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Journal cover: Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

ISSN: 2040-7122
Previously published as: Direct Marketing: An International Journal

Online from: 2010

Subject Area: Marketing

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Usage and success factors of commercial recommendation agents: A consumer qualitative study of MyProductAdvisor.com

Document Information:
Title:Usage and success factors of commercial recommendation agents: A consumer qualitative study of MyProductAdvisor.com
Author(s):Muhammad Aljukhadar, (HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada), Sylvain Senecal, (HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Citation:Muhammad Aljukhadar, Sylvain Senecal, (2011) "Usage and success factors of commercial recommendation agents: A consumer qualitative study of MyProductAdvisor.com", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 5 Iss: 2/3, pp.130 - 152
Keywords:Consumer behaviour, Decision support systems, Design theory, Grounded theory research, Intelligent recommendation agents, Internet, Qualitative research, Recommendation agent usage, Success factors
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17505931111187776 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The paper is part of the doctoral work of the first author. This research was financed by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, and the RBC Research Chair in e-commerce at HEC Montreal. This research has benefited from remarks at the 12th International Conference on Electronic Commerce, University of Honolulu at Manoa, Hawaii, August 2010.

Purpose – Since their inception, which took place more than two decades ago, product recommendation agents (RAs) still attract very few consumers. Notably, most of academic work in the field had an empirical quantitative structure. In addition, no research has developed a comprehensive model to explain the adoption and usage of commercial RAs. The purpose of this paper is to follow a qualitative approach to investigate the factors behind the adoption and usage of commercial RAs, explore the effect of user age, and deduce the success factors of these RAs.

Design/methodology/approach – This research followed a qualitative approach. Qualitative research aims to form an in-depth understanding of human behavior. It is essential for building grounded theory and for proposing comprehensive models for future examination. As such, in four discussion groups, participants provided their input following the shopping trial for a product using a factual RA (MyProductAdvisor.com). Discussion groups were used because they outline an important aspect of qualitative research and because they are ideal for both the inception and development of products and services.

Findings – Underlying the major themes, the analysis first provides insight in consumers' RA use and the products consumers regard as adequate to be offered using a commercial RA. The analysis then delineates some important factors that can be considered by developers to enhance the usability and trustworthiness of commercial RAs. Further, the analysis suggested four higher-order factors that can be considered the success factors of a commercial RA: users appear to require a commercial RA that is friendly, smart, trusted, and informational. The themes that emerged from participants in the youth and the older discussion groups were rather invariant.

Originality/value – This is one of the few qualitative studies that focused on commercial RAs. The commercial RA success factors and their determinants are summarized in the form of a general framework to guide future work. This qualitative work provides a cornerstone that is of importance to theory development in the field of intelligent RAs and assistive technology. The results have important implications for RAs' developers and researchers.

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