Postmortem of Boo.com is no use now

Crikey! E-tailing and e-mailing are taking a bit of a bashing this week (MW May 25) with items on the failure of Boo.com capped by Stephen Archer berating recruiters for not responding to his e-mails in the letters section.

But, if I might say so, it’s all a bit like Harry Enfield’s “Only Me” character, whose catchphrase is: “I don’t think you wanted to do that.”

If half the insinuations are true, Boo.com was about as well managed as Mirror Group’s pension fund used to be. Not an e-commerce problem at all – just a problem with letting the bright sparks from NPD run the company. The e-commerce effect was merely “smoke and mirrors” that blinded JP Morgan to a “find the lady” business plan.

Whatever the case, pointing these things out now is just laughing as the hearse goes by.

What would have been useful is for Marketing Week to have pointed out the obvious failings before the company went down.

Being as athletic as the average market researcher and as trendy as George Pitcher’s picture suggests he is, I’d never visited Boo.com. Had I been told that the site wouldn’t work with Apple Macintoshes (a minority platform, yes, but less so on the Net and much less so in e-commerce – and retailers shouldn’t bar any minorities), I for one would have heard warning bells.

And if we’d been told of the champagne and five-star lifestyle enjoyed by the directors (in a start-up!) I think many people would have been considerably less surprised at the fall.

I love e-commerce. I sit here next to my Aerostich motorcycle suit ($600 well e-spent) and a $125 Nolan crash hat (e-commerce versus &£200 in Motorcycle City). I used to get the weekly shopping from Sainsbury’s Orderline. I want e-commerce to flourish.

And I think Marketing Week should be doing less cheerful dancing on Boo.com’s (deserved?) grave and spend more time informing about the growth of e-tailing in the UK and warning against its pitfalls.

In this proactive spirit, Sainsbury’s, fix your blasted e-commerce website! It has far too much in common with Boo.com’s site (redundant effects and graphics waste time and won’t fly on a Mac). That’s why I’m now shopping at my local Tesco and not e-buying from Sainsbury’s.

Mark Hodson

Market Research Manager

ONdigital

Battersea, London

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