Head in the Sand

Sometimes the truth can stare us in the eyes – and yet we choose to ignore it.

For department stores and for retail, this has been the case for years.  The writing has been on the wall.  You can look back years, and see the trend.

We can act surprised.  Like we didn’t see it coming.

But that doesn’t make it any less true.  That the signal was any less evident.

Because it was clear.  We can all see the trend in our own lives.

Anyone else shop online?  Did you just start buying more?  Or did your online purchases inevitably replace those that you used to make in store?

I think for the most of us – it’s the latter.  Our preferences are changing.  Going to the mall is no longer the weekend outing it used to be.

We all shop online.  It’s more convenient.  There is less time wasted.  And distribution and shipping has become so efficient these days, we can have something in just a few days when we order it online.

It’s also important to understand why this trend has occurred and to understand who has been hit the hardest.  The biggest losers are the one’s that offer the least specialization.  The stores with the most generalized product offerings.

Department stores for example – sell a little bit of everything.  There isn’t one form of specialty.  There isn’t something specific you would go to Sears or Dillards to buy.  You can buy about the same thing at any of the big department stores.

It’s about developing that niche – a specialty in the marketplace.

And that’s what the department stores lost sight of and failed to adapt to.

Will all brick and mortar retail flame out?  Of course not.

There is still quite a need and desire for retail shopping.  But it’s on the fringes that it exists.

It’s boutique shops.  Small, niche store with both an online and offline preference.

We seek out the experiential.  We seek out the edges.

There are too many options these days to be in the middle.  To just offer everything.

It’s about being clear.

The day of generality is disappearing.


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