TORONTO (04/27/2000) - Adding a new twist to Web site personalization, Vancouver's Jones Soda has started producing custom-label pop bottles for its on-line consumers. What started out as a label competition -- where consumers submitted photos in the hopes they would be featured on Jones Soda bottles -- quickly turned into an e-commerce opportunity. Jones Soda realized the potential market when more than 40,000 photos were submitted to its label competition and more than 43,000 consumers logged onto www.jonessoda.com to request personalized bottles.
"The idea of personalized service was created not so much as a marketing idea, but rather to fill a demonstrated consumer demand," says Jones Soda president Peter van Stolk.
With the help of Advanced Media Group and Pacific Coast Information Systems, Jones Soda built a new Lotus Domino-based Web site (www.myjones.com). Launched in January 2000, the myjones.com site allows consumers to purchase custom Jones Soda bottles using their own photos and text.
Following initial registration, myjones.com customers are given a personalized Web site which contains their order history. The registration database collects and stores addresses, marketing and general billing information, so return customers are not required to re-key information each time they visit the site.
Once an order is placed, credit card authorization is handled seamlessly by CyberSource, an on-line transaction security program. Custom labels are created and printed automatically, then manually shipped to the nearest logistics warehouse where Jones Soda staff put the labels on bottles to complete the order. In the meantime, the Web server connects with United Parcel Services to coordinate a pick-up time, usually within a few days of the ordering process.
-- Linda Stuart
HIDDEN BENEFITS - FEDERAL BUDGET FOSTERS E-CONOMY Finance Minister Paul Martin's 2000 budget aims to help Canada's Internet economy continue to grow, says an analyst. In a review of February's federal budget, Oliver Kent, PricewaterhouseCoopers's e-business leader for service industries, based in Toronto, says behind the headline messages about tax cuts and health and social programs are measures for the development of e-government and e-business in Canada. Although details are sketchy, implementation of these measures may provide more benefit than would appear at first glance, Kent says in a statement released the day after the budget was tabled. Kent says the budget calls for $160 million, over the next two years, to be allocated to the design and launch of an initiative to put federal government services on-line, and stimulate the use of electronic commerce. The goal of the initiative is for the government to "encourage more citizens and businesses to use the Internet. Over time, as more and more Canadians routinely use the Internet, the government will be able to realize significant cost savings in program delivery," Kent quotes from the budget plan. However, for federal departments waiting for leadership on an e-government strategy, the budget provides a positive message but little detailed information, Kent says. Central agencies need to communicate objectives, timing and how funding will be deployed; departments will need to be proactive in determining how they can meet this commitment, he adds. "Funding for the government's on-line presence is a good start, but $160 million is at best a down payment on the Throne Speech commitment that by 2004 Canada will be recognized around the world as having a government connected to its citizens," Kent says. "Moreover, it isn't clear to what extent this funding will be available to assist government departments in making their services available electronically, as opposed to funding common infrastructure." The personal and corporate tax changes in the budget include measures intended to improve access to capital for high-growth sectors and to reduce the movement of Canadian high-tech talent out of the country -- commonly known as the "brain drain" -- a key concern both for high-tech companies and e-business managers in major corporations, Kent says. Personal and corporate tax provisions include:
- employee stock options will only be subject to tax when shares are sold. The deduction available will also be increased to one-third; - the percentage of capital gains included in income for tax purposes will be reduced from three-quarters to two-thirds; - general reductions in personal taxation, such as a reduction in the middle-income tax rate and the phasing out of the five-per-cent surtax, will make Canadian after-tax incomes more competitive; and, - profitable businesses (not including most dot-com companies) will have federal corporate income taxes reduced. This reduction takes place in 2004, but only the timing of the first step is clear. Ensuring Canada is a leader in the new economy is a recurring theme in parts of the budget that address post-secondary education and research and development, Kent adds. He says the $900 million announced to establish and sustain university research efforts should provide an important new source of funding for research in Canada. For more PricewaterhouseCoopers budget commentary, visit www.pwcglobal.com/ca-budget. -- Stewart Brown PERSONALITY PROFILE - E-BUSINESS LEADERS NEED "WEB DNA" Trying to determine if that job candidate for your top e-business position has what it takes to succeed in the chaotic, hyper-competitive Internet economy? A new personality assessment tool from Toronto executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates may just be the ticket. The Web Factor diagnostic tool was developed from interviews with a number of leading Internet executives that probed their approach to making decisions, meeting challenges, and developing and executing ideas. What emerged was a clearly defined set of characteristics -- dubbed "Web DNA" -- possessed by those who reach the highest levels of success in the on-line world. Executives with Web DNA recognize opportunity and seize the day by jumping on business concepts, new business models and innovative operating tools. They are evangelical in projecting their beliefs about the business, staying focused and making it their priority to communicate their vision persistently to the entire organization. Those with Web DNA have a "80/20 mindset", knowing it's better to be 80 per cent right today than 100 per cent right tomorrow. They keep themselves from getting distracted into tangential tasks that have little pay-off. Organizational improvisers, these leaders build and maintain fluid organizations responsive to customer needs and competitor moves. Finally, they are learning-obsessed. Constantly in the feedback loop, successful Internet executives continually seek data to assess business models, evaluate trends and learn. More information about the Web Factor tool can be found on-line at www.russellreynolds.com/internet. -- CIO Canada staff NET WORTH - B2B IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE The on-line business-to-business (B2B) market will grow to an estimated $1.3 trillion in revenues by 2003, dominating the business-to-consumer market by a factor of more than six, says Deloitte Research, the research think tank of Deloitte Consulting. B2B trading platforms, including on-line catalogues, auctions and exchanges, will dramatically alter business transactions, Deloitte Research predicts in its latest e-Views report. Increased efficiencies and savings will drive substantial corporate participation in B2B Internet exchange markets, as vendors respond with software applications to take advantage of the additional capabilities of the newly created platforms. The result will be a ubiquitous cyberspace landscape that Deloitte Research calls "MarketTone", where every buyer is a seller and every input is an output, where every decision can be hedged and every position insured. For more information about Deloitte Research's latest e-Views report, B2B Online Exchanges: The New Economics of Markets, visit www.dc.com. -- CIO Canada staff