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Marketing Cannot Rely on the Internet Alone
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The real revolution in marketing is not E-commerce vs. traditional retail, but "mass customization" and the distribution of products as if they were services. These are lessons that the largest marketing organizations have learned from the 1999 holiday sales season-the first with a volume of  sales through web sites which was comparable to the volume of sales through stores, catalogs, etc.

In the future marketing organizations cannot choose either the Internet or traditional sales methods; they most do both. "The most successful companies will be those who can combine the convenience and savings of online shopping with the sensory experience and customer service of in-store buying," says a report produced by John Naisbitt's Trend Letter with research from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University School of Business, Nordstrom, America Online, Target Stores, Yahoo, Wal-Mart, Lands' End, Neiman Marcus and others.

The most important change in the marketplace is "the fundamental shift in power from seller to buyer. The consumer isn't just always right-the customer rules." The web provides an informational tool that makes it possible for consumers to quickly comparison shop in a way that they could not take the time to do in the past. "Consumer ignorance was a profit center," reports Gary Hamel on a study conducted by his Strategos management consulting firm.

People want to be able to get detailed information from web sites (or Fax-back services; the electronic information tool of those who don't have access to the Internet) and direct-mail catalogs. And, the majority also want a person, face-to-face relationship if they make purchases that are significant in size or a new type of product for them.

Trend Analysis Report (2000) - Source: Trend Letter 19:9, April 27, 2000.