“The Homer”

(by guest author Alexander Graf)

Based on frequent debates about various important or not so important e-commerce business models, I would like to introduce a new term, which I used for several years while working with my former colleagues at the OTTO Group. This term considerably shortens complex explanations and is simplifying communication. The term we are talking about is: “The Homer”

Fans of the tv series “The Simpons” certainly can remember the legendary episode where Homer Simpson was asked to develop a new car for his rich brother Herb.

Thanks to Homer’s dislike of the cars Herb’s company was creating, Herb decided his company needed a new car that would appeal to the “average” American. Despite the many objections of Herb’s employees, Herb encouraged Homer to follow his instincts in creating a car that American consumers would want to buy. Homer took charge of the project after Herb encouraged him to obey his gut when it came to what kind of car he wanted. Unfortunately, Homer’s creation was such a monstrously strange car, it cost so much to develop, and had such a high price tag, that Herb’s car company went out of business shortly after, with its building purchased by Komatsu Motors.

This car was totally overloaded with features and bling bling, so that it no longer had a useful profile for potential customers. A similar situation has been established with in the e-commerce industry over the last five years. Several online stores were opened, that attracts attention through various features, but basically did not bring new customer benefits. The shop owners believe that they are doing everything right, based on so-called “best-in-class” analysis. Good usability, great check out, a badge system for existing customers, Facebook ……. But in fact all of these things have absolutely no influence, when the business model behind these various features does not result in consumer benefits. Whenever I’m hearing at conferences or talks more about functions and features of online shops than about customer benefits, the term “The Homer” suggests itself. So the badge system today is the big car spoiler of “The Homer”.

In future posts I will certainly reference this post. Regular followers of Kassenzone should remember this post! By the way true Simpsons fans can bid currently on eBay for a Homer model.


Is there any interest for a Homer Award? With real proposals, votings and award ceremony at a relevant online conference?

About the author:

Alexander Graf started his first Kiel based (event) business in 1997 when he was 17. Since then “business building” has always been part of his CV. In 2006, he joined the OTTO Group’s corporate development team new media in Hamburg. In this position he further build up his in depth understanding of mergers, learned how to convince top tier board members and how to find and wireframe new business models. After the acquisition and integration of Limango and some sophisticated search engine R&D, he joined Tarek & Nils at NetImpact/etribes, an agency and consultancy for e-commerce business models, in 2011. There he now works as a board member trying to make customers happy.

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One Response to “The Homer”

  1. Pingback: Shop Construction: The Power of Intuition « ecomPunk

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