Jun 172007

The New York Times reports that internet sales growth is slowing.    It’s no longer growing at 25 percent a year.

Article:  Online Sales Lose Steam

I say that’s good news for internet sales.  Why?  Because it will force some of the really stupid web sales systems to be innovative and use the potential of the internet to sell their products.

The way it is right now, there are some really, really dumb web sites out there.    They probably get by with being dumb, because no matter what they do, they makes sales.  Well, no longer.

Some things we might see:

  • Better ways to browse the sellers’ wares.  Savable search results.   (I mean something a lot more than just the ability to save items in a wish list.)
  • Photos that are informative.  No more “click here for a larger photo,” only to get a window that’s larger while the product part of the image stays the same.   (Shoes.com does a little better with photos than many others, but could do even better.)

The NYT article talked about how shopping online is a chore while shopping in a retail store is fun.   I agree that online shopping is a chore, but to me it’s more fun that retail shopping, because as clumsy and crude as web sites are, I can get a better idea on the net of the universe of products from which I’m picking.  But I’ve never considered retail shopping to be fun — just a necessary evil to be avoided as much as possible.  The problem is, until now most online store sites haven’t felt much of a need to do better.