Publisher’s Notes

A recent jewelers' forum sponsored by GIA evolved into a heated discussion of what effect the Internet will have on the industry. Not surprisingly, the panelists' opinions ran the gamut: from "let's face it, a lot of business is going to be done in cyberspace" to "it may be useful for browsing, but the Internet can never replace personal, face-to-face contact between buyers and sellers." Some of the retailers expressed concern that a growing number of suppliers will bypass them, using the Internet for direct access to consumers. Others, however, said they look forward to expanding their market boundaries and building sales through their own World Wide Web sites on the Internet. There was no question about the underlying issue of the debate: does technology portend great changes in the way retailers and suppliers do business? Or as one forum speaker asked, "will the Internet simply open

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