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Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Dumb Ladies" to Blame for Ruining Canadian E-Commerce: Goodman

Whereas British-Columbia-based search marketer Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro has recently blamed C-level execs executing perverted yoga positions for the current anemic state of online commerce sites in Canada, Andrew Goodman, author of this post and founder of Toronto-based Page Zero Media, has recently concluded that in fact "dumb ladies" are to blame for the digital malaise.

"Chicken and egg, tail wagging dog, or a playing card with a picture of a row of houses on the back, slowly falling from the top of the CN Tower; however you want to describe the situation, I assure you that Canadian CEO's aren't to blame for it," argued Goodman in a barely intelligible interview earlier this morning.

Goodman's account of the situation suggests that weak demand for "sweet spot" online items, such as drugstore-based supplies, comes from "dumb ladies" who refuse to learn how to use a computer. A full transcript of his story follows.

"Today I was walking in Bloor West Village and turned into a nutritional supplements wellness organic niceties store, because the door was open. I attempted to buy a small bottle of green tea capsules, and was told that before tax, the item would cost $45.00. I didn't hesitate to tell the shifty-eyed shop owner that I'm sorry but that is way too much, and I guess I'm used to buying this kind of stuff from a warehouse in Arizona. I don't like to buy from the Arizona place anymore because of the surprise shipping, duty, brokerage, and/or tax charges that so often sting us when we buy cross-border. So as my mind drifted to SNDCanada.com, a reputable, fast, Oakville-based retailer, the owner's faint plea penetrated just enough: 'Well these are high-potency.' I replied somewhat rudely: 'That is, if I believe the claim.' Truth is, I believe label claims somewhat in a major drugstore chain from major brand names, and I actually believe them from certain online outlets. But in a brick-and-mortar store in a 'hood full of gullible subjects I really don't think I'm getting my $45 worth.

"You see, in my neighbourhood there are a lot of underemployed, middle class (not rich, that market isn't big enough) women who concern themselves with personal grooming to the point of making it into a profession. They are, unfortunately, almost universally dumb. Rising asset values in their homes have allowed them to make overinflated purchases in local shops, and because they aren't genuine consumers like the rest of us, they don't question label claims. And unfortunately, they refuse to use computers. As anyone in business knows, dumb ladies are probably the highest-margin demographic short of New York State Governors. Sicko shop owners take advantage of the situation, making hyper-profits, and the owners of e-commerce properties don't make any money."

"I decided to take a stand today. I walked out of the store. I was about to try SNDCanada.com, but instead remembered my new friend Ali - owner of Well.ca, a recent startup in the drugstore supplies space. My assessment of the price and convenience benefit of using Well.ca is definitely mixed at this point. A bottle of the higher-potency green tea caps from reputable supplement maker Holista runs $19.59 plus $3.00 shipping. (The "Add $79.41 more to your cart to qualify for free shipping" message does not act as an enticement.) And I'll always be in Shoppers Drug Mart in any given week so the convenience element is nearly nonexistent. In fact, it's a pain to buy online what with the forms & card info and all - and then the box comes to your front door when you're not home. What I'm really looking for, to justify the online effort, is a great deal on high-potency green tea capsules in a 1,000 or 2,000 count tub.

"Whatever I do, though, honestly, for spite alone I would never buy the small bottle from the shifty shop owner for $45.00. I mean what's next, buying protein powder at GNC in the mall? The only thing worse than dumb ladies? Dumb teenagers. They keep half the stores in the mall in business, and also refuse to learn how to use a computer."

Postscript: the water meter reader who just came by is a smart woman. She uses a computer while walking house to house! I wonder if that device could be used to zap some sense into those Canadian CEO's or dumb ladies, whichever came first.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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