Title: Playing cat and mouse: consumer empowerment and marketing interactions on the internet

Authors: Inma Rodriguez-Ardura, Francisco J. Martinez-Lopez

Addresses: Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Avda. Tibidabo 39–43, 08035 Barcelona, Spain. ' University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Abstract: Since the internet was first used in the business world, researchers have been asking whether consumers have more power when they make their purchases using this channel and whether this makes electronic markets more efficient. No definitive answers for these questions have yet been found. The current work analyses the power game between consumers and companies online. The work considers the sources of consumer empowerment on the internet and the marketing initiatives that firms develop, which sometimes reduce consumers| power. The work also analyses the impact of these two factors on electronic markets in light of evidence from the literature examining their supposed greater efficiency. The article identifies various sources of power for the online consumer and stresses that different groups of consumers exercise this power at different levels of intensity.

Keywords: internet; consumer empowerment; electronic marketing; market efficiency; prices; marketing interaction; e-marketing; internet marketing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBE.2008.019512

International Journal of Business Environment, 2008 Vol.2 No.2, pp.201 - 214

Published online: 14 Jul 2008 *

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