Friday, January 05, 2007
Before the web came along, apparel was the number one mail order category. In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson quotes Jeff Bezos on some of his early (1994) analysis of what could succeed online:
I went to the Direct Marketers Association and got the list of all the things that were sold remotely. Apparel was the number one remote sales category.
He goes on to say that books were at the bottom. I find this fascinating. I don't think that is the case today -- according to this article apparel doesn't even make the top 8. (Contrast to 2000, when it was #3.) it definitely adds some zing to the potential business aspects of Dressr. I suspect if I had the numbers, that apparel would be one of those categories that has been losing the direct sale shares over things like books. Part of the problem I have -- as a clotheshorse and a online shopper -- is that filtering through the crap for clothing and finding that one perfect piece is incredibly hard.
I want Dressr to be a tool that people who love clothes use to catalog their wardrobes -- but I'm hoping that a happy byproduct is that it will turn into what Anderson calls a Long Tail filter, and make it easy to find the perfect piece that just happens to be in someone else's closet.
So to recap:
1994: Apparel the top category for direct mail sales
2000: Apparel #3 for online retail
2006: Apparel somewhere below #8 for online sales
Apparel sales are not keeping up; I posit that is because of the lack of "long tail filters;" Dressr can potentially fill this gap.