Retailers: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 01, 2005

It never fails. As soon as I find a restaurant I love, it goes under. I felt the same way yesterday, when Circuit City announced it’s ending a partnership with Amazon.com. …

Just last week, I had decided to try ordering something through Amazon.com and picking it up in a local store--in this case, a digital camera at Circuit City. Worked great (and cheaper than Amazon's price, too). Within minutes, my order through Amazon was ready for pickup. Three minutes after walking in Circuit City's door, I was walking back out with camera in hand.

Circuit City says it just wants to focus on its own Web site. Although it's not saying more, one person who helps such companies sell on Amazon and other shopping venues speculates that the electronics retailer didn't want its products to be compared directly to those Amazon and its other partners sell, which is what happens when you search Amazon for a DVD player or digital camera. Understandable, I suppose. But let's get real. Consumers are doing this already through shopping sites and search engines.

The bottom line is, it's an even bet that I wouldn't have bothered to even try Circuit City had it not been selling through Amazon. Better to get your products out on the Web wherever people are looking than try to contain them inside one site. As my source put it, "Why look a gift horse in the mouth?" Why indeed?

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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