BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : NOVEMBER 1, 1999 ISSUE
BUSINESS WEEK E.BIZ -- UPSTARTS

Lessons from a Stalled e-Commerce Pioneer


Start with a well-defined market.
After selling powerful software for handling online sales, Open Market quickly branched out into electronic catalogs. But it found the customers weren't the same for the two products, so it was spread too thin.

Spot the quick-ripening markets.
Open Market focused on supplying robust software for large e-commerce sites. But the faster-growth market turned out to be simpler software for quickly opening a Web shop.

Know when to stop building it all yourself.
Open Market tried to develop its own Web application server, which speeds up the performance of a Web site. But later, when the technology was widely available, it kept pouring money into the project.

Think globally, but sell locally first.
Open Market went international too soon, adapting its software for 25 countries in its first year. That was costly and turned out to be a distraction from its core business.



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RELATED ITEMS
Where Is It Now? Open Market's Fall

TABLE: Lessons from a Stalled e-Commerce Pioneer



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