.whsmith.co.uk/whs/go.asp). On the...