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||Global merchandise trade is accelerating as the world economy integrates.
In the last 30 years, the amount of international trade has skyrocketed from less than 10%
to 29% of global output. In another 25 years, according to some economists, upwards of
80% of global output will be traded internationally.
||The use of the Internet working together with print media for market-discovery will
obviously be core to the future of global merchandise trade. Potential trading partners,
despite vast differences in geographies and time zones, can quickly determine the
desirability of trade with the other using the Internet. Immeasurable savings in time,
money and effort will be realized using the Internet.
||Applying the Internet to market-discovery and trade functions has not been clear.
The specific trade objectives of importers and exporters must be mapped to the technical
potentials of Internet software, services, and processes. This mapping provides the
necessary foundation to make the Internet an effective and useful market-discovery
platform for trade.
||Importers’ source-discovery objectives are to: (1) identify the best-qualified suppliers
for a specific product; (2) compare and evaluate suppliers, point by point, on product
features and company capabilities; (3) access accurate and up-to-date information; and (4)
search and find sources easily and quickly, using terminology and classifications that the
buyer considers to be ‘normal.’
||Exporters’ sales and marketing-discovery objectives are to: (1) generate sales inquiries
in order to capture new business and higher prices; (2) build presence and brand-recognition
across a geographically dispersed community of buyers – including providing
information to all sales and media channels – and rapidly launching marketing campaigns
for new products; (3) place messages and sales collateral in front of buyers when they are
ready to buy; and (4) monitor buyer, market, and competitive activities and trends.
||Importers and exporters face significant challenges in electronically enabling
themselves to take advantage of Internet-based discovery. Exporters must
electronically create and maintain their product and company profiles. Importers must
gather and compile supplier content into a common, normalized format. The costs are high
and the technical issues in each case are complex. Specialized software, expertise, and
business processes must be set up. The vast majority of importers and exporters will
require assistance in their respective product-content preparations.
||Web marketplaces, exchanges and third-party services potentially offer an
economical solution to both importers and exporters around product content
management. Service providers have inherent economies of scale that they can leverage.
Individual market participants need not go to the expense of doing all content management