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Reaching the Customer through High-touch and Low-touch Items

Goods and services that can take digital form are obvious examples of items that can be traded easily online.
Within the limits of current technology, some goods seem to sell well electronically and others do not. The simplest distinction here is between high-touch and low-touch products.

High-touch and low-touch items

High-touch items are those that customers prefer to see and feel before they buy. Historically, low-touch items have sold best on the Web to date, but the distinction is blurring.

High Touch versus Low Touch

High Touch is a business model that requires above average interaction with customers, whereas low touch requires minimal interaction and is transactional. Think of a KFC where the chicken is served either original or extra crispy. The drive through is a low-touch place where the customers can order over a microphone, pull up, swipe their card and say
I would like to have a 2 piece wing meal.
High touch would be a restaurant where the waiter introduces himself or herself and says:
May I start you off with something to drink?
Then talks about the guest's evening, recommends some meals, then offers wine based on their meal choices, and follows up with
Is anyone here interested in desert?


Virtual Realistic Previews

As noted previously, another benefit of Internet recruiting is that it may allow organizations to provide a virtual realistic preview to job applicants. Realistic job previews (RJP) are typically used to ensure that the naive expectations of job candidates are brought more in line with organizational realities. Most research on RJPs has shown that their use increases employee satisfaction levels and reduces turnover rates. Thus, organizations have long used organizational brochures or videotapes to provide applicants with a realistic preview of the job or organizational environment.
The Internet can easily and inexpensively be used to provide job candidates with a "virtual" preview of a job or show them what it is like to work for the organization. For example, Ford Motor Company presents applicants with a series of typical situations they might encounter on the job to ensure that candidates know what to expect in the organization. Such "high-tech-high-touch" approaches to RJPs should provide an important alternative to using brochures that are traditionally less flexible and often more expensive than online systems. In addition, virtual job previews may offer more detailed, current information than traditional brochures and allow candidates to personalize the recruitment process by indicating their preferences for working arrangements (e.g., telework, on-site training).

New ways of reaching the customer

The eBusiness solution must look at new ways of addressing the customer:
  1. Expectations of direct ""touch and feel" interaction with the product
  2. Need for virtual personal, human guidance
  3. Acceptance of technologies supporting tailor-made or customized products

Emerging solutions

In winning over the B2C customer, the online model gives up many of the benefits of the in-person hard sell, which is particularly important for the sale of big-ticket items.
Although the list above describes some of the common challenges faced by eBusinesses today, with the rapid change of technology, solutions to these problems are emerging.