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Chapter 9. The Future: The Not So Final ... > Top Ten Internet Shopping Prediction...

Top Ten Internet Shopping Predictions

We believe there will be progressive and positive changes in the next 10 years that will generate substantial customer adoption and e-commerce growth. Here are some of those predictions accompanied by the elements we feel must evolve. The Internet is here to stay, with or without the positive influences that can shape it into what it needs to be.

  1. Manufacturers will move from product centric-sites to segment-centric sites. There will be a website for kids, for instance, that shows them how to use products and explains simple projects. A seniors' site will cater to the needs of the older person—with content designed specifically for their interests. Everything will be simplified. Increased access for the disabled—those with impaired hearing or sight, for example—will be provided. Entire sites will be designed in large-type formats.

  2. Customized sites will develop for special purchases and customers. Instead of getting the Sunday paper, going through the ads, and then going online to see all the properties with URLs, a real-estate agent can create a site just for you. The personalized site will have tours of all the properties that match your particular specifications.

  3. “Internet” money will create new ways to finance purchases that doesn't put consumers at risk.

  4. Consumers will be able to search for any product by typing in a description in a general search box. The search function will then locate companies that offer the product, and a list will be returned to the customer. These lists will have all the relevant information including the exact location in the site. Online merchants providing customers with effective value propositions will get the sale.

  5. Post-purchase support sites will be separated from their pre-purchase sales efforts. If you purchase a cell phone, for instance, a site will help you remember how to set up the memory or enable the messaging service. You will see your individual contract and plan, the number of minutes you have remaining at any given time, and any special services that are available to you. You'll no longer have to search through a huge site to find the service component.

  6. The Internet will move from a URL-based medium to a descriptive medium. Consumers cannot remember URLs. E-commerce will be dependent on eliminating the obscure and technical from shopping.

  7. Most products, unless routine commodities, will be featured in an entertainment production. This is analogous to the transition from old record albums to music videos. Each “show” will provide action—whether a person models clothing, there's a virtual enactment of an actual product demonstration, or a piece of furniture is displayed in your virtual own home setting.

  8. Real people on the Internet will solve your problems. At any time of the day or night, you can log on and talk to a health-care provider who will immediately give you advice. While this service is available today on a limited basis, it will become the norm as busy schedules force us to re-evaluate how we access certain services. An investment consultant may work with you directly to help you select the right stocks. And a nutrition expert may help you plan healthy meals. Services and products will be sold equally in the future.

  9. A live “operator” service will help you with overall Internet questions and problems. It will act as a referral service if you need further support and will serve as a high-level directory service.

  10. A live technical-support service will take care of all your technical problems.



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