Having blogged about “me-tailing” yesterday (mass customising the retail experience), it turns out there is a company called Metail. As their website explains, they are an “online fitting room”. With more and more consumers shopping online for clothes, one of the challenges is making this experience more like the actual shopping experience – especially having the opportunity to try things on. Metail fills this need.
This is an interesting example of new intermediaries emerging in the world of commerce. A few years ago the trend was for “disintermediation”, that is to say cutting out intermediaries between producers and their consumers. This was very big in the travel industry with the rapid growth of travel websites, resulting in travel agencies having to reinvent themselves if they were to stay in business. But going alongside this there has also been reintermediation – the introduction of new intermediaries between producers and consumers.
One example of reintermediation that has been suggested is Amazon.com, since they are an intermediary. But I do not think this is a good example, since Amazon have simply replaced a physical distribution chain with a virtual one. Reintermediation is really about the creation of new “distribution services” that exist in the virtual world. Metail is a good example of this. TripAdvisor is another.
PS Thanks to Paul R. for drawing my attention to Metail.