Importer of rare gadgets, goodies and widgets, Expansys South Africa shut its doors last week. The full story can be read on Mybroadband but the summary reads fairly simply: lots of complaints about the company, radio silence around December then suddenly a complete and utter shutdown. I find this weird for a couple of reasons:
- People love gadgets and will pay to buy products they can’t get locally. As one of these people cost becomes less of an issue as you lust after the latest US only gadget.
- Running an online store that is contracting in size is actually relatively easier than running a larger store. You can essentially get away with running a store with one person handling orders and postage. I’ve seen this done before; it is possible.
The story has a slight twist though with the issue that French cellular network Orange is opening in South Africa. The weird part of the story is that there is no new network being launched: you can’t go buy an Orange sim card and put it into your phone.
Then the plot thickens some more:
What Orange has done is launched an online store: http://store.orange.com/za/p_orange_home.aspx. In this online store they sell rare gadgets, goodies and widgets. Sensing a pattern here? But wait, there’s more!
Expansys in the UK and Orange have partnered up according to Techcentral. 1+1 = dodgy business somewhere?
The CEO of Expansys UK claims this is a major coincidence and that the Premium Group (owners of Expansys SA) went out of business and were liquidated. Could this be a case of the franchisor squeezing out the franchisee?
Something smells exceptionally fishy here.