eComWorld January 2001

Whether you make personal resolutions or not, the list for e-commerce makes interesting reading. In this sector - in the wake of stories throughout 2000 of failed dot-coms - it pays to learn from the experiences of others who have been through the same process. Like personal resolutions, many of the issues discussed this month are directed at improving trouble areas in the previous year.

Clearly, what works in one instance may not in another, but it's useful to take a hard look at these difficult areas and start to think of ways to make improvements at this early stage in the new year. While most resolutions are focused on improving specific areas of a business, like customer services, some make valuable starting points for discussion on how Australian businesses can be successful in the new economy.

For some time, many industry observers have suggested that a key part of our participation in e-commerce is the involvement of SMEs - a sector that makes up a huge part of the Australian economy. There's been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the numbers of SMEs online, but little in the way of useful, practical advice that smaller businesses can use in their everyday operations.

Many companies, meanwhile, are getting out and trying new things. Innovations like Wishlist's agreement with BP to give customers greater choice and flexibility in delivery show that Australian companies can mix with the best dot-coms when it comes to thinking up great new ideas.

The Wishlist/BP deal is also an example of another point made this month: that Australian companies need to work towards fitting their business models to the local conditions, rather than importing ideas from overseas.

There are no easy answers to the challenges facing companies online this year, but we hope that this month's eComWorld provides a starting point for thinking about the agenda for 2001.

And to ensure we can measure the progression towards our goal of 2001 web sites online by 2001, we invite you to register your business's Web site with us. We'll be providing an online directory - categorised by industry, business and site type - for our readers, consumers and other businesses alike.

To register your site, follow the links at http://ecomworld.com.au.

We hope you enjoy the January edition of eComWorld, out now. If you have any suggestions, comments, or ideas for case studies, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at deanne_macintosh@idg.com.au.

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