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E-tail or Die, Says New Book

A new book titled The Age of E-Tail  tells established retailers to "e-tail or die," but adds that few European retailers have grasped the challenge.

"For established retailers, e-tailing is now the only major opportunity for survival and growth in the next decade," says one of the book's three co-authors Alex Birch.

"The Internet and changing customer demographics are radically altering the landscape of consumerism."

"The Age of E-Tail" from Capstone Press is the work of Alex Birch in London, Dr Philipp Gerbert in Palo Alto, and Dr Dirk Schneider in Dusseldorf. Controversially it hails the Internet pornography industry as "a leading innovator" of the web technologies and business methods which are shaping e-commerce.

The authors say that retailers should build a presence on the web that complements their off-line selling in one of three ways: through context, dialogue, or loyalty.

More customers will be looking for built-to-order products, and to supply them will require flexibility and re-localisation of supplier bases. By reducing its UK supplier base, Marks and Spencer has made a strategic error, say the authors.

One of the features of the new book is its examination of several lesser-known businesses that could, the authors believe, become major successes in the future. They include pet food supplier PogoPet.com, e-marketing portal RightPoint.com and UK web accountancy firm AscotDrummond.com.