E-commerce turns up the heat

In 1999, Internet users will be more prone to ask a business for its Web site address than its telephone number, and 25 per cent of all Web surfers will buy something online, according to a London-based electronic commerce group.

These are among some of the predictions from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), an e-commerce membership group and consultancy that looked into the future with an aim to forecast what's in store for online vendors and consumers this year.

"People won't ask, 'What's on the Internet?', they will expect everything to be on the Internet," IMRG said in its report. The products most commonly purchased over the Internet will be travel, computers and software, financial services, books, music, clothes, toys, cars and real estate, IMRG said.

And consumers won't be content to sit back and accept the prices listed. Buyers will form "communities" that use their collective power to drive lower-cost deals with merchants, IMRG said. Also, surfers will begin to expect free connectivity from Internet service providers, who will sign cross-marketing deals with online vendors.

However, all is not rosy. Most e-commerce vendors will not turn a profit this year but will instead continue to invest in brand-building and marketing with a longer-term vision in mind, IMRG said. The market will also see a lot of consolidation of online vendors, with several vendors often coming together to sell products in a "corner shop" setup. U.S. retailers will flood into Europe, where the market is just beginning to develop.

If European companies don't begin to wake up to the importance of e-commerce this year, they will suffer for years to come as a consequence, IMRG said. And those companies that do have e-commerce sites in place, but don't have a robust enough technical back-end to support a large amount of orders, will also find themselves sidelined by more nimble and fast-moving players. On the other side of the coin, companies that have great Web sites but don't invest enough in marketing will also miss out on sales.

Another foreboding prediction for Europe is that venture capitalists and investors will continue to "completely fail to adequately fund the online retail industry" this year and that European entrepreneurs will continue to head to the U.S. to launch their businesses.

Among some of IMRG's more controversial predictions are that several major European banks will "disappear" because they have failed to grasp the idea of e-commerce and that online shoppers will secure payments and identify themselves to merchants using a scan of their iris. In addition, IMRG says that "Internet time," where time is measured in a different realm online, will become more prevalent as a means to remove time zones and geographical borders.

And one last prediction? That the creation of home-spun sites will create the first teenage e-commerce millionaires in 1999.

More information on IMRG can be found at http://www.imrg.org/.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kristi Essick

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?