Europe's Wild E-Commerce Frontier

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DALLAS - Forget the shootout at the OK Corral, Gunsmoke and Lonesome Dove. Right now, the people with True Grit are the Europeans, who are hosting the world's wildest frontier for telecom, internet and direct response industries. A two-year process of telecom deregulation has collided with efforts to create a new economy and political order in the world's biggest market.

The winning companies who create an e-commerce backbone for Europe will deliver as much efficiency for cross border trade as has been delivered by the new Euro single currency. In fact, it might deliver more!

Unlike the United States, Europe in the mid 1990's was nearly asleep to the realities of telecommunications and the Internet. Then, two years ago brought the deregulation of the telecom markets within member states, unleashing the shootout. The resulting fight has been good for Europe. "Life in the telecom and Internet markets is very aggressive and this has been advantageous for consumers," said Mike Gibson-Sharp, Business Development VP for British Telecom. "We are amazed by the number of American e-commerce companies who want to hop the Atlantic and compete in this wealthy market that is getting more and more wired with each passing day."

In the 1990's, smart American direct marketers realized that European mailboxes were not as crowded or the environment as competitive as in Uncle Sam's backyard. Today, sharp US executives realize that the emergence of E commerce strategies and the implementation of new business models in Europe are lagging behind the US.

This interest in Europe is aided by another important factor. Today, the operators of American Web sites are starting to realize that if they are Internet, they are international. Norm Charney, founder of ASD Systems in Dallas, Texas says, "Today, only 44 percent of American transactional Web sites allow shipments outside the USA. But, this number is rising rapidly as companies like ours come out with browser-based fulfillment applications that can handle cross border business as easily as shipping from Texas to the East or West coast. "

The e-commerce revolution is in its infancy and promises to have a more profound impact upon our lives than its forefather. With the winning of the Cold War and the collapse of communist economic and military system, economic freedom is expanding globally. The right-thinking American direct marketers appreciate this new wild frontier for telecom, internet and direct marketing in Europe and are positioning themselves to capture its benefits.

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