February 17, 2004, 12:00 AM

Get ready for Phase 4 of online retailing, eTail speaker urges

Online retailing is moving into Phase 4 of its development when managing for long-term success will supercede short-term fixes, Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results Inc., will tell a general session at the eTail 2004 Conference next week.

Online retailing is moving into Phase 4 of its development when managing for long-term success will supercede the short-term fixes that many e-retailers have been implementing until now, Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results Inc., will tell a general session at the eTail 2004 Conference next week in Palm Springs, CA. “It’s an important phase that we are entering and many retailers are seeing that,” Freed says.

Freed believes that retailers must focus on customer satisfaction as this phase develops because online customers can so easily move from one retailer to another. “On the web, the importance of satisfaction is magnified,” he says. “I can clone myself on the web; I can literally be in two places at one time. The web has taken the three most important factors of retail success--location, location, location--off the table.”

Freed identifies the previous phases as the launch/hype phase, “It was all about cool sites, launch parties and mascots;” the funding phase, aimed at the investment banking community; then the survival phase, “with the focus on the CFO.”

“In phase four, the long-term success of a web site is based on the retailer’s ability to have long-term loyal customers,” Freed says. “It’s the customer-centric phase.”

Freed will speak at 9:25 a.m., Tuesday, in the session entitled “The State of Customer Satisfaction with E-Commerce: An Overview of American Customer Satisfaction Index Q4 Results.”

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