Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Kozmo's Back

For a short window during my sophomore year of college in DC, there was a home DVD and grocery service called Kozmo.com that truly improved my quality of life. I hopped on the website, picked the movie I wanted to rent and some snacks (and staple groceries I usually was missing like milk and bread) and within an hour - everything was at my door. Nothing makes you happier than someone delivering The Big Lebowski and a box of Lucky Charms to your college dorm at 11:30 PM. The next day you could just drop the DVD at a campus Kozmo pickup spot and you were done. (It also came in extremely handy if you were sick - as a bottle of OJ, some Therflu and Ferris Bueller's Day Off could be at your door quickly to help get you through the day.)

Well, Kozmo.com folded soon after, mostly due to over-expansion in terms of the markets it entered and the variety of products it offered (I could have told them that no one was likely to buy a DVD player for delivery?!).

Apparently, a former Kozmo employee believes that there is still a future for Kozmo's formula of convenience store items delivered to your door within an hour. Wired has an article about a new service called MaxDelivery, originally created to help deliver diapers and baby supplies to overburdened Manhattan parents. Like Kozmo, the idea of the service is convenience and speed - this isn't a grocery delivery service like Giant's Peapod - but more of an online convenience store where you can grab some diapers, a bag of Funions, and a DVD.

Apparently the founder of Maxdirect, Chris Siragusa, learned from Kozmo's mistakes and plans a much slower growth strategy for the new service (it is currently only available in a small section of Manhattan). While these services really only work in densely packed urban areas, I do think they can be successful in those markets. This is also a great alternative to Netflix for users that don't watch movies enough to get a subscription, but still like the idea of rental DVD's being delivered to their doors (along with some gummi bears, popcorn, and some diapers to keep the little one quiet).

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