Lots of books have been written about how to do business on the Internet, but few can match the understanding and passion for making e-commerce work of Patricia Seybold's Customers.com
. Drawing on case studies of companies and organizations as diverse as Boeing, Babson College, National Semiconductor, Hertz, PhotoDisc, and Wells Fargo, Seybold identifies what makes e-commerce work successfully. She argues that any e-commerce initiative has to begin with the customer. She writes:
In the electronic commerce world, knowing who your customers are and making sure you have the products and services they want becomes even more imperative than it is in the "real" world.... The corner grocery needs only to approximate what customers really want because the convenience factor brings in the business. But when you eliminate this advantage--when customers can go anywhere to get what they want--you'd better know what they're looking for.
The first section of the book outlines five steps aimed at any organization grappling with the challenge of doing e-commerce right. The final section offers a technology roadmap and suggestions for getting e-commerce initiatives off the ground. But the heart of the book is the 16 case studies of companies that have successfully embraced e-business and e-commerce. Each is well researched, and includes an executive summary and "take-aways" about what each firm did right. If you're looking to develop your business online, this book belongs on your desk, not your bookshelf. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards
From Publishers Weekly
Aiming her debut at both executives and the technologists who carry out their dictums, consultant Seybold consolidates a wealth of information on how to link businesses to the Internet and other electronic tools. Her "five steps to success" in electronic commerce?"Make it easy for customers to do business with you" and "Redesign your customer-facing business processes from the end customer's point of view," to name two?are confirmed by a compilation of 16 case studies illustrating "eight critical success factors," including knowing the target market, giving customers room to browse and making service more personalized. Tales from the Webbing of American Airlines, National Semiconductor, Hertz, Amazon.com and Bell Atlantic, among others, make the book's basic messages seem inescapable, though at a cost of much built-in redundancy, as they crop up in a myriad of contexts. Going beyond screen-based issues, Seybold shows how billing for electronic commerce or the integration of third-party business can tip the scales toward on-line profitability. The final "handbook" outlines general prescriptions for planning and implementation. While much of the detail about particular Web sites will be outdated before long, of more lasting value are the lessons regarding insightful marketing, innovations and just good business sense?regardless of medium. Illustrations not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.