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Marketing Strategies of Boo.com

Question:

Discuss About The Unsuccessful E Commerce Stories Dotcom Boom?

The company Boo.com was one of the pioneers in the use of digital media for its marketing purposes. The company was founded by three Swedish entrepreneurs, namely, Kajsa Leander, Patrik Hedelin and Ernst Malmsten in the year 1998 (Wrey 2015). The company is an “online sports retailer” and intended to “amazonize the sector” (Wrey 2015). The aim of the company was to “the world’s first online global sports retail site” (Wrey 2015). However, after an initial successful run the company had to shut down due to various reasons like lack of financial support from the financers, strategic errors and other factors.

Effective marketing strategies form an important part of any company or business organization (Chaston 2015). It is often seen that the overall growth as well as the development or the failure of any organization depends on the marketing strategies which is being followed by that particular business organization (Guler and Tufan 2013). It would be apt to say that the marketing strategies followed by the company Boo.com were responsible for the untimely fall of the company Boo.com. Some of the marketing strategies which made the fall of the company Boo.com inevitable are listed below-

Firstly, the over-reliance of the company on the technology of its time can be ascribed as one of the major factors which facilitated the downfall of the company. It is to be noted that the company was one of the premier ones to initiate the process of online shopping and the company is often considered to be the “sports and retail version of Amazon” (Wrey 2015). However, it is to be noted that the company was operational back in the 1990s and 2000s when there was no broadband and people needed to use dial-up connections  (Wrey 2015). The individuals had to download the software in order to access the websites. The primary motive of the company for following the path of online marketing can be deciphered from the lines in “New Media Age” (1999) which states “The $60b USD industry is dominated by Gen Xers who are online….If boo.com becomes known as the place to keep up with fashion and can supply the latest trends then there is no doubt that there is a market, a highly profitable one at that, for profits to grow from”. However, the actual thing which happened has been pertinently captured in the words of a reviewer- “Eighty-one minutes to pay too much money for a pair of shoes that I still have to wait a week to get?” (Wrey 2015).

The second marketing strategy which can be ascribed to the fall of the company Boo.com was the untimely globalization followed by the company Boo.com. It is to be noted that the company Boo.com wanted to a global leader in the online fashion garments industry and therefore it planned to expand its business in Europe and America without having proper means to reinforce its sale and technological aspects  (Wrey 2015). The company should have waited its sales to increase and other means of revenue generation before embarking on the path of globalization.

Over-reliance on Technology

The third marketing strategy which can be taken as a factor for the inevitable fall of the company Boo.com was the manufacturing blunders committed by the company. The company emphasized more on the design as well as the material of garments manufactured by it and other related aspects instead of focusing more on the size of the garments manufactured by it  (Wrey 2015). Therefore, the choices available to the customers in terms of sizes were very limited and this increased the dissatisfaction level of the customers related to the product.

Another factor responsible for the downfall of the company Boo.com was that on the drive to become global and the online giant the company ended up spending more on the technological advancement rather than investing on improving the quality of the products manufactured by it and other aspects (Wrey 2015).

Moreover, it can also be said that the company Boo.com fail to introduce various new strategies like competitive pricing strategies, promotional strategies and various other policies followed by various other companies like firebox.com and lasminute.com.

It is often seen that the products sold buy a company or business organization plays a significant role in the overall growth as well as the development of the company or the business organization concerned (Dennis et al. 2012). The idea behind the original creation of the company Boo.com was very revolutionary for its time. The company in order to leave a lasting impression on its various customers decided to go ahead with a name which was very unconventional. In the words of Rob Talbot, the owners of the company Boo.com were “looking for a name that was easy to spell across all the different countries and easy to remember….something that didn’t have a particular meaning” (Wrey 2015). The target customer base of the company was “young, well-off and fashion-conscious’ 18-to-24-year-olds” (Wrey 2015). The company was an online retailer for the various brands like Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Polo, Fila, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger and various others  (Wrey 2015). The company used to provide expensive garments to the customers. Therefore, the choice of its target customer base was not appropriate for the products sold by it.

Pricing forms an important aspect of the marketing strategy followed by the various companies or business organizations. Pricing strategy was a major issue for the company Boo.com. The company intended to sell its products over the online platform. It is to be noted that back in the 1990s and 2000s when the company was operational pricing strategy was seen to be direct representation of the brand image of the company (Wrey 2015). A lower pricing policy followed by the company meant a negative brand image whereas a higher pricing policy followed meant a positive brand image (Gomez-Herrera, Martens and Turlea 2014). However, it was noticed that the various customers had to pay the same amount of money to buy the products online as they would have to spend to buy the products from the physical stores. In addition to this, the customers after ordering the products had a wait for a week or two to get the delivery of the products ordered by them.

Untimely Globalization


Promotion forms an important aspect of any company or business organization. It helps the companies or business organizations to promote their various products as well as services (Birindelli 2012). The company Boo.com also followed an extensive promotional plan for the promotion of its various products as well as services. The company used to promote its various products in the fashion magazine called “Boom” (Wrey 2015). The company also used to promote its products extensively over the Televisions and radio and various other internet platforms. However, it is significant to note the conversion rate of the company for the sale of its products was only 0.25%  (Wrey 2015).

It is to be noted that the distribution channel followed by the company Boo.com was the online platform (Wrey 2015). However, the customers who used to avail their services had to wait for more than a week for the delivery of the products ordered by them. Moreover, the price which was charged by the company was the same which was charged by the various retail stores. In addition to that, the various brands whose products were sold by Boo.com already had their retail stores and thus they were reluctant to offer their services to the company. It is also to be noted that the people back in the 1990s and 2000s were not much familiar to the concept of buying products over the internet and this indirectly hampered the prospects of the company (Brownsword 2016).

The process of online selling of products was followed by the company boo.com. However, it was often seen that the process of online purchase of products was a very long as well as tedious process and many customers preferred to buy products from the various retail stores (Crewe 2013).

The company boo.com had a considerable success in the 1990s and 2000s and therefore, a large workforce was needed to cater to all the needs as well as the requirements of the customers. The company therefore had to spend a considerable amount of its profit on the maintenance of this workforce. This proved to be considerably dear to the company as the company was not making much profit.

Some of the ideas used by the company boo.com were very innovative as well as advanced for its time and are still used by the major online shopping websites. The first major e-retail technique used by the company was the use of a pseudo-online salesman. The company recognizing the hesitation of the customers to get buy products online incorporated the idea of the online salesman who would guide the customers over the website to buy the various products (Wrey 2015). Another, significant technique used by the company was that it used to send the customers information about the new products as well as services over the email and manual posts (Wrey 2015). The company also used to provide images of the products which the customers were interested in buying to capture the customers and also to enhance the experience of the customers (Wrey 2015). These techniques are commonplace today however they were very revolutionary back in the 1990s and 2000s.

References

Birindelli, F.G., 2012. Luxury business: Multinational organizations and global specializations. In Luxury Strategy in Action (pp. 22-36). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Brownsword, R., 2016. The E-commerce directive, consumer transactions, and the digital single market: Questions of regulatory fitness, regulatory disconnection and rule redirection. Estonia: Lecture given at a SECOLA Conference in Tartu. Google Scholar.

Chaston, I., 2015. The Online World. In Internet Marketing and Big Data Exploitation (pp. 1-22). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Crewe, L., 2013. When virtual and material worlds collide: democratic fashion in the digital age. Environment and Planning A, 45(4), pp.760-780.

Dennis, C., Michon, R., Brakus, J.J., Newman, A. and Alamanos, E., 2012. New insights into the impact of digital signage as a retail atmospheric tool. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11(6), pp.454-466.

Gomez-Herrera, E., Martens, B. and Turlea, G., 2014. The drivers and impediments for cross-border e-commerce in the EU. Information Economics and Policy, 28, pp.83-96.

Guler, B. and Tufan, K., 2013, October. Unsuccessful e-commerce stories Dotcom boom. In Application of Information and Communication Technologies (AICT), 2013 7th International Conference on (pp. 1-4).

Wrey, R., 2015. Boo. com spent fast and died young but its legacy shaped internet retailing. The Guardian”, https://www. theguardian. com/technology/2005/may/16/media. business [dost?p: 28.10. 2015].

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