Many of my blog postings are stories about sites that I created. This one is about a site I wanted to start, but never did: BoneoftheMonth.com . I registered the domain in 2003 and the the concept was to create a site where people could buy their pet a luxurious gift, which would a gourmet dog bone delivered by mail to them each month for a year. Each month a different type of bone would be mailed to the dog. In addition to pet owners buying this gift for their pet, it would also be a great Christmas gift for friends and family to give to the owner/pet.
The good thing about the dog bone business is that they are cheap to buy and are easy to purchase. Just to get started, I could buy them from local pet stores at the retail price, and not have to worry about setting up a wholesale account or carrying much inventory. It would not be hard to create a computer program to track the customers and figure out what needs to be shipped when, and the website part would be pretty simple since there would only be mainly one item for sale (a 1 year club membership). I would have the user choose small, medium, or large sized bones, depending on how big their dog is.
The problem is that I just don’t think there is enough profit to be made from it. The bones only cost a few dollars each, but the shipping each month would cost $5-$10 (some bones are heavy). If for example the combined cost of the bone and shipping is $10, that means my wholesale cost for a 1 year membership would be $120 (12 months x $10 each month). Then there are the labor costs of preparing and mailing each order, and the ecommerce costs (at least 5% for merchant fees and fraud). On top of all of that there is the cost of obtaining customers, like through advertising in Google. The ad cost would probably be at least $10 per order, making my total costs around $150 per order. I can’t imagine people would pay more than $99, or even $49, for a gift like this for a pet, so I don’t see any way for it to work. Maybe if I sold a 3 month plan instead it could be at a price people would pay, but having it only for 3 months does not sound like a very exciting product.
Every Christmas when I see all the gift products advertised, the BoneoftheMonth.com idea pops back into my head, but for now it is not something I am going to pursue.