KISSIMMEE, FL — For e-commerce marketers to succeed, they need knowledge and understanding of retail, marketing and information technology, said Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com. He was the keynote speaker here yesterday at the Winter 2004 National Center for Database Marketing Conference.
“You have to get the right balance if you want it to work correctly,” he said.
Jones should know. When he left Travelocity two years ago, the company had 300 million members, 1,200 employees and $3.3 billion in sales.
“It was a profitable dot-com,” he said.
E-commerce is bigger than ever today, Jones said, despite the dot-com meltdown. Two-thirds of homebuyers search online, as do 50 million travelers. Also, “27 percent of us bank online,” he said.
E-commerce will keep growing because 73 percent of teen-agers use the Internet regularly, and 81 percent of them have made a purchase online, versus 50 percent of adults.
Jones said e-commerce reduces distribution costs, improves service and lets companies be more competitive. He discussed the latest techniques for e-marketing, the evolution of search and how broadband is changing consumer behavior online. For example, more Web sites will have video streaming that is television quality, and consumers will watch these video clips along with ads.
“Companies today require seamless service in all channels, and companies [that] can provide that experience, combined with deep knowledge of the customer, will lead tomorrow's marketplace,” he said.