This article is the first in a series that will offer a viewpoint on what is causing the “Retail Apocalypse” and how to not only survive, but prosper, while others fail.
I think that this is an important discussion to be had. A business failure at any level is catastrophic on so many levels. Store closings affect thousands of employees’ of the failed retailer as well as families that are part of the retailer’s supply and service chain. Bankruptcy also effects communities through lower tax receipts, impacting social services, safety, security, education and so much else.
I was having lunch a while back and asked a friend, why he thought so many retailers are going out of business. He had been a retail executive with a major department store chain as well as a senior sales and marketing guy for a major sporting goods manufacturer. His response was simple; “Many have forgotten what their business is.” He went on to enlarge upon the thought, giving several examples, and then threw in the corker; “Many business fail because they have lost their curiosity and have stopped investing in people and learning. He felt that the most important question that needs to be asked, and often isn’t, is “WHY?” Chuckling, he suggested that too many organizations seek to blame the guilty and punish the innocent, rather than use the opportunity to learn. Learning, gives an edge in that it allows a company to be an innovator, not an emulator.
My company has grown profitably and steadily over the past ten years. We have done it by seeking retail partners (note I say partners, not customers), who want to rise above the, “We’ll call you when we want something.” We engage in an active give and take relationship that seeks to answer unique needs at the store level. It struck me that our success has been because we constantly ask WHY and provide profit solutions for our customers.
I will expand these thoughts in future blog posts. I hope that you enjoy them. If you have any questions please email me. If we can help your company, please call me. We’ll be there for you.