Market research group Ovum has warned that businesses should look at online commerce in a hardheaded manner, rather than rushing into experiments - or risk wasting time, money and opportunities.
The report, 'Online Commerce', says that companies considering embarking on these type of projects should consider them very carefully. Heather Stark, principal consultant at Ovum, said: ?The Internet is like the telephone. You can?t just plug it in and expect a business return. Businesses should not be driven by fashion, fear or a vague feeling about future opportunity.?
She claimed that, as the Internet evolved from a communications medium to a revenue channel, it would trap many organisations into ?evolutionary blind channels of their own making?.
Two years ago, the market for commerce servers did not exist, the report said. But the market doubled in size from $57 million worldwide in the financial year 1996 to $110 million for the first three quarters of 1997. As of now, there are 5,000 licensed commerce server sites worldwide which serve 15,000 stores.
Said Stark: ?In this business environment, organisations must be able to learn quickly from experience and adapt. The systems which support your business can either help you or leave you trapped by your first mistakes.?
She likened the market to flat pack furniture. ?They are easy to assemble but rigid. When doing business online, you will need to be able to do more than just adjust the height of the shelves in your store,? she concluded.
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