Changing technology could mean consumers do more shopping online than in stores.
Businesses in Ireland need to be aware that developing technology will see people buying more goods and services through the internet. They will pay by credit card and the goods will be delivered.
Simon Nugent Chief Executive of Chambers of Commerce of Ireland says,
Many many Irish businesses tell us that it is going to have absolutely no impact on them. We are telling them to think again that it is going to mean something for every business in Ireland.
A conference in Dublin described a scheme that would give everyone access to sell products on the internet to customers in their locality. Will the future see cyber shoppers visiting virtual malls and never venturing into the real world?
Wingham Rowan wants to see schemes that allow ordinary people to trade across their communities.
If they want to trade actively setting up deals for instance to look after the neighbours children or to rent out their bicycle with other people in their area then let them do that as well.
The future of cyber shopping is in no doubt and will hit local businesses as well as the big players. Both will have to be prepared.
An RTÉ News report broadcast 31 March 1999. The reporter is Anthony Murnane.