E-commerce’s pesky little profitability problem

Online-only retailers have attracted huge amounts of investment capital during the past decade. Flash-sales sites such as Gilt and RueLaLa have collectively raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Rather small, but rapidly growing, specialty players like Bonobo's, Warby Parker, One Kings Lane and Birchbox have all recently raised tens of millions of dollars and now … Continue reading E-commerce’s pesky little profitability problem

Don’t confuse members with customers

Thanks to the so-called flash-sales sites we now have a distorted definition of what being a member means. Before Gilt, RueLaLa and the myriad "private" e-commerce business wanna-bees, gaining membership in something typically meant you needed to actually do something more than have an email address and a pulse. By now it should be clear to … Continue reading Don’t confuse members with customers

Competing with yourself

One of the biggest mistakes companies make strategically is failing to compete with themselves. The only reason Sears is no longer the leader in the retail home improvement industry--and now on a slow slide into oblivion--was their unwillingness to build or buy an off-the-mall response to Home Depot when they had the chance. Having personally … Continue reading Competing with yourself

The Private Flash Sales Sites Jump the Shark

On April 19 I posted about my belief that the luxury off-price market was about to hit the wall, largely owing to a squeeze between a growing customer base seeking out great deals, and a diminishing supply of first quality branded merchandise.   I suggested that the various players in the space were going to have … Continue reading The Private Flash Sales Sites Jump the Shark