The Broken Boomerang Model - Share but Lose Consumers
Often called "product-to-product linking, a broken boomerang exemplifies this model. Brands "toss" consumers to the website of a retailer or other channel partner with the expectation that the consumer will boomerang back to them by purchasing the brand's product. Unfortunately, the boomerang breaks mid-air and the brand has little or no visibility into what happened to the consumer and no ongoing relationship with that consumer after the sale. In this model, consumers goes to brandname.com, shops for a product, and clicks on "buy online", taking them to icons of online retailers that are supposed to have the item in question IN STOCK. Consumers chooses a retailer and is taken to the product page at the retailer's website. Now at the retailer's site, consumers may be influenced by competing brands. Because these systems rely upon the retailer providing its complete and massive product inventory detail, often by location, there are countless examples where the desired product is not in stock, forcing consumers to search for alternatives. The result is a complete loss of the brand experience the manufacturer has worked so hard to deliver, the potential for a lost sale, the ultimate loss of the relationships between the manufacturer and consumers and all of the geo-demographic, psychological and purchasing data associated with consumers. Although this model works well for large brands who sell into large retail chains and department stores like Best Buy, Home Depot and Macy's, it does not accommodate special or custom orders which represents the largest number of products any brand offers. Because of this system complexity and magnitude, small brands and specialty retailers cannot use this system. Lastly, although retailers can link their websites to brands using this methodology, there are significant reasons for retailers not to do so as they may lose their consumer to a competitive retailer in the process of doing so.