E-commerce has long been awash with statistics. You can now purchase from the web readymade PowerPoint slides containing compelling statistics about e-commerce, just in case you need to pep up your own pitch to the board or your investors.
Most introductions to the topic have opened with predictions of mouth-watering revenues:
Billions of dollars generated in sales of goods and services and implementers of e-commerce systems. The hard facts and figures that made headlines following 1998’s holiday season are now beginning to the take over as motivators. There’s action in e-commerce, or e-business, or e-whatever. Most business people know they need to be a part of it. But what is it? The e-numbers are palatable; but what’s the story?
Many definitions of e-commerce exist and all are useful to some extent. For most people e-commerce means selling items over the World Wide Web. Some people include charging for web content. Others concentrate on the sale of advertising space on websites and e-mail. Zilch Buy Now Pay Later
Along with these voices are those who argue e-commerce isn’t just about the transacting with consumers, but it’s also crucially concerned with inter-business trading. If you listen to too many hardware, software, and service vendors, you will come away with the dizzy sense that just about anything and everything can be e-commerce.
There’s no agreement about what e-commerce is or what it might come to be, because e-commerce is the next big thing. In the cynical interpretation of that phrase, e-commerce is a magic marketing word that can be literally sprinkled on any dish.
Whatever e-commerce is, it attracts attention. In the more positive interpretation, e-commerce is a fundamental change in the way business is done. E-commerce is perceived as the next wave in the evolution of business and it is where we are all migrating.
Businesses aim to create dialogues that are relevant to the individual customer condition and concerns. In a company, the cost of acquiring a customer is a significant variable and the best business. Designing the business for repeated interactions with retained, quality customers is the stated aim of most leading service companies and the implicit aim of companies engaged in sophisticated lifestyle product branding.
If we can no longer simplify the task of adding value to our customers by making some broad assumptions about their wants and needs, then how can we protect the economic efficiency of the corporation? Drawing a chart that shows the ineluctable evolution of a product from mass-produced to individually-demanded is easy, but it’s less easy to identify the evolutionary mechanism that takes us all the way.