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Comment on CGNET and e-commerce

NYT had an article on e-commerce in development, which briefly mentioned some points in Thailand and Cambodia.  The more interesting bit was a sales of coffee at an auction site from El Salvador growers direct to developed-world buyers, at prices up to 5x their local sale price.  My comments to a friend who suggested CGNET get involved: 

turns out lots of people have worked in this area for a very long time. we advised some people back in the late 1980s on auction and sales systems, and every year or two since we've met people. last year, a guy at stanford did a project for indian handicrafts; turns out running an ebay store is the best option for him, since that's where the buyers are. the real barriers are (1) how do handle customer satisfaction, like returning merchandise, handling repairs or refunds or non-paymnet, and (2) how to you inform the buyers how to find you -- for him, it meant travelling to trade shows and craft fairs and other such events to encourage store buyers to look for his products.

in the case of the coffee or other industrial products, it seems the key thing is the buyers having a site where they congregate, and then helping sellers figure out how to use them. it's good for people to do, but much more a business consulting problem than a technical services one. executive service corps, or peace corps, or business volunteer groups would be best positioned, i imagine. there's a fellow at the asia foundation that is plugged into this in a pretty big way; i'll bet he has ideas.

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Last update: 11/25/2005; 12:18:16 AM.
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