Smart Shopping Websites

How smart is your Website?

Now researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management hope to make websites better at selling products by making them adapt automatically to each visitor, presenting information in a way that complements that person’s style of thinking.

Adaptive Website
Morphing to fit the user: Based on a user’s pattern of clicks, the prototype website for British Telecom, shown above, changes to fit the user by making a guess at the user’s cognitive style. For example, after determining whether he or she thinks in holistic or analytic terms, the website adapts to a form that it deems most likely to sell products to that user.

The researchers’ initial studies show that morphing a website to suit different types of visitors could increase the site’s sales by about 20 percent. While quite a few sites, such as Amazon.com, offer personalized features, many of those sites adapt by drawing information from user profiles, stored cookies, or long questionnaires. The Sloan system, however, adapts to unknown users within the first few clicks on the website by analyzing each user’s pattern of clicks.

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