1. How do the companies involved benefit from the innovations discussed in the case? Is it about more transaction that is efficient processing, better reaching out to customers, or both?
2. Use examples from the case to illustrate your answer.
3. “Shopping online can be social again, as it was in person,” says Wade Gerten, CEO of Alvenda. Do you think this is a stretch, or are we in the midst of a turning point in online shopping? Explain your answer.
4. Many of the applications discussed in the case are mostly used by the younger demographic, who grew up around technology. How do online behavior patterns change as they become older, with more responsibilities, and more challenging jobs? Do applications like those discussed in the case become less important? More important?
A number of major retailers have been driven into bankruptcy protection during this recession, including RedEnvelope and Eddie Bauer, or gone out of business altogether, like Circuit City. Blockbuster, Virgin Megastores, and many more have closed stores. Survivors, suffering deflated profits and slow sales, warn of a bleak future. But smart retailers are going where it’s warm: the hot little hands of cell-phone- and laptop-toting consumers who want to shop right now, wherever they happen to be sipping their lattes or watching their kids’ soccer games. Technology-backed projects to increase revenue include mobile e-commerce, coupons by text message, and even storefronts on social networks. As enablers of these projects, CIOs are moving ever closer to the customer.