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Subject: UKNM: deja boo?
From: Ian Tester
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 07:39:08 +0100

interesting sites, but all of them demonstrate fundamental flaws in selling

on the web /creating useful lifestyle sites, both of which boo tried to do,
but couldn't

www.lifelounge.com - beautiful (but incedibly cluttered & impossible to
navigate site) which contains only content (unless i've missed a commerce
area!!). however, like boom, heavily flash based, no value add in the slow
download, and you can read the entire site in 30 minutes - why return?????
content ain't fresh enough, and it takes too long to read (when you've found
it). but pretty much the pick of what's been mentioned, from a
lifestyle/content perspective.

www.yoox.com - hardly any stock, and when it does have it, in very very
limited size ranges. Total number of mens' shoes = 10. most of these
available in only 4 (random) sizes. i hope the site has dynamic
availability, or half the orders made won't be fulfilled - they must have
*exciting* low stock danger levels. in essence, would you shop in a
"designer" superstore that only has 10 pairs of shoes in weird sizes? best
of all, they claim to have "the largest selection of designer clothes on the
net". bollocks.

www.haburi.com - again, hardly any stock, and what they do have is really
really horrible - shoot the merchandising team. if pierre cardin and great
plains is cutting-edge desirable designer gear, i'm a lemon. best of all,
the site loads *even* slower than boo ever did, but without the accompanying
functionality. on the plus side, it does do multi language, multi-currency
admirably, the pricing transparency is pretty fantastic. if they get a lot
more stock, and get some *nice* stock, they may have a chance. crap name

www.net-a-porter - *impossible* navigation, but does seem to have the best
initial blend of content and stock. however, out of around 50 designers, i
had heard of only 8 (and yes, i have worked in fashion!). getting people to
part with teir money for really high-end fashion is almost impossibly hard
to do when you haven't heard of them - it's a bit like the US cosmetics
sites that try to sell you goods from 300 manufacturers you've never heard
of (i.e the sites that won't see summer 2001) - consumers don't buy
high-ticket items unless a. they know the brand or b. they can test it.
However, the best gag is the shipping - minimum cost 18. d'oh! but it is
free after 750. . . dream on boys. . .

www.brandfever.com - could be interesting - looks like they've got a
sensible organic growth strategy, and an interesting business model - come
back to get it whilst it's hot (sticky sticky!), and the promise of good
brands direct from manufacturer (so no grey goods). these guys could be
promising, but they will live or die by their buying team, if they're really
going for a brand-driven experience. also, if their site looks/works
anything like the holding one, they're going to be in a world of pain.
interesting to know whether they'll be offering stock that's *just* out of
season - i suspect yes. they'll also have to very careful about
presentation - high-end fashion labels are really touchy about their brands
and their presentation.

i'm not defending boo.com - we totally screwed up a lot of things, including
many of the points i've made above. and especially the site. . .

but the simple fact is that there has never been a multi-brand international
site that consumers are likely to use at any volume - there's still a
massive gap in the market to be exploited, but so far nobody has got the
blend right.

anyone care to suggest exceptions in the fashion sector?

anyway, a few thoughts, added with a big dollop of hindsight ;-0

happy thursday all. . .and can we put the nob gags away for a minute? - they
make feel feel juvenile. .


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