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June 24, 2007

“There’s a recognition that some customers like a more interactive experience,” said Alex Gruzen, senior vice president for consumer products at Dell. “They like shopping and they want to go retail.”

Nancy F. Koehn, a professor at Harvard Business School who studies retailing and consumer habits, said that the leveling off of e-commerce reflected the practical and psychological limitations of shopping online. She said that as physical stores have made the in-person buying experience more pleasurable, online stores have continued to give shoppers a blasé experience. In addition, online shopping, because it involves a computer, feels like work.

Hmmm. Interesting reasoning. Have you all considered that perhaps online sales are down because most websites SUCK?

This goes to the top of my “straight talker of the week” award catagory for Michele Miller for singing it as it is.

The rules are the same if you are selling online or in a shop. The questions must be about your customers and not about you. If you are still patting yourself on the back at what a cool website you have or about how easy the money is by selling from your basement the chances are no one will remember you in five years time. I, like Michele, think the cream will rise to the top. The companies out there who are being smart and caring for their customers and treating them with all of the attention your favorite boutique is, will go forth and prosper.

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