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Online Everything

Financial aid, Paris shopping, toilet paper--what can't you get on the Web?

You can't pass a billboard or see a commercial without sighting the little ".com" trailing every product title. Clearly, the Web is now, or is fast becoming, the favored resource and communication device of the masses. And with arenas like extreme e-tailing, college prep and cyber-delivery developing into the latest online hotbeds, the thought of never ever having to leave your console is quickly becoming a reality. Take a look . . .

Extreme e-tailing: E-tailers are giving e-shoppers a more thorough look at the items they choose to purchase online. Le Printemps, a Paris department store, employs inline-skate-equipped salespeople, harnessed with laptops, networking gear and video cameras, to roll through the aisles of the 24-floor establishment, discussing and demonstrating items via for Web shoppers. Clothing can even be modeled upon request.

College prep: As competition rises in the fight for top-tier college admission, so too are college-prep firms scrambling to attract students via the Web. Increases in the number of such services are quickly paving the way to an automated admissions process. Online forums, such as Achieva (, set up college interviews, provide complete admissions advice, discuss financial-aid prospects and even offer round-the-clock personal mentors.

Cyber-delivery: Although at the moment you'll find very few establishments to deliver the latest DVD release, a pint of Pralines and Cream and a roll of toilet paper to your door at the mere click of a mouse, rest assured that such heavenly 24-hour cyber-delivery services will be making their way to a city near you before long. If you're living in New York City, you've probably already had a taste of this convenience.

This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »