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Pigs Can't Fly 6 November 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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According to the NZ Herald this morning (see headlines below), the future of NZ's most hyped online retailer -- Flying Pig hangs in the balance.

Nobody I've spoken to in the past few days seems surprised that the site may be headed for the knackers' yard, and regular readers will recall that I was strongly critical of the "me too -- let's copy Amazon.com" strategy adopted by its founders.

Actually, I guess that me-too approach has probably been part of its potential undoing.

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CNet today reports (see headlines below) that Amazon.com is starting to slide backwards in terms of its ranking in the online bookselling marketplace and that can't be good news for the Pig's prospects.

To be honest, online retailing (with only a few noteable exceptions) seems to have been a bit of a bust -- particularly here in New Zealand.

Many of the companies that once spent tens or hundreds of millions building "online shopping experiences" are now little more than a memory.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Online Retail... - Tim
  • Flying Pig is Rubbish... - Camryn
  • Have Your Say

    So is online retail a lame idea -- or is it just that the vast majority of players got the formula wrong?

    I don't profess to have all the answers, but I do know that those operators who are actually spinning a profit tend to be smaller operators.

    Hell, even my own little online retail operation selling pulsejets (order now for Christmas ;-) is doing a roaring trade and must be the most cost-effective way anyone could sell such esoteric products.

    Amongst the profitable operators, a high percentage appear to be companies that are using the web to sell their own products (like me) rather than those who are trying to be pure retailers buying and selling other people's products.

    Of course there are exceptions to that rule, such as NZ's own Cranium Music which operates as a pure retailer -- but once again tends to deal in product of a more esoteric nature.

    I don't expect the larger "pure" online e-tailers to make profits any time soon. They simply have too many overheads and face too much competition (as Amazon have discovered).

    However, if you're selling Biafran nose-flutes to a small, dedicated, and geographically dispersed group of collectors and players then an online store is probably just what the doctor ordered.

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    The Day's Top News
    Open in New Window = open in new window
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    Open in New Window Noon deadline for FlyingPig
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