These days, everyone is busy.
And there’s a lot going on right? It’s the busy season for many people so business is up, spring break just happened for many of you with families, so there’s catching up to do, and so on. This is all wonderful.
While everyone is really busy doing all of the things they have to do, as I’ve written recently here brick and mortar retail is going through a near (and perhaps actual) death experience. The disease causing this is very simple: traditional brick and mortar businesses are too busy to focus on what’s going to help their customers.
Outside of the natural human aversion to change, I’ve really got no clue as to how this all got started. We hear frequently of companies discussing how “we’re going to compete with e-commerce” or “the big boxes can’t match us” yet almost no one has actually proved to be able to do so – outside of Home Depot’s rebound against Amazon.
The greatest retail companies in the world like Amazon and Apple share a common focus: their customer. Everything they do from store/website layout (both in Apple’s case) is designed to make it easier for customers to buy from them. These companies and others like Wayfair have CRM systems in place to make sure customers don’t fall through the cracks. Three weeks ago, I had a salesperson from Apple call my cell phone because “you haven’t bought anything in about a year”.
These companies are prioritizing making their business easier for customers to navigate. Everything else takes a backseat to this. They know it’s the only path forward. So they don’t care if their antiquated point of sale system doesn’t allow them to ring people out on the floor – customers want easy, and easy isn’t waiting for a register – so they replace that old system and adopt tools that make it easier for their customers like Square. Does this mean their employees have to learn new tools and software? It sure does. But it doesn’t matter, because these companies want to be even busier so they can stay viable well into the future.
If you ask any business owner “do you prioritize making it easy for customers to buy from you?” they’ll all tell you “oh absolutely”. But when you start digging in, you find the same broken processes and tools that are a direct result of misaligned priorities.
CRM/e-commerce/inventory listing is on my radar but it’s just not a priority right now, too busy with… plus my people say….
The unfortunate part for traditional brick and mortar is that companies like Amazon and Wayfair don’t care what someone’s staff says. They see an opportunity to bring a better experience to customers, and so that’s exactly what they do, and it’s exactly how they’ve gained the marketshare they have – Amazon represents 53 cents of every $1 spent online.
All of the tools and processes are out there. While brick and mortar giants like Sears, HH Gregg, JC Penney and others are going under, hopefully traditional businesses won’t be “too busy” to bother until it’s too late.