Quantitative Characterization and Prediction of On-Line Purchasing Behavior: A Latent Variable Approach

Alfredo Vellido, Paulo J.G. Lisboa, and Karon Meehan
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 4, Number 4, Summer 2000, pp. 83.

Abstract: Realizing the full potential of the on-line consumer market requires careful identification of customer needs and expectations. As research on Internet consumer behavior is still in its infancy, a quantitative framework to characterize user profiles for e-commerce has not yet been established. This study proposes a quantitative framework that uses factor analysis to identify latent factor descriptors of Internet users’ opinions on Web vendors and on-line shopping. Predictive models based on logistic discrimination and neural networks then select the factors most predictive of the propensity to buy on-line and classify Internet users accordingly. The application of this framework shows that the obtained latent factors agree in general with the major indicators identified in previous qualitative research. A small subset of the obtained factors is shown to retain the predictive power of the whole set. Neural networks are found to perform only marginally better than logistic discrimination in the task of classification.

Key Words and Phrases
: Latent variable analysis, neural networks, on-line shopping, purchasing power.