David Bickerstaff 27 March 2012 3 min read

Are you getting your (unfair) share of the Internet Economy?

Hardly a day goes by in our national press without some mention of the internet economy. Some of our captains of industry like Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman at first denied the value of eCommerce and just this week Paul Zahra of David Jones released DJ’s new 3 year strategy which included their move to being omni-channel.

So with all this buzz, I thought it timely to look at some of the predictions of what the near future holds and how our customers plan to get a (unfair) share of the internet economy.

Let’s start with some statistics (see BCG’s report “The $4.2 trillion opportunity” - www.bcg.com).

By 2016 half the world’s population will be connected to the internet – That’s 3 billion people and the value of trade on the net will be $4.2 trillion which will make it the 5th largest economy behind USA, China, Japan and India. Interestingly 4 out of 5 new connections at this time will be mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Here in Australia much of the press focuses on the 2 speed economy but I believe we are actually moving to a 3 speed economy. This third player being companies that are embracing the web to support and drive their businesses - the high web economy.

This third group - the ‘high web’ - are growing over 20% faster than low/no web companies and this will accelerate. In the retail space online retail will grow from today’s $20 billion per annum to $38 billion by 2016 and if we follow other economies such as the US, Japan and Korea - B2B eCommerce will represent 50% of the way business is done.

So the statistics look compelling, now how do you get your share of the action and more? Some thoughts from our team here at Commerce Vision are:

Know your customers and how they like to interact with you

How do you your customers engage with you today. By industry and segment and geography do they prefer to deal with you or are they happy to trade electronically? Do they trade electronically with you but still contact you to access account information and query?

Change Management

Do your customers know that they can trade with you and access account, pricing and product information etc 24/7/365? If not perhaps communicate and reward them for coming online through promotions. Get the message out there that you are open for business via the Web.

Break down the walls

Most of the big corporates use business ERP systems such as SAP, and Oracle. Usually, these organisations are constrained by strict governance around procurement so they just can’t place an order with you without a PO. Today some will want to “punch out” to you to get pricing and then trade with you electronically. Your ‘Customer Self Service’ site allows “punch out” – some of our customers receive over 20% of their orders this way.

Website and SEO

Does your website portray the image of who you are? Are you getting the ‘hits’ on search engines such as Google? Commerce Vision works with professionals in this area to maximise the return of your investment.

And finally ... Develop a Web Channel Strategy

How does the Web fit with your channels to market? Does it support your customers whether they are consumers, business or distributors? Are you able to reach new industries and geographies both nationally and globally?

For some more thoughts on where the internet is going and a primer for developing your web channel strategy, you may also like to listen to Kevin Kelly’s disposition on the next 5000 days of the Web back in late 2007. http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html