Developing Data Key to E-Commerce

LA QUINTA, CA–Attendees at the Abacus Alliance Strategic Marketing Summit here yesterday were urged to take their data assets and go for it on the Internet. “It's not too late to become the next Amazon. We're still early into [e-commerce],” keynote speaker John Levinson of Westway Capital told members who are moving their catalogs online. He pointed out that the most successful commerce sites —, America Online, Yahoo and ebay — are run by new companies that started with no data but a fresh marketing approach. Using data properly can build a sense of community and customer service that has been abandoned by merchants in the homogenized offline world, he said. As the Internet evolves, merchants will compete on who can provide the best experience, not the best price. He said e-commerce is driven by four virtuous circles that start with content that draws members to a community, moves to offers that attract more members, spending and vendors, then to membership profiles that improves targeting and member loyalty that encourages community interaction and strengthens affinity.

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