At the time of boo.com's launch, its founders stated the following:
We believe very strongly that in Boo.com there is a formula for a successful business, and fervently hope that those who are now responsible for dealing with the company will recognize this.
In retrospect, it is evident that boo.com had no clearly defined business concept or strategic plan except the over ambitious plan to make the company both the largest and most sophisticated e-retailer of fashion goods in the world. Its business formula focused on developing internal expertise in Information Systems as a key success factor. The company strived to develop a complicated system that would support global trade in different currencies through multiple distribution centres from its onset. Boo.com's focal point was also to create an extraordinary web space for customers and usher them through an online shopping experience they had never witnessed. While these objectives were sound, they had no supporting strategies to back up their implementation. The business formula of boo.com was based on shallow assessments and vague strategies.
Boo.com was one of the start-ups in an emerging industry founded on innovation and advanced technology. Therefore at the time of its launch the company had no real competitors or points of reference. However, future competition was anticipated for this sector in the form of local and global e-retailers, but boo.com made no provisions to counter potential competition. There was no evident competitive edge to make the company unique and able to withstand future competition.
The company also lacked a clearly defined consumer market segment as a target. The products were aimed at consumers in the 18-30 year age group, which is a broad consumer group. This meant that the products were designed and priced to appeal to this age group. However, this target consumer segment exhibits differing characteristics in terms of tastes, choices, income and expectations. For example, the disposable income and fashion expectations of 18-year-olds were hardly the same as those of 30-year-olds. Also, the company wasn't clear if its target market was the high net-worth luxury consumers or mass fashion consumers. Boo.com aspired to sell high-end fashion goods and sportswear at premium prices but its shallow business assessment and lack of market definition made this difficult.
The business concept of boo.com and its strategic plan is also not clear in the aspect of e-retail. The e-retail strategic option adopted was that of 'pure-play' e-retail only with no physical store presence. This meant a completely virtual relationship with customers. However, boo.com did not evaluate the interactive needs that selling fashion goods online required. The company designed its online selling strategies like those of consumer products and ended up merchandizing fashion goods like books.
Boo.com had a business concept that was superficial, imprecise and largely focused on marginal aspects of business development and ignored the major facets of business planning. The company was driven by its ambition for short-term gains and ended up starting a business without being ready.
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