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Doing E-Business: Strategies for Thriving in an Electronic Marketplace / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
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Strategies for becoming a fully functional E-business
This book provides executives, managers, and entrepreneurs with practical ideas and techniques that will help them improve the way they implement and manage E-commerce and E-business. The authors have been E-business strategy consultants for over a decade, and this book is based on their experiences working with hundreds of Fortune 500 companies and dot com startups. The book is filled with examples of how companies across industries have used the Internet to sell in business-to-business E-marketplaces, as well as direct to consumers, and the problems they have encountered in the process. The book also covers many topics that other E-business books miss, including the impact of the Net's underground economy and how to involve customers emotionally with a Web-based business.
David Taylor and Alyse Terhune (Stamford, CT) founded eMarket Holdings, LLC, an E-business strategy consulting firm in 1999. They have been e-commerce and e-business consultants for over a decade, primarily at Gartner Group, Inc.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: E-Consumers: Power to the PeopleInformation is power, or so the saying goes. If true, then Internet-enabled consumers should be some of the most powerful people in the world. But the reality is that the Internet only offers people the potential to use its information to become more powerful. Few consumers realize this potential. In fact, many of the consumers we talked with felt more overwhelmed than powerful, because of the glut of information available online. What most consumers want is the power to get the information they want and, more important, avoid the information they don't want. Of course, a big part of the information consumers don't want is the advertising that pays for the information they do want. Can you say "catch-22"? Consumers don't want to pay for information either, as we'll discuss later in this chapter.
One empowering aspect of the Internet, beyond simple access to information, comes from a reduced dependency on others. Take, for example, individual investors. No longer dependent on brokers, who get their information from analysts, who get their information from the press releases and the management of the companies they recommend, individual investors are now able to get those same press releases, marketing hype, and other information directly from the web sites of the companies in which they are considering investing. Better than that, there are over 20,000 infomediary web sites aimed at individual investors, all trying to empower them with information (that is closely intermingled with advertising). There are sites that rate the other sites, and even metamediary sites that offer a list of the best rating sites. The meredescription of the market is overwhelming!
Savvy Internet users are those who figure out a method for integrating the dozens or hundreds of information and advisory sources to reach better conclusions than they might have reached by depending on a single source, such as a stockbroker. Less savvy Internet users are those who wind up accepting the advice of someone pointing to an investor bulletin board, because they appear not to have a hidden agenda. This strategy for using the Internet for investment (or other types of) advice looks particularly questionable when one considers the case of Jonathon Lebed, a 15-year-old boy who made $273,000 by buying stocks and then hyping them using aliases on Yahoo! Finance. His case illustrates the hidden agenda of many who give advice online.
Many consumers seem to have traded trust for power. Instead of blindly trusting their doctors, bankers, and brokers to be experts, an increasing percentage of consumers has chosen to second-guess these professionals by spending their days, nights, and weekends doing the research that they used to entrust to others. This process can be used to reduce transaction costs (e.g., stock trading commissions, banking fees, number of doctor visits) and may keep people from blindly accepting advice. On the downside, empowering consumers is also creating an air of what we would call global skepticism-a general mistrust of the ability of others to do their job and to act responsibly. Thus, Internet-empowered consumers also tend to be distrustful, skeptical, and even downright cynical. This is important for the management of corporations to understand, as they must develop new types of messages and new delivery vehicles designed to respond to these empowered, distrustful consumers.
While it is easy to say that the Internet has caused a major shift in the balance of power to the consumer, we found that most of the Internet-using consumers we talked to are really not doing much to actually use the information they find online. Even though customers now have better information than customer service representatives or the average salesperson, most people are not using this information to negotiate a better deal.
One of the informal tests we conducted for this book was to go to corporate web sites of shipping companies, car dealers, banks, brokerage houses, phone companies, and other companies where price information, account status, and other transaction information is available online. The purpose of our test was to see whether we, as moderately sophisticated, nontechnical Internet users, could use the power of Internet information to get a better deal or special treatment, or just to overwhelm salespeople and customer service representatives with our superior information. Our results were not scientific, as there was no sampling procedure...
Table of Contents
E-Consumers: Power to the People.
Building E-Motionally Involving E-Businesses.
From E-Tailing to Consumer Automation.
Building and Managing Microbrands.
Can Customer Loyalty Survive the Web?
How to Compete with the Unknown.
Web Channel Conflict.
The End of Fixed Pricing.
Emerging E-Commerce Business Models.
The Evolution of B2B E-Markets.
Collaborative Business Communities.
E-Business Technologies: Realizing Their Potential.
Conclusion: Top E-Business Trends and Practical Strategies.
Appendix: Selected Web Sites Used or Referenced in Our Research.