E-Commerce for Nongiants

FRAMINGHAM (04/18/2000) - Companies that lack the resources of giants like The Walt Disney Co. or Procter & Gamble Co. must be clever in their e-commerce strategy. Here are some tips:

Go lean. No one wants to cut corners, especially in the public online realm, where everyone can see your mistakes. But carefully consider every dollar you're poised to spend on e-commerce projects. "There's no shortage of cyberexperts ready to take your money away," notes Walid Mougayar, president of Cyber Management Inc.

Depend on a parent. If you're part of a larger company, lobby the central office for funding for your project or enlist appropriate business units to contribute.

Approach a trade association. Industry groups often reserve space at their Web sites for members to post information about themselves. You'll at least get some online exposure that way.

Think targeted. Rather than trying to partner with a giant the likes of Yahoo, where a midsize company can get lost, find a smaller player. Even better, look for a smaller partner that's well-established online but has a customer base not yet penetrated by your physical company. Brick-and-mortar companies should "find a ‘clicks' partner focused on a particular vertical that they don't have," Mougayar advises.

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