E-Retailers: Don't Just Focus on Christmas

BOSTON (03/30/2000) - Companies looking for success in e-commerce must pay attention to all the details of providing customers with value-added services, according to an analyst at NetRatings Inc.

Speaking at the Internet Commerce Expo yesterday, Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services at Milpitas, California-based NetRatings, said the holiday shopping season's success stories and pitfalls point the direction to building a year-round electronic business.

EBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. topped the sales charts and have become e-commerce powerhouses because they "formed significant customer relations" in their field.

"Once you've locked in on that customer relationship, the ability to offer other (goods and services) is there," Weiner said.

Traditional measures of site activity - such as a high number of Web pages viewed or time spent - may not be the best indicators of customer attraction, warned Weiner, whose company, along with Nielsen Media Research, tracks Web traffic. Instead, they may suggest a "counterintuitive" site design or organization, requiring more effort on customers' part to complete a transaction.

In addition to avoiding infrastructure and stocking problems that marred the past holiday season for some electronic businesses, Weiner listed the following among the keys to e-commerce success: saving customers time and money, increasing efficiency and planning a year-round marketing effort that includes lesser holidays such as Valentine's Day.

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