Hey guys, it’s Jay, and today, let’s talk about what, if anything, can stop Amazon.com. So back in the day, we used to be really, really concerned about Walmart’s effect on American retail. “Walmart is coming! “Walmart is coming!” people would say. They’re gonna kill our downtown.
And that, of course, did happen in many cases and Walmart became the dominant retailer in lots of small and medium-sized cities all around America. But now, we’re starting to see an acceleration of the impact of Amazon.com and other e-commerce players on American retail. Just in the last few weeks, you see Sears in huge trouble. The Limited closed all their stores. Macy’s trying to do a fire sale to sell themselves to Hudson Bay Company to try and maintain some pulse. You’ve got a number of other retail organizations closing stores. The sporting goods company recently, I forget the name of it, a big one, closed tons of their stores as well. Lots and lots and lots of retail store consolidation.
A lot of that is because of e-commerce. We have very much gotten over this idea that we have to poke and prod and touch and feel our products before purchasing them. And frankly, the e-commerce experience is so incredibly convenient. Click, click, click, and it shows up at your door. In some cases in a day or two and eventually via drone. You just can’t compete against that if you are in physical retail locations.
Or can you?
Because the only way you’re gonna be able to survive in retail is not by having a little bit of this and a little bit of that and be in a general store or a department store. I just don’t think there’s a future there. The way you survive when somebody else is producing a terrific customer experience and being incredibly efficient, the way you survive is by being incredibly relevant and specific.
I was in Santa Fe last month. We did our annual company retreat in Santa Fe with all the Convince & Convert team members and their spouses and significant others. And it’s amazing how many independent boutique stores are thriving in Santa Fe. Of course, Santa Fe is a bit of a false economy. It’s a tourist town, people come from all over the world to enjoy the art galleries and the scenery and the Mexican food and all those kind of things. I get that that Santa Fe is not Omaha. However, all of these stores are incredibly specific and incredibly relevant for a narrow section of the customer base. There is a guy there who had a store who only specialized in
There is a guy there who had a store who only specialized in high-end boutique, single source, primarily European chocolates. And this guy could tell you everything that you could possibly wanna know about chocolate and a bunch of things frankly you don’t need to know. He is the Chocolate Master. And that’s the way you’re going to survive in retail. It’s not by being broad and an inch deep, it’s by being super specific and a mile deep. The boutique stores will be able to make it and the generalized stores simply will not be able to compete much longer.
Is that sad? Perhaps it is sad, but that’s just the way it works. And friends, the same thing is true in business, in content marketing and social media. As my good friend Sally Hogshead says all time, it’s one of the truest and most important statements in modern business, “Different is better than better.” If you can make yourself different, if you can give people a reason to come in that they can’t get anywhere else, that is your life preserver.
Amazon.com despite their many increasingly large tentacles are not going to give you a one-hour free lecture on the different types of chocolates and their origin. It just ain’t gonna happen. That kind of specialized high-touch retail environment has a future but that may be the only physical retail that has a future in the next five to 10 years.
Let me know what you think and I love to see your comments below: What kind of stores do you think will make it in the future and do you have an example of a really specialized retail shop that you visit because it is so relevant and specific?
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