This paper aims to categorize some of the fundamental information systems (IS) challenges with the development of consumer-oriented electronic commerce or online retailing. With the emergence of new online intermediaries such as America Online, Amazon and eBay, many traditional firms are at risk and need to respond. Despite their size and retailing experience most of the incumbent retailers such as Wal-Mart in the U.S. or Metro in Europe have been slow to develop successful online channels. IS-based forward integration into customer activities, such as product and price search, and the development of electronic backends (“e-backends”) have been identified as the two major and distinct inhibitors to online retailing success. Our analysis and findings draw from information system design work with retailers in the U.S. and Europe from 1997 through 1999.