The Blame Game

The Real Reasons for Store Closings

In the past couple of months, we have seen some well-known local retailers “retire”. They didn’t blame their inventory positions, or their customer service, or their business plans, or any of the tangibles. Rather they blamed ecommerce and Amazon for their store closings. Taking this approach and playing the blame game is a true loser’s mentality.

To our displeasure, the blame game has infiltrated retail, and with spring training just weeks away, we would like to welcome you to step up to the plate and join the big leagues.

So, what’s really going on out there?

Yes, Amazon is out there, and it has been out there for years, but now, more than ever, retailers are hiding behind the giant, placing blame on them for just about anything you can imagine. The two biggest things to blame in retail for bad sales: Amazon and the weather. Here is a Retail Concepts newsflash…both are out of your control.

As retailers, you have the opportunity to give consumers something that all ecommerce cannot: a unique in-store experience. Retail should be about bringing something distinct to the table. It should be about your outstanding and personable staff, your innovative marketing strategy, and your unique inventory. There is a true need for fun in brick & mortar retail, and we would encourage you to think outside of the box to make it happen. As Lee Peterson of WD Partners says, “retail is like having a party in your house every day”, so get out there and make it a party people are talking about.

Hamish Brewer of JDA Software was recently quoted saying, “if you’re going to chase Amazon on price only, I don’t think that’s going to be a successful strategy. We have to as retailers develop strengths that Amazon doesn’t have”, and we could not agree more. Think about price matching (no, it’s not the devil!) Price matching shows your customer that you understand their needs and aren’t looking to make things difficult for them. Everyone likes breaking the rules, so make it feel like you are doing so for them, make the experience something memorable and special for that customer so they come back. We’ll let you in on a little secret too…many of our clients offer price matching and can attest that 99.9% of times, people do not take advantage of it.

So, why did these stores go out of business and blame ecommerce at large? Well, we can assume they didn’t have a consistent buying strategy, their business plan hadn’t been reviewed and adjusted, and they hadn’t updated their marketing strategy to meet their customers needs. Their concepts may have been amazing when they started but they became complacent and just didn’t adapt over the years. Think about your store critically and be honest with yourself, have you been blaming things that are really out of your control? If you have blamed the weather or the world wide web recently let’s dig in and see where you can make improvements to give yourself more of a competitive advantage. After all, the Internet isn’t going anywhere and weather will continue to be quirky. Can you say Polar Vortex five times fast?