>Too often I'm hearing about e-commerce at the margins: from shaving a
>few bucks off of bulk plastic purchases, to slapping a 20% markup on
>wine for recommendations & gift wrapping. No: the real value is in
>enabling more plastic stuff to be made -- say, libraries of part
>designs and smaller-volume manufacturers coming on line -- or in
>selling more wine -- the US drinks 1/8th of Europe's per-capita. If
>you can *grow* the market --
etc etc--yes, you have it. And also in fundamentally fucking up and changing
industries. In the grocery biz, for example, seems to me that one e-commerce
model that would work is not Peapod, but is the delivery of staple,
nonperishable itmes in high-rent areas. Go on line and order your paper
towels, soups, etc--anything unperishable--and have it delivered within a 1
hor 30 min window on a day you specify. So you can use some vans and a giant
warehouse in the low-rent boonies to replace expensive urban storefrontage.
Also, on the check-sum, hunting-for bargains front: Most people just don't
want to live in this Gilderesque world where nothing is certain. They want to
know the price. They don't want it always to be subject to negotiation.
Saturn's model apeals to something. WalMart's model--EVERYDAY low prices, vs.
Sears, which had been running sales--carried the day. Far better to use
electronic commerce to drive prices down or increase value in a large sense
than to use it to try to increase the hagg(ss)le factor.