CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
After a meteoric rise and then a much- publicized fall from grace that made it a poster child for dot.com failures, online fashion retailer Boo.com relaunched quietly but on schedule this week as a unit of Fashionmall.com, which operates a number of fashion-focused web portals. A key part of Boo's new strategy is to use its new portal format to create community though message boards, chat rooms surveys and polls on the site. Monitoring the community buzz will allow it to spot fashion trends as they emerge, say company officials -- thus helping the brand to stay where it's positioned itself, ahead of the pop culture curve. Much of the community-focused activity is clustered on the site in a feature called "Boo Party," where the company promises the "famous, infamous and anonymous can interact with impunity." The new revenue model includes advertising on the site, product sales, and eventually market intelligence for e-retailers drawn from aggregate sales and traffic data. Boo.com also intends to license its name, developing partnerships with designers, manufacturers and specialty retailers to produce private-label merchandise that will be sold both online and offline.