Web marketers such as online bookstore Amazon.com are quickly learning that customization can lead to cobranding and Web partnerships. Amazon.com’s innovative electronic commerce endeavors include affiliations with associations, magazines, and catalogs. Through its Amazon Associates program, Amazon creates mini “bookstores” that enable other companies to sell books targeted to their customers. For example, if you visit sailing organization Whitbread’s site, you can link to its bookstore on Amazon’s site and find a selection of books specifically chosen by Whitbread, which you can then order online. Amazon tracks the source of these visitors and earns referral fees from Whitbread. On the b-to-b side, marketers could initiate similar programs with relevant trade organizations or suppliers.
Customized contact with customers can help you learn more about their needs and preferences-and enable you to sell more products. For instance, music Website customers may request recommendations of other albums based on their music choices. Airline Website users may want to sign up for e-mail notifications of sale fares on flights leaving from nearby airports, while customers of an online florist might appreciate an electronic reminder to send flowers on a birthday. B-to-b applications may include electronic notices that it’s time to buy various consumable products, from copy machine toner to coffee machine filters.