In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Creative Good, a New York consulting firm focused on the experience of online shopping, estimates that e-commerce sales could climb as much as $19 billion above its current projections if shopping sites were easier to use and better focused on customer service. "Many e-commerce sites continue to put barbed wire in front of their cash registers,'' says Creative Good founder Mark Hurst, who has co-written the "Dot-Com Survival Guide," which can be downloaded for free from the firm's Web site. The guide also advises more effective online merchandising; building a cross-functional customer service team that spans marketing, technology, design and product management; and measuring and improving the conversion rate.
Making these inroads, the firm forecasts, could raise e-retailing sales to a total of $57 billion this year.