E-Christmas comes but once in a lifetime

Santa and his reindeers appear to have seen off the threat of Bill Gates and the Internet, according to KPMG’s report on the e-Christmas initiative.

The online gift emporium was the brainchild of Microsoft, with sponsors including Hewlett-Packard, UPS and KPMG. The site offered 1,800 different items of merchandise from retailers that included Tottenham Hotspur and Marstons Brewery.

The site opened in November and attracted 250,000 visitors, but only 500 transactions were completed during the 12-week experiment.

Report author Ramona Liberoff, a consultant with KPMG, said: ‘By no means was it geared at transactions. It was to get their experience. Most of the 9,000 people who replied to our survey were enthusiastic and requested we do this again for 1998.’

But according to Liberoff, the e-Christmas participants are likely to take the lessons from 1997 and apply them to projects pursued individually.

‘The scarcity of relevant skills and understanding, particularly about the strategic and operational choices that need to be made before building an online store, may affect Europe’s ability to take up fully the opportunity of Internet commerce,’ the report concluded.

Related reading