Oxygen is discontinuing direct retail sales from Womenshands, a site for female artisans to sell their wares, and is folding style site Picky into its new shopping information service, Shop 02, which is set to launch in the next two weeks.
"At this time, (e-commerce) is not a business model we want to follow; we don't feel it's the right way to serve our customers," said Laura Nelson, vice president of communications for Oxygen.
Shop 02 will be an "end-to-end shopping solution site," where consumers can search for and decide what they want to buy before they buy it. Nelson said Shop 02 will have some partnerships with retailers and will also send consumers to select online stores. Womenshands will eventually go off the site.
Oxygen is like many other Internet companies that have closed their e-commerce divisions or outsourced their retail operations after realizing that the costs and expertise needed to run a retail outfit are great. AltaVista, for example, bought e-commerce site Shopping.com last year and converted it into a shopping search service, allowing it to cut costs associated with fulfillment, distribution and merchandise, as well as to sell advertising to other retail sites.
Earlier this year, Women.com closed its e-commerce site, She Gets Dressed, after only six months in operation. Last month, women's network iVillage said it was in talks with BabyGear to sell its e-commerce site, iBaby, which it bought in 1998.
Some jobs will be affected by the site changes, but Oxygen is encouraging people to find positions within Shop 02, Nelson said.