Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Logging on to the Electronic Commerce

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Logging on to the Electronic Commerce

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- The digital Gold Rush has begun.

The early prospectors who called the Internet "the marketplace of the 21st century" have some news: The age of electronic commerce is here, and businesses better log on.

"The electronic commerce revolution is under way and businesses who hesitate do so at their own peril," said Harvey Seegers, president and chief executive of GE Information Services. "The time for waiting has passed. The time for acting is now." The simple message was echoed by speaker after speaker at the Business Online conference in San Francisco last week. Many companies already have seized opportunities in cyberspace, including Amazon.com, which sells books on the Web; Wells Fargo and Citibank, which handle on-line transactions; and UPS and Federal Express, which take orders and track packages over the Internet. A March Nielsen survey of 6,600 North Americans showed that 73 percent of Web users surveyed used the Web to get information on products and services, and 15 percent had made purchases on-line. According to an earlier survey, companies offering merchandise on the Internet posted $1.2 billion in sales in 1996, more than double the 1995 figure. The first companies to get on-line saw it mostly as a marketing venture, a way to get their name out in front of more customers. …

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