My piece on the Conversation has generated a bit of interest from business reporters. Here’s a piece from the Brisbane Times that resulted from a phone interview. I got to bandy around terms like “disruptive technology” and delve deeper into the scope for bricks and clicks to coexist (for some).
Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’
I’ve broken my blogging silence by voicing my opinion on the woes of Xmas retail over at the fancy Conversation website.
It kicks off like this:
The lead up to Christmas inevitably draws our attention to the actions and performance of retailers. This December there have been very few tales of cheer.
It gets better! Read on here.
I was intrigued today when I stumbled upon a magazine mention of just such an entrepreneurial endeavour. A mob out of California (now that shouldn’t surprise) called Shortomatic have been building up a portfolio of user- and guest designer-provided shorts through a pretty nifty website.
They have a number of similar elements to Threadless, although users cannot vote on prospective designs (instead the firm is the complete gatekeeper once artists submit). There is a revenue stream for successful designers of up to $1000 per design ($5 a pair up to the maximum run of 200), and a feel-good pledge to donate a similar amount to a charity.
Contrary to our discussions/expectations, all the materials are sourced and stitched together in the US (rather than China), which does push the pricing a bit higher than I expected ($US a pair).
The operation also suffers from a pretty slow turnaround from order-to-shipping – 21 days or so – which would seem to narrow the potential customer base a little (to those explicitly seeking a rare item of clothing). Again, you might argue this is a move away from Threadless’ model, as the t-shirt vendor’s speedy delivery (obviously built on an ability to print and warehouse shirts confident of sales from their much bigger customer base) allows for pretty spontaneous purchase, while Threadless’ policy of limited runs also encourages a “buy while you can” attitude.
Nevertheless, this looks like a pretty neat play at this considerably smaller and tougher fashion segment. Again it does beg the question what other design-your-own, crowdsourced interfaces can we foresee (remembering we’ve also looked at custom bicycles on here too)?
Happy New Year all. Over the break I was wandering around a great website for seeing new business ideas at work – Springwise and came across an idea screaming for local adaptation to the Australian market.
Urban Outfitters are allowing their online customers to order custom-designed bikes (>500 combinations of those trendy fixed gear types) that are then delivered by Republic Bike.
There would appear to little risk for either party here. Republic Bike get a big boost to customer awareness and presumably gain more from economies of scale than they lose in a cut of the revenue to the retailer. Urban Outfitters get a nifty new offering that they wouldn’t be able to produce themselves (thus differentiating themselves further from other youth fashion houses – something they’d started by offering op-shop style homewares).
Surely there is scope for such hook-ups in the Australian retail space? While not many Aussie retailers have a strong e-commerce interface (probably reflective of our terrible broadband and our highly urbanised population compared to the US), there should still scope for innovative folks like Crumpler and Haul to offer design-your-own while tapping into an existing but underutilised customer base of a more generalist retailer.
Who else would be a candidate? As producers? Retailers?