Retention by Entertainment: How Companies Utilize Web Sites to Strengthen Customer Relationships


The emergence of the Internet as a tool for customer acquisition and retention has led to profound changes in the way companies communicate with their (prospective) customers. This paper analyzes the way how entertainment services on Web sites are used for building relationships with customers. Whereas other media suffer from a significant trade-off between the amount and the quality of content that can be delivered, the Internet breaks down those limitations and allows for a high level of interactivity. Even companies with so-called low involvement products can utilize entertainment services (such as online games) to attract customers to their Web sites. A total of 199 Austrian Web sites were analyzed according to the existence of online information and entertainment services. Subsequently we concentrated only on the latter and conducted a two-round Delphi study in order to create a framework for a categorization scheme. The last phase will be a factor analysis, scheduled for Spring 2004, whereby we will reduce the total of 86 features and 70 goals, that came out as a result of the Delphi study. Our completed research intends to find out what entertainment factors are suitable for building relationships and what goals companies are striving to achieve.

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