Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2011, 59, 51-58
Published online 2014-07-07

Decision support for customers in electronic environments

František Dařena

Ústav informatiky, Mendelova univerzita v Brně, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Česká republika

Due to the rapid spread of computer technologies into day-to-day lives many purchases or purchase-related decisions are made in the electronic environment of the Web. In order to handle information overload that is the result of the availability of many web-based stores, products and services, consumers use decision support aids that help with need recognition, information retrieval, filtering, comparisons and choice making. Decision support systems (DSS) discipline spreads about 40 years back and was mostly focused on assisting managers. However, online environments and decision support in such environments bring new opportunities also to the customers. The focus on decision support for consumers is also not investigated to the large extent and not documented in the literature. Providing customers with well designed decision aids can lead to lower cognitive decision effort associated with the purchase decision which results in significant increase of consumer’s confidence, satisfaction, and cost savings. During decision making process the subjects can chose from several methods (optimizing, reasoning, analogizing, and creating), DSS types (data-, model-, communication-, document-driven, and knowledge-based) and benefit from different modern technologies. The paper investigates popular customer decision making aids, such as search, filtering, comparison, ­e-negotiations and auctions, recommendation systems, social network systems, product design applications, communication support etc. which are frequently related to e-commerce applications. Results include the overview of such decision supporting tools, specific examples, classification according the way how the decisions are supported, and possibilities of applications of progressive technologies. The paper thus contributes to the process of development of the interface between companies and the customers where customer decisions take place.


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