Miss Boo - Boo.com

The most memorable Dotcom Failure was that of the original Boo.com in the year 2000. Deborah Collier President The Certificate in Online Business investigates the reasons why the original online retailer Boo.com failed and what we can learn.


The year 2000 was a turbulent time for the Internet economy, but the failure of the clothing e-tailer Boo.com, added to fears about the stability and viability of existing and future on-line retailers. If we examine the history of the original Boo.com, its financial situation, marketing and management strategies, and assess the reasons for its downfall, we can learn several valuable lessons.

Boo.com was launched 3rd November 1999, with approximately $125million (76 million pounds) of funding provided by investors such as Benetton and Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, Europe’s largest luxury goods group. It had not only become the most heavily funded Internet start-up in Europe, but had also become the most high profile. All eyes were on Boo.

The launch was delayed by six months, which according to various sources were due to technological problems. According to the ‘Financial Times’, there was a huge spending on consultancy fees, to get the website launched as quickly as possible. In addition, they state that $6million was spent on fashion ware, which had to be discounted as it was no longer fashionable by the time the site was eventually launched (Financial Times. 18th May 2000). When the site did eventually arrive, customers found the shopping experience frustrating. They were greeted by an on-line virtual shopping assistant ‘Miss Boo’. She did not succeed in helping visitors with the purchasing experience. Instead Boo.com visitors were greeted with slow browsing, poor navigation and irritating technology. This lost potential customers and gained Boo a bad reputation.

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Deborah M. Collier - President - Digital Skills Authority

26th September 2001 Edited 9th April 2008

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