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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: E-Commerce Clutter and Consumer Confusion

Re: E-Commerce Clutter and Consumer Confusion
Posted by: Keith Regan 2002-03-06 17:56:45
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Despite all the upheaval that has taken place to date, it has not gotten easier for a
consumer to navigate the e-commerce landscape. Most sites within a sector present
amazingly similar interfaces. And the current state of confusion fuels the likelihood that
traditional retailers will win the day online with their brand advantage -- unless
pure-plays give consumers a compelling reason to start exploring.

Re: E-Commerce Clutter and Consumer Confusion
Posted by: sterrycal 2002-03-09 22:55:56 In reply to: Keith Regan
Consumers face a fragmented shopping environment online. The need for a central products catalog is evident. A virtual mall leaves the consumer in the predicament described in the article. A centralization of products by manufacturer that includes full catalogs that cover the spectrum of a consumer category would allow shoppers to compare by price, feature, etc. But in order to do that, the catalog information must be on one online infrastructure (website) and should be a place where consumers may actually buy as well as shop and compare to be of any use to the consumer. Today's B2C is retailer-centric (the consumer shops the store catalog). Instead, what is needed is a supplier-centric model where consumers can shop and buy from the supplier's catalog. The trick is to integrate the retailer into the transaction so as not to have conflict between suppliers and their retailers for online sales. Anyone know of such a model?

Re: E-Commerce Clutter and Consumer Confusion
Posted by: phebert 2002-03-08 05:55:50 In reply to: Keith Regan
Is the retail landscape in the real world any "neater" than the one in the virtual world? Even in SmallTown USA, there are malls and there are many boutique shops spread out over the entire town. Each has their benefit and each has their drawback. Why would we expect something different online than what we experience offline?

Think of it this way... when you move to a new town, the first and most comfortable place to shop is the mall. Easy to find, many options, all brand names. Once you are comfortable with the area you start to get more adventurous. You start to hear things (word of mouth) about a new shop in a strip mall somewhere. You go there and you find the "thing" you didn't find at the mall. This shop now becomes a regular stop for you. You don't abandon the mall, but you have added this new shop to your list of places.

The chaos we feel on the web is driven by the fact that I can have smaller and smaller market share and still make money since I don't have to have a storefront to maintain. If it were cheaper to have a store in the real world, then there would probably be more stores. I for one know many people who would like to have their own business but they would serve such a small market it doesn't make financial sense. The online world is a bit different. I can serve smaller and smaller segments, still make money, and not have the overhead that would stop me in the real world.

The key here isn't the "first-time buyer" but the fifth-time, sixth-time buyer... where are they shopping online?

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