Retail TouchPoints – On Dec. 14, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal current net neutrality regulations designed to ensure that consumers have equal access to the Internet, content providers like YouTube and Netflix were not the only companies worried that their offerings could take a major hit. While effects of the repeal likely won’t be felt until 2018 at the earliest, e-Commerce retailers now must adjust to an uncertain environment — one in which they may have to pay up in order to get out in front of the consumer.
The main argument against the repeal is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) won’t be required to treat all data the same, so they could potentially charge users more to access specific sites or view certain content, or impose tighter data caps. Additionally, ISPs could force Internet companies and web sites to pay more for faster connections — potentially leading to the slowdown or even blocking of online traffic.
With these concerns, smaller players and new entrants must continue focusing on what differentiated them in the first place to stay on top.
“It’s really about personalization, and providing customers a real personalized experience, because those are the things that are going to help you retain your loyalty and help you compete effectively,” said David Naumann, VP of Marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “It’s still the basics, and ensuring that customers are brand enthusiasts. If we see the changes that we suspect might happen, where there’s a sliding scale for bandwidth and speed, companies are going to be ultra-diligent in optimizing their web site. It might actually create some opportunities for technology companies that look to boost speed and performance based on bandwidth.”
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