Why Retailing Will Never Be the Same Again?

Forbes gets it wrong! In an article called Why Retailing Will Never Be the Same Again, and What to Do About It, two business consultants discuss the problems that big retailers are having in the current economy.

The authors cite the bankruptcies of Circuit City, Linens n Things, and other big retailers.  What’s a poor big box chain to do?  ” One solution”, they say,  “Retailers that can’t compete on price or convenience have to find another way to differentiate themselves–with distinctive offerings, and with engaging customer experiences that drive home what’s compelling about those offerings.”

Imagine that!  If chains are going to compete, they have to act like independents.  What a concept!

The important thing to remember here, especially when we get discouraged by slow sales or cut-throat competitor pricing is that the big guys are having problems too.  And, high-priced consultants are telling them to do the things that we’re already doing.  Maybe some day they’ll catch up, but I doubt it.

Here’s a comment I posted to the Forbes article:

What about independent retailers? While independents account for a large percentage of retail trade in the United States, more than 50% in some categories, this article ignores them completely.

While smaller retailers are feeling the pinch of the current economy, many are enjoying excellent sales and profits. Good customer service, localized selection, and flexibility that the chains can’t possibly achieve are driving their business. Ironically these are the same attributes that you suggest retailers adopt.

The retailing world isn’t all about Wal Mart and Amazon. Thousands of independent retailers are thriving, not just in spite of, but often because of the poor service provided by the big boxes.

Considering that this is National Small Business Week, it’s amazing that you would omit such a large part of the retail landscape.

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One Response

  1. […] Really Up with Retail Posted on May 20, 2009 by mlbuckley Yesterday I took Forbes.com to task for assuming that all retail is big retail in spite of readily available numbers to the contrary.  […]

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