Innovation is e-ssential, says ADL

Gerhard Sundt, European director of Arthur D Little’s telecommunications, IT, media and electronics practice, has warned business leaders that an innovative approach is needed in the adoption of e-commerce. Speaking at Business Online 99 in Berlin, he said that despite heavy investment among Europe’s top 100 companies involved in e-commerce, less than 10 percent are reporting profits.

Sundt believes that the successful companies have one thing in common, an innovative approach to meeting customer needs. He identified five key ways to achieve this. First, companies must provide information tailored to each customer’s needs, however diverse they may be, as Cisco does.

Second, companies must fully integrate their e-commerce service with other services, rather than having it as a parallel process. In that sense customers can choose the service that suits them best.

Third, new products must be implemented to complement web purchases, rather than just selling old products as new.

Fourth is the need for information sharing on the Internet between business partners.

Finally, analysing a customer’s buying pattern means relevant advertising can be offered to the consumer, thus increasing profits.

Sundt concluded: “Buyers are ready for e-commerce. But traditional players are not. New technologies are used by new entrants which helps them steal market share … only the innovative will win.”

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