About five years ago I sat on a panel discussion at an American Marketing Association conference. The topic was the Internet and unfortunately I was the last speaker. The speakers before me spoke lyrically about how customers' attitudes, behaviors and what they cared about would be fundamentally altered once they began purchasing products online.

The consequences for firms selling to customers would change dramatically as well.

Being last, I wanted say something different. So I told the audience that nothing about customers would change, except of course they would buy more stuff over the net than they did in 1995. In essence, marketing would stay virtually the same.

Did I know what I was talking about? No, nobody really did. Like everyone else on the planet at that time, all of us were guessing.

Five years later and now with about 300 million online users, we have research reports coming out practically every day telling us about customers on the Internet. They all purport to say something really new about customers and e-commerce. So let's see.

HEADLINES AND FINDINGS

Here are some headlines and key findings I've gathered from the Internet this past month dealing with customers and e-marketing. It's not everything, but it's probably representative. See if any of these findings really surprise you.

  • "Profits Depend on Customer Loyalty" – Bain and Company, Mainspring
  • "Researchers Divided on Price and Branding" (researchers find different customers want different things) – Activmedia and Cyber Dialogue (CYDI)
  • "All Visitors Are Not Created Equal - Six Types of Online Customers Identified" – Media Metrix (MMXI) and McKinsey
  • "66% of shopping carts abandoned for service related reasons" – Forrester (FORR)
  • "4 out of 10 shoppers say they sometimes comparison shop" – Jupiter Communications (JPTR)

SURPRISING RESULTS ABOUT FIRMS?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss is the CEO and founder of MarketingProfs. He's also a longtime marketing professor and mentor at the University of Southern California, where he leads Mindful USC, its mindfulness center.