Book Review

The Electronic Shopping Revolution: Strategies for Retailers and Manufacturers

By Michael de Kare-Silver

Amacom, 1999, US$29.95

For an executive developing the delivery of his or her company’s products and services on the Internet, Michael de Kare-Silver offers more than just insight into the e-commerce playing field – he provides instruction on how to make smart decisions in a virtual world.

The author begins by running us through a multitude of demographics on Internet users, the growth of the Internet economy and predictions of on-line growth in the coming years.

The real crux of the book explains the three-step electronic shopping test, or “ES Test.” This strategic tool reveals whether a product or service is successfully suited for on-line retail business. The first step analyses product characteristics that trigger one’s natural senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. How reliant a product or service is on one or all of these biological senses, determines how the product will appeal to a buyer on-line. The second step grades how a product or service will fall into a familiarity and confidence level. “Consumer familiarity and confidence is especially high where there is a strong brand name on the product that has a reputation for reliability and trust,” de Kare-Silver writes.

The last step zeros in on the buying habits of the consumer. With this information in hand, the author goes on to describe 10 on-line options for retailers and manufacturers. De Kare-Silver provides examples from established retail stores such as Marks & Spencer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., along with on-line ventures such as Direct Line and America Online Inc.