Home > Uncategorized > Leveraging the long tail

Leveraging the long tail

The emergence of e-commerce has drastically changed the retail business in many ways. The low cost of production, distribution, and marketing, have along with the infinite shelf-space of the Internet brought sustainability to markets that previously weren´t profitable.

This phenomenon is described in O´Reillys pattern of “Leveraging the long tail”. The term was coined by Chris Anderson in 2004 and refers to the graphical representation of products and their popularity, where the largest portion of the product range are the relatively unpopular ones i.e. the niche market:

By focusing your business on the niche markets one can avoid heavy competition, which in time can strengthen your business´ position. In addition, the Internet lacks the geographical constraints of a traditional store so that one can reach the entire market of a particular niche. However, it must be pointed out that this concept of the long tail doesn´t mean that one must focus purely on low-volume niches, having a wide as possible range like Amazon or Audible does exploits every piece of a given market.

One website that takes advantage of the long tail principle we´ve discussed is Australian movie rental site Quickflix. Quickflix offers an extensive range of more than 36000 titles including movies, TV-shows, documentaries, and concert DVD´s. The vast amount of titles offered by Quickflix is unmatched by any physical video store. I tried searching for several movies and concert DVD´s that are concidered very unknow and they actually had most of them.

Quickflix certainly exercises some of the best practices of “leveraging the long tail”, such as using an architecture of participation involving user-reviews, rating etc., and leveraging customer self service by letting user manage their own accounts. It is also worth mentioning the user-friendliness of Quickflix, involving logical categorization of titles, a comprehensive search function, and many different top-rated categories that I always find useful when browsing for titles worth watching.

The next step for Quickflix would probably be complete digitalisation of their inventory like Netflix, which could drastically lower shipping and storage costs. But I suppose preliminary there may be some issues with a streaming service here in Australia, due to the common download-limits and mediocre bandwidth?


What is web 2.0? O´Reilly Media

Chris Anderson – The Long Tail – Wired.com


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Great post on the pattern! I had not heard about Quickflix before , and it seems pretty cool, but like you said if they could get streaming possibilities that would make it more interesting for me personally. But as I have experienced here in Australia, the bandwidth is not all that, so they would have a problem!

    • May 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Yes streaming functionality is certainly the next step, but it is very dependant on a fast and stable internet-connection to get an interruption-free and smooth experience.

  2. May 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

    I haven’t tried Quickflix, but it sounds better than both Headweb and Voddler, the two Swedish companies doing the same. But as you say, there are some ridicoulus bandwidth limits here in Australia, so I’m not going to test it until that changes … or maybe I should say “if”?
    Good post by the way!

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