Top 10 rules of e-commerce success

Security, speed and ease of navigation on the Internet are the top three issues to address for e-commerce success, according to an IDC survey of high-level online executives released this week.

The survey of 656 executives at organisations providing B2B or B2C services via the Web identified these three issues as the key performance indicators for a successful site.

Participants warned many sites under-invest in critical areas such as improved online customer service, integration of the Web site into core business systems, and content localisation.

Nearly half the individuals surveyed (48 per cent) were the CEO, COO, president, or owner of the company.

The remainder were most often from a technology area (CIO, CTO, IS, IT) or a vice president of marketing or sales.

The survey, which was undertaken in August 1999, found many companies are moving quickly to shift sales volume to the Web.

On average each company surveyed fulfilled an estimated 40 per cent of its product and service sales over the Web.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses and those that sell to both businesses and consumers (B2BC) have progressed much further than those in business-to-business (B2B) when it came to shifting commerce online.

An estimated 27 per cent of those surveyed have profitable Web-based operations; however, success is more common among B2B and B2BC than with B2C businesses.

Brooke Galloway, IDC senior analyst for Internet and e-commerce strategies, said more than 20 per cent of respondents do not measure profitability of their Internet business, making them candidates for failure in any future online business shakeouts. Galloway said personalisation is the fastest-growing new capability being built into Web sites and this trend will more than double this year from 25 per cent to 63 per cent.

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