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E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Most online marketers aren't using the info they collect

Despite consumer concerns over the personal information Web sites may or may not be collecting, a new study has found the opposite problem: E-commerce sites have so much customer data that most marketing executives aren't analyzing it at all.

The report, which surveyed 22 e-businesses including Avnet, eBags, and Open Solutions, found that 85 percent of the participating executives said they had poor or no software to interpret how their customers are accessing their sites. Only 15 percent said they have systems in place to make sense of the volumes of data generated by their consumers' behavior.

Despite this finding, the study found that the most serious problem identified by marketing executives themselves was not the lack of analysis but the difficulty of making their company's sales message heard above the Internet "noise." The report, published by the Alexis Gutzman Group, concludes that e-commerce heads should insist on tracking any campaign or in-house promotion. A recently published book by Alexis Gutzman on e-commerce technologies elaborates on emerging trends (see E-Business Book Review, below).

The biggest problem in online marketing (article):

Survey of e-commerce executives (free PDF download):

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E-business technology review: visor prices dropped

The dot-com slowdown is actually a great benefit to one group of people: those who waited to buy the Visor Edge, Handspring's slimmest handheld PDA. Faced with slowing sales, the company announced on Monday that it is slashing prices of the Edge by 25 percent, with lesser cuts on other models. The drop lowers the Edge's price by $100, down to a street price of about $299. That should move some inventory.

Information on Handspring Visor Edge price drop:

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E-business book review: the e-commerce arsenal

Alexis Gutzman, an e-commerce consultant (see above for her latest study of online marketing), has put 12 useful Web technologies between two covers in her book, "The E-Commerce Arsenal."

She believes that Web sites need not be flashy to be successful, but instead need to provide a service that customers themselves find valuable. This may sound obvious, but getting it right is the difference between profit and loss.

No site will use all the technologies described by Gutzman, which range from customer personalization to pre-sales chat. But sites that use none of them may find their customers clicking elsewhere.

"The E-Commerce Arsenal: 12 Technologies You Need to Prevail in the Digital Arena," by Alexis Gutzman

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Livingston's top 10 news picks o' the week

1. Inside the rise and fall of The Industry Standard

2. 45 percent of surfers look online but buy in stores

3. Google makes available improved weblog news searches

4. Outsourced Web hosting shown cheaper than in-house

5. Houston, we have no problem: Free e-mail for all

6. What dot-com recession? eBay sells $4.9 million jet

7. New search engine uses enhanced relevance formula

8. HTML tips: Using style sheets instead of tables

9. More tips: Tweak browsers with these HTML secrets

10. Site reveals how NASA faked moon landing (hilarious)

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E-business secrets: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

About the author: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston. Research director is Ben Livingston (no relation). Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

Windows 2000 Secrets:

Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints. Send to



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