Since 1995, the four of us have had a very active program of research on electronic commerce. We have published more than 20 refereed articles on this topic and have collectively given dozens of seminars on electronic commerce in more than 20 countries for a wide range of corporations and universities. We have tested and refined our ideas by working with corporations to develop electronic commerce strategies. The focus of our work has been to address fundamental issues that are common to many business practitioners. Thus, we have frequently emphasized the strategic elements of electronic commerce. In particular, we have explored the impact that Internet technology has on marketing strategy and practice. We have reflected on the feedback provided by many who have attended our seminars, workshops, and classes, and commented on our publications. As a result, we have refined and honed our thinking, and this book represents the culmination of these efforts. This book reports the results of our research. It is written both for practitioners and business students. Managers wishing to understand how electronic commerce is revolutionizing business will find that our comprehensive coverage of essential business issues (e.g., pricing and distribution) answers many of their questions. Advanced business students (junior, seniors, and graduate students) will find that the blend of academic structure and practical examples provides an engaging formula for learning. We live in exciting times. It is a rare event for an economy to move from one form to another. We are participating in the transition from the industrial to the information age. We all have an opportunity to participate in this historic event. The extent to which you partake in this revolution is determined, in part, by your desire to facilitate change and your understanding of how new economy operates. We hope this book inspires you to become an electronic commerce change agent and also provide the wherewithal to understand what can be changed and how it can be changed.
A finer grained approach to market development is to create a one-to-one customized interactions between the vendor and buyer. Bank of America offers customers the opportunity to construct their own bank by pulling together the elements of the desired banking service. Thus, customers adapt the Website to their needs. Even more advanced is an approach where the website is adaptive. Using demographic data and the history of previous interactions, the website creates a tailored experience for the visitor. Any firm establishing a Web presence, no matter how small or localized, instantly enter global marketing. The firm's message can be watched and heard by anyone with web access. Small firms can market to the entire Internet world with a few pages on the web. The economies of scale and scope enjoyed by large organizations are considerably diminished. Small producers do not have to negotiate the business practices of foreign climes in order to expose their products to new markets. They can safely venture forth electronically from their home base. Finally,the Web can be used to diversify a business by taking new products new markets. American Express Direct is using a web site to go beyond its traditional traveler's checks, credit cards, and travel service business by providing on-line facilities to purchase mutual funds, annuities, and equities. In this case, the diversification is not particularly far from the core business, but it is feasible that many firms will set up entirely new businesses in entirely new markets.
Electronic commerce offers many opportunities to reformulate traditional modes of business. Disintermediation, the elimination of intermediaries such as brokers and dealers, is one possible outcome in some industries. Some speculate that electronic commerce will result in widespread disintermediation, which makes it a strategic issue that most firms should carefully address. A closer analysis enables us to provide some guidance on identifying those industries least, and most, threatened by disintermediation. Consider the case of Manheim Auctions. It auctions cars for auto makers (at the termination of a lease) and rental companies (when they wish to retire a car). As an intermediary, it is part of a chain that starts with the car owner (lessor or rental company) and ends with the consumer. In a truncated value chain, Manheim and the car dealer are deleted. The car's owner sells directly to the consumer. Given the Internet's capability of linking these parties, it is not surprising that moves are already afoot to remove the auctioneer. Edmunds, publisher of hard-copy and Web-based guides to new and used cars, is linking with a large autoleasing company to offer direct buying to customers. Cars returned at the end of the lease will be sold with a warranty, and financing will be arranged through the Web site. No dealers will be involved. The next stage is for car manufacturers to sell directly to consumers, a willingness Toyota has expressed and that large U.S. auto makers are considering. On the other hand, a number of dealers are seeking to link themselves to customers through the Internet via the Autobytel Web site. Consumers contacting this site provide information on the vehicle desired and are directed to a dealer in their area who is willing to offer them a very low markup on the desired vehicle.
No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...