Internet: 05Jan1999

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Internet Story: 05 Jan 1999

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In this issue:

This ram's for ewe.

Don't Compete on Price

E-commerce Goldmine

IE4.5 for the Mac


csiro.gif (2178 bytes) Online Dating Agency  For all ewes out there looking for a mate, look no further than the latest in online dating agencies in Australia: CSIRO's The Merino Superior Sires.  Yes you can find that ideal ram here.  Do you want him with a good thick greasy fleece or is it body weight that turns you on.  Check out Yarrawonga Richard, sounds like just your ram!  "We've taken the sheep mating game into the 21st Century," says geneticist Dr Andrew Swan in the Animal Production section of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).   "The website allows graziers to match the genetic abilities of individual rams to the precise requirements of their ewes, online."  See the BBC article.


No Price Wars  It is indeed going to be difficult to compete on price with online trading.  As the technology advances it will become easier and easier to seek out the lowest price and it will be just one click away.  "As a market penetrating strategy, competing on price is okay.  But for the long term, it's self-defeating.  There's always someone stupid enough to lose money and undercut you," says Don Peppers, who wrote the business classic "The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time" (1997, Doubleday) with Martha Rogers.  The way to win is to build a long-term relationship with your customers.  Track their visits.  Make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you.  This is further expounded in Patricia Seybold's book, recently mentioned in this column.   Both Amazon Books and CDNow (US operation) put this strategy to good use.  They make the purchasing process as easy as possible; they remember who you are, what your credit card details and mailing address are.  They allow you to have your say on their products - you can write your own reviews and they appear on the site.  There are all sorts of little tips, like what other people who bought the product you are buying bought along side it and just how popular the book/CD is selling on their site.  Peppers sums it up this way: "Customers have access to lots of information on the Web.  They can quickly compare prices.  That instantly sucks the margins out of E-commerce. So don't compete on price.  Change the terms of competition to serving customers best….It's a more natural fit for small businesses, who are used to catering to customers.  On the Web, it's easy to do."   Similar advice comes from Seybold.


The Real E-commerce Goldmine   You'd think that someone like Amazon and CD Paradise would be absolutely great money spinners.   They probably will be soon.  However the real money is being made not from consumer retail trade but from business to business trade.  According to Forrester, if you combined the 1998 revenue of every single retailer on the Internet it reaches $7.8 billion.  This wouldn't even match the sales of just one business to business online trader, Cisco Systems (sellers of routers and switches, etc to major corporates).  They say that Internet sales currently average more than $8 billion per year!  According to Forrester businesses sold $43 billion worth of goods to each other over the Web in '98, over five times the retail total.  In four years, Forrester projects business-to-business sales will reach $1.3 trillion, or 9.4 percent of all business-to-business sales.  See the NY Times article, "Real Force in E-Commerce Is Business-to-Business Sales", for more detail.


Microsoft IE4.5 for Mac  The latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer has just been release for the Apple Macintosh.  Take a look at its new features here and download from here.


Andrew Stringer, Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999


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