Personalization that uses information technology to tailor content and products/services to the preferences and tastes of individual customers has become a useful function for online marketing. Many techniques have been developed, and research on personalized services has increased substantially in recent years. Several theories have been proposed to explain the effect of positive consumer attitude toward personalized services such as reducing information overload and the Elaboration Likelihood Model. These theories are grounded on a rational perspective. As personalization can be treated as an empathic response to the service receivers, we cannot ignore the role of emotion in a relationship building process. In this paper, we propose the relationship building (or Guanxi in Chinese) perspective in investigating the effectiveness of personalization, which treats intimate experience resulting from personalized response as an important factor to affect the receivers’ attitude towards the personalized recommendation. We conducted a controlled laboratory experiment on personalized recommendation to examine the role of intimacy in affecting consumer attitudes. Our findings indicated that intimate experience does mediate the effect of personalized response on consumer attitudes toward the recommendation. The results and findings provide valuable information to practitioners and researchers.
Liang, Ting-Peng; Li, Yu-Wen; and Turban, Efraim, "PERSONALIZED SERVICES AS EMPATHIC RESPONSES: THE ROLE OF INTIMACY" (2009). PACIS 2009 Proceedings. 73.