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4. Customers Rule

With the Internet, customers have gained considerable power to choose with whom they will do business, where, and when. The need for intense customer focus and exemplary customer service will continue into the future, as customers remain central to the growth of e-commerce.

Ashu Roy, CEO and Chairman, eGain

"Web sites will become 'customer interaction centers,' where customers can access information and buy goods and services on a 'self-service' basis."

Bill Daniel, Senior Vice-President of Products, Vignette

"The place from which you buy things will blur. Customers will expect that companies provide a choice—which may be tough to do from an infrastructure standpoint."

Bob Cross, President, Venture Capital Online, Inc.

"If not used wisely, the tools of the Internet merely enable marginal vendors to provide empty promises slicker and faster—and they call it e-commerce. In the long run, it won't work, because the customer is still king, and the Internet doesn't change that. Although the Internet can indeed change processes and channel structures, it doesn't change customer expectations. Even in the virtual world of the Internet, customers still vote with their feet."

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