Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
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.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
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
Need Cutting-Edge Copy?|
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extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy
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Net-based publications. If you're
interested, drop me a line
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.
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
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.
Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those
who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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