IBM?s World Avenue internet shopping mall will be closed less than a year after it was set up, because of a poor response from consumers.
The manufacturer will now revise its approach to internet commerce, working much further behind the scenes than it had, by supplying products software and services to retailers wishing to trade on the Web.
In a statement issued by IBM, it conceded that the promotional activity was best left to the traders, as they were better equipped to bring in customers to their own stores.
But IBM?s reluctance to put the might of its brand-name behind the venture was one of the reasons given by analysts for the site?s failure. Chris Champion, internet analyst at the Yankee Group, suggested that the mall was either ?a mis-step or experiment by IBM, but maybe it has learned something. The mall might have worked if it were highly branded.?
The decision to scrap the site has raised questions about the validity of the shopping mall as a model for electronic commerce, as opposed to the retailer?s standalone Web site, but Champion suggested that the failure of World Avenue ? on which The Championships at Wimbledon has a shop ? was not necessarily a reflection of the inadequacy of the mall as medium for commerce.
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