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e-Retail Case Study : RedEnvelope


By Joanne Neidorf, Jun 8, 2001. Article courtesy Addison Wesley.

(In this excerpt from the book e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce, (Addison-Wesley, 2001, 0-2017-2169-4), authors Joanne Neidorf and Robin Neidorf examine how e-retailer Red Envelope has modified, adapted, and applied retail knowledge within a Web environment.) ________________________________________________________________________________

It began as an emergency service for those who were thoughtful and yet pressed for time—, where gifts ordered by midnight Eastern Standard Time would be delivered the following morning. Although RedEnvelope still has a 911gifts section in its Web-based retail store, the new incarnation of the company aims for total recognition as a unique gift source known for quality, style, and personality. began in 1997 as the brainchild of Scott Galloway and R. Ian Chaplin. Galloway and Chaplin were co-founders of Prophet Brand Strategy, a consulting firm assisting companies with their electronic commerce and brand strategy efforts.

In the fall of 1999, the company evolved into RedEnvelope Gifts Online. The name refers to an Asian custom of presenting special gifts in a simple red envelope. The "urgency" feature of the assortment had been supplanted by an emphasis on meaningful gift-giving, simplified.

Since the re-launch, several successful rounds of venture capital financing have enabled the company's dramatic growth.

RedEnvelope's management team has years of experience working for traditional and catalog retailers like Williams-Sonoma and its brands (Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, and others). With RedEnvelope, they have adapted traditional retail concepts to the Web environment. At the same time, they have embraced advanced technologies that enhance the consumer's shopping experience and added...
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