MARKETING FORUM: E-business prevails on the Oriana

This year’s Marketing Forum on board the Oriana was dominated by e-commerce, with the bulk of the seminars and meetings taking the online revolution as their theme.

This year’s Marketing Forum on board the Oriana was dominated by

e-commerce, with the bulk of the seminars and meetings taking the online

revolution as their theme.



Dr Simon Murdoch, the entrepreneur and former managing director of

Amazon.co.uk, kicked off the event with a state-of-the-nation talk about

e-commerce and, at the same time, put his money where his mouth was by

revealing that his next career move would be to launch a venture capital

company to fund e-commerce start-ups.



In his talk, Murdoch stressed the value of word-of-mouth recommendation

and giving e-trading sites local appeal - hence the introduction of

Amazon.co.uk, rather than trading in the UK as Amazon.com.



The overwhelming message - not only in Murdoch’s seminar but in the

myriad of other e-themed sessions - was that e-commerce would lose its

specialist title and soon just be called commerce. The advantages to

trading on the internet were made clear, from the ease of mining for

customer information to the decreased overheads that it brings.



The theme continued in a seminar given by David Atter, sales and

marketing director of beeb.com, Laurence Bradley, BT’s head of

cross-business solutions, and Chris Little, the managing partner of the

Customer Hub, a strategic consultancy.



Atter issued a call to arms to advertisers and agencies to make web

content more compelling and personal if they are to spearhead the

e-revolution.



He also warned that the rise of supermarket home shopping over the

internet was a threat to FMCG advertisers because shoppers are likely to

click on the same shopping basket week after week rather than looking

around for different brands.



Bradley hit out at companies that were complacent in converting browsers

on their websites into shoppers, explaining that only one-third of

browsers make it through to the checkout.



Overall, delegates were urged to pay more heed to the e-commerce

revolution and, in order to do so, to cannibalise their existing

products’ market.



Charles Schwab was cited as an example of a company that had cast off

its telephone-oriented customer base in order to convert its audience to

internet usage.



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