Head or Tail? An Integrative Analysis of Customer Value and Product Portfolio

Ta-You Lee


In prior e-commerce research, two distinct viewpoints––the customer-based view and the product-based
view––were studied separately to determine optimal consumer marketing strategies. The former focuses on
customer browsing/searching/purchasing behaviors to discover valuable customers; the latter concentrates on
product popularity to discover optimal product portfolios. Recent research has shifted the focus from popularity
towards the long-tail phenomenon and its driving factors; however, little is known about efficient and effective
methods to promote the right (e.g. head- or tail-) products to the right (e.g. VIP or Non-VIP) customers. The
current study integrates these two viewpoints to provide greater insights and thereby develop more
comprehensive marketing strategies. Our findings show that VIP customers make the majority of long-tail
purchases. Moreover, apart from their high number of head- and tail-product purchases, they also display distinct
website browsing/searching behaviors compared to Non-VIP customers. Finally, we identify five customer
segments and outline corresponding marketing strategies.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijbm.v5n12p51

International Journal of Business and Management   ISSN 1833-3850 (Print)   ISSN 1833-8119 (Online)

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