A matter of survival

Shop ’til your mouse drops. This past Christmas, that catchy line advertised the shop.canoe.ca on-line marketplace for Canadian shoppers. It offered access to Canadian Tire, Radio Shack, Chapters, Sam the record Man, La vie en rose, Tripeze, Camelot, Archambault, J.M.B. Le Naturiste and La Senza.

But, Canadian consumers are a skittish lot. I had been shopping on-line at www.sears.ca for years before I took the daring step of supplying my credit card number to any Web site. I feel reassured whenever I read “Expedia has booked over two million tickets — with zero credit card theft” at www.expedia.ca. ComQUEST Research Inc. reports that three quarters of Canadians agree that the Internet is an essential part of life today. We just need lots of reassurance before we complete an on-line transaction. That reluctance seems to be mirrored at the corporate level.

This issue of the print companion to Itworldcanada.com explores the ins and outs of Internet activity as it relates in particular to Canadian wholesalers and retailers. We’ve gathered news on the latest trends and developments with reports from analysts, advice from consultants and information about many of the e-commerce players and their products.

The Internet has the potential of enabling participants to boost productivity while lowering costs, to speed time to market and to strengthen relationships with customers and business partners. Predictions are that this year will bring more focused business-to-business initiatives, ranging from tightly coupled supplier communities to full-blown trading exchanges. Expanded e-commerce efforts will likely blur the lines between business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce.

If you’re not already marketing and selling your product or services on the Internet and connected by the web to your suppliers, hopefully you are at least thinking about it. It’s a safe bet that many of your customers, suppliers and competitors are buying and selling on-line. You may have no choice if you want to survive, let alone be competitive.

Susan Maclean