Start your brilliant career with a degree from Australia's #1 ranked university.


Find contact details for any general enquiries.

Engage with us

Find contact details for any general enquiries.

Study with us

Our graduates gain the knowledge and skills to lead organisations, develop public policy, create new companies and undertake research.

Our research

Our research is focused on issues that are highly significant for organisations, the Australian economy, and society at large.

Current student resources

Whether you're a new or continuing student, you can find everything you need here about managing your program and the opportunities available to you.


Our alumni may be found in the world’s leading companies, policy agencies and universities.

Contact us

Find contact details for any general enquiries.

Effectiveness of Website Personalization: Does the Presence of Personalized Recommendations Cannibalize Sampling of Other Items?

Effectiveness of Website Personalization

Susanna (Shuk Ying) Ho and David Bodoff

With advances in personalization technologies, websites are increasingly able to customize Web content and provide users with a unique experience. Prior research has focused more on the appeal of the personalized recommendations themselves and examined user behavior toward the personalized recommendations. However, prior research has not compared the total volume of users’ sampling activity on websites that offer personalization, compared to those that do not.

This motivates our interest in an extended study of the totality of users’ sampling behavior on the website when personalized recommendations are present. Where prior work has focused on the amount of sampling of the personalized items themselves, we define two additional indicators that characterize a consumer’s sampling behavior on a website that has both stock and personalized items: (1) the total volume of sampling to include both stock and personalized items, and (2) the pattern of sampling between personalized and stock items. Based on consumer search theory (CST) and a simulation analysis, we propose hypotheses about consumers’ behavior on these expanded outcomes, and test them in a longitudinal field study.

We find that subjects sample personalized items before stock items, and sample fewer items in total when personalized recommendations are available. In addition, subjects engage in less sampling as time goes on, across sessions.

Theoretically, this research brings the CST perspective to the literature on website personalization. Practically, this research sheds light on the precise nature of the benefit and possible drawbacks of personalization from the merchant’s perspective.

Updated:   8 March 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team