#FAILFriday: Segway

segway marketing fail

Segway sales fell flat on their face

By Thomas Lashier

Happy Friday! Now that we have our Iowa State sports rant out of the way, let’s get back to highlighting epic marketing fails. Today, we are picking on the company that created those funny little scooters: Segway.

Segway was ready to change travel forever with their modern, two-wheeled, battery-powered vehicle. The vehicle has a capacity of one person, and that person needs to stand in order to drive the Segway. The Segway was priced at around $3,000, which was much more costly than many people expected. While certain organizations bought Segways for employees (shopping malls, vacation tours), consumer sales never took off.

To hurt sales even more, some cities started banning Segways from sidewalks. “It very quickly became a joke rather than the future,” said Wharton Business School’s Jonah Berger.

In the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” category, Segway’s owner, James Heselden, died when his own Segway fell off a cliff in 2010. Obviously, this was not good for sales either.

You have probably seen someone struggling to ride a Segway either in real life or on YouTube (below). So why did the “future of transportation” never take off? Was it the design itself, making it too difficult to drive? Was it the price point being too expensive? Why wouldn’t you buy one? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us your thoughts by clicking here!

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