This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

February 10, 1999

The Trouble with Shopping on the Internet

We received a response a recent Trend Alert from a frustrated subscriber. He had wasted hours trying to place an order for his wifeís holiday gift. Finally in desperation, he gave up and drove to the store to brave the crowds.

Most of us have encountered the frustrating experience of waiting for an internet site to appear on our screens only to be told that the computer had "timed out." And if youíve tried to place an order on the web, youíve also endured the frustration of the order that wonít go through. You go through the right steps one at a time, yet the system will not accept your order.

A while back, we personally ordered airline tickets through an airlineís web site. But when we got to the airport, there was no record of the ticket whatsoever. Luckily, the ticket agent knew us, but what if he hadnít?

Unfortunately, these maddening experiences will not improve soon. According internet marketing guru, Wally Bock, the internet experienced a seven-fold increase in sales this holiday season. Since most direct marketers were expecting a two to three-time increase at the most, they simply werenít prepared.

When you combine the lack of capacity on the part of retailersí sites with the finite nature of the net, you have a recipe for lots of stress for shoppers.

Thereís also a problem with the lack of bandwith. Literally millions of people want to access the internet simultaneously. And while it is equipped to handle thousands of concurrent visitors, the amount of use of the internet is exponentially greater than it was originally designed for. Internet service providers are struggling to keep up.

A saving grace will be advances in technology and their ability to afford us the opportunity to do more with less. But although technology is speeding along, it hasnít caught up to the demand. Expect internet delays to get worse before they get better. Faster modems can help. If you can, get a cable modem or a T1 line. They are amazing in comparative speed.

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