Business models are possibly the most discussed and least understood facet of the web. Brokerage models, such as Priceline.com are market makers: they bring buyers and sellers together to facilitate transactions. Priceline.com leads the way to a unique new type of e-commerce known as a "demand collection system". Priceline.com is the world's first online buying service through which consumers name the price they're willing to pay. Leveraging the unique attributes of the Internet, Priceline.com finds sellers willing to meet buyers' needs and price.
Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline.com, created a new concept and business model. This model shifts the setting of prices from ...view middle of the document...
Major areas of concerns, which will be analysed in further details later on, for Priceline.com include: contested patent techniques, poor customer service, need of new brand identity, dependence on travel industry, falling stock price, and fierce new competitors.
Now, dealing with monumental problems, Priceline.com is faced with a daunting future and a questionable long-term success. Will Priceline.com find itself pushed out the market by copycats, despite its patent? Fundamentally, can Priceline.com's survive?
An evaluation of Priceline.com's strengths and weaknesses arises as an inspection of the company's internal mechanisms, which are relatively easier to control than outside factors. On the other hand, opportunities and threats were analyzed as part of an external environmental analysis; over which Priceline.com no control.
Internal Analysis: Strengths
As one of their biggest strength, Priceline.com not only benefits from having a first mover advantage, Priceline.com diversifies itself through six different products. Current travel products include airline tickets, hotel rooms, and vehicle rental. It also sells non-travel related goods such as automobiles, personal finances and long distance telephones calls. Travel-related services account for virtually all of the company's sales. Priceline.com has formed strong connections with top American airlines, hotels, car rentals, automobile dealers and long distance providers, especially in the travel related products.
Other strengths for priceline.com are related to its marketing strategy. The website's traffic skyrocketed after the success of its advertising campaign with William Shatner. This campaign accelerated Priceline.com's growth. Priceline.com's reputation for name your own price was quickly known by many online users. As well, Priceline.com's pricing strategy is well below regular traveling prices.
Internal Analysis: Weaknesses
The things online shoppers hunger for, above everything else, including cost savings, are convenience and fast service. Customer service suffers regularly in online retailers and at Priceline.com customer satisfaction is low. It is also under examination from the Better Business Bureau. Bidding online does not exactly provide a hassle-free shopping experience for many consumers, and this is where the underlying Priceline.com model shows a serious weakness. Excellent customer service is an extremely vital factor for any online company. That being said, at this point Priceline.com is not even providing reasonable customer service.
As mentioned earlier, Priceline.com is known for it's "name your own price" strategy; however, it is now clear that this brand identity is no longer enough to sustain the business. With the arrival of five direct competitors, Priceline.com's brand identity is no longer unique. They are not the only ones to offer very low prices on airline tickets. Priceline.com can no longer simply rely on their brand...