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Chapter 9. The Future: The Not So Final ... > The Duality of the Online Merchant—B...

The Duality of the Online Merchant—Bruce Martin

E-commerce on the web is entering toddler-hood. Many of the weaker and poorly built websites have gone away. More rationality has been built into business models because you actually have to make money at this. It will look so much different in five years. People will have more choices, and the online merchant must continue to play a dual role. He must meet customer needs and expectations and have a business model that keeps him in business.

The first most interesting dynamic that has emerged since the inception of online shopping is realizing that a customer buys in many different ways. The same customer might buy online, sometimes via catalog, sometimes in a store, and sometimes via phone. These unconscious shopping behaviors make them essentially multi-channel shoppers. Yet they don't necessarily think of themselves that way yet. They're just doing what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how they want to do it.


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