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The scary future of e-commerce

From the Model T to modern cars and from dusty trails to super-highways, historians tabulate the remarkable evolution of transportation -- the good and the bad combined. However, alongside the great wonders of four wheels, there are the traffic jams, the carjackings, the drive-by shootings and the accidents.

Similarly, when tabulating e-commerce's evolution, we start right at the dark ages, then suddenly turn to the greatest moment in history, when it found the Web. This extraordinary, one-of-a-kind innovation has brought us all to a new crossroads again.Shouldn't we push forward just a little to see how this e-drama unfolds? The following scenario is how it might go.



Spammed Nation



There is nothing left but spam, as junk mail reaches its own climax. Mailboxes alone require super computers to sort out the inflow.Hundreds of e-mails per second attack you, and millions of e-mails per day jam your inboxes. The marketers use lists of billions of addresses at a time, selling the weirdest and most unnecessary things. The chunk of population enlarges and shrinks on regular hormonal intake and realignments. Half the population outgrows like Godzilla, while the other half shrinks and slims down to nothing.



The human mind is easily conquered with a highly repetitive mail onslaught of junky suggestions. Could this possibly be the dawn of the over-dozed zombies, showing off their Stepford wives? Or possibly a dizzy, spammed nation leads the way -- as business moves back to snail mail. Postal workers finally calm down. Normalcy sets in. Really?



Sky-Rise Shelters



The offices shrink further. A corner suite turns into a cubicle and a cubicle turns into a jack outlet. No need to drive, park and go to the 100th floor, just to open more junk mail. Do it from the kitchen or your porch. Cars are sold and garages turn into headquarters. Save the gas on Hummer look-alikes and let the oil producers drink their own lubricants. Skyscrapers become homeless shelters and flea markets.



There is no fixed time to work or play. Everything is open and everything is transacted 24 hours a day, all year round. Calendars, clocks and watches are almost deemed useless. Will this ensure more free time to read more junk mail?



Hurricane Pricing



The prices are spinning out of control and pushing downwards, ripping competition along the path like a twisted hurricane. Like a wrath of the Temple of Free Trade, a finger gently passes through the city landscape and turns fancy shopping landmarks into trailer parks, so that nature can also pick on its refuge later.



The dollar-a-day workforce kicks in. For each skilled citizen from a G10 country, there are 10,000 cheap workers teamed-up to compete. Get 1,000 percent cheaper products directly from the remote mountains and jungles, nicely packaged, charged on plastic and shipped shrink-wrapped to your bedroom. No need to get out. E-commerce brings out the largest global supermarket, and countries basically act as the checkout counters, while smart countries become the express lanes. Will they end discount coupons now?



Name-Economy



Smart countries are also building armies of high-profile name brands with unique name identities, and going out on global missions in search of becoming the next regional power. Branding is no longer just a tagline for a dumb name with a spinning logo.



It is a comprehensive, sophisticated global name-identity-delivery-system based on corporate naming laws, ripping hip-hop creative advertising routines. Ferocious demands of return on investment bust traditional advertising. Highly professional corporate communications, along with great PR take over the wild side of branding. Marketing science is re-visited. Names with crystal clear recognition attract the masses, prices drive the sales and cash registers ring in synchronized harmony. Will smaller enterprises with sharper images hit higher notes?



Small Revolution

The big business tries hard to hide behind the desks in response to the attacks by the armies of officials as they keep charging in, armed with subpoenas and warrants and pushing the giants to their knees. The little guy from the other side of the tracks now suddenly emerges, along with more and more global marketing savvy and a real contender. There is a major grass-roots revolution of the little businesses run by the little folks.



The skyscrapers are now entangled by the Lilliputian attacks, and Steven Spielberg finally decides to make a movie called "The Encounters With Artificially Intelligent Businesses and Saving of the Small-Business-Minority-Report." Go Steve!



E-Fireworks



E-commerce is too boring. It's e-fireworks time now. One hundred-plus brand new features and 100-plus brand new gadgets all delivering and communicating simultaneously with whatever you need in whatever shape, style and form. Move over, "What You See Is What You Get"; it's now "Whatever You Want, You Got It." The bells and whistles along with new features will blow the mind. This gizmo, you put in your pocket, it's not just a gadget, it's the entire globe in your pocket. Do you get my drift?



Finally. Are we there yet? Maybe we already arrived just a few hours ago. Anyway, you make sure you have batteries and a radio in case there is a power failure. Candlesticks and matches will also help. It is still a foggy, a long and a winding trail, go for the high road. Who knows?

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