January 25, 2015

SkyMall - Bankrupt

Click here, dear readers. And read this one, too, while you're at it (click here). And if you like an omnichannel way to grow the business, this author has one for you (click here) - suggesting that omnichannel would save SkyMall.

I keep hearing the "omnichannel argument", as it relates to SkyMall. Geez.

Here's the problem. SkyMall went from $80,000,000 a year in annual sales to roughly $20,000,000 this year ... that's quite a drop over five or six years. 

What changed? Infinity!

What do I mean by infinity?

There was a time when you flew, and you didn't have choices. A book. Hemispheres magazine. And SkyMall. It didn't matter that SkyMall prices were more expensive in SkyMall than the same item was priced on Amazon, you were a bored zombie on a flight from San Francisco to Newark - SkyMall greatly benefited from limited entertainment choices.

Then the FAA decided you could use your phone on the plane. Your entertainment choices went from a handful to infinity.

In one of the articles, the author suggested that you combat infinity by going "omnichannel".

Let me ask you a question.

  • "You are sitting in your living room, and a TV ad comes on the screen, imploring you to buy from SkyMall. And the ads online demand that you buy from SkyMall. And SkyMall has the best website in the world. And SkyMall has the best email marketing campaigns, personalized and relevant and sent several times a week. And let's suggest that SkyMall has the best mobile experience on the planet - and their images are pinned all over Pinterest, integrated with fantastic Facebook marketing and stunningly clever tweets timed for maximum engagement. And there's beauty in their efforts on Instagram - and then there's those Snapchat efforts that disappear. They've got it all. Do you buy from SkyMall? And if you're interested in buying from SkyMall, do you not check Amazon first? And if you check Amazon first, and the price is lower on Amazon, do you not choose Amazon, while Amazon sends SkyMall a Christmas Card thanking SkyMall for creating demand that Amazon captures?"
The number one problem that omnichannel advocates have, other than the fact that sales generally don't grow when you put all your chips in the middle of the omnichannel table, is that omnichannel amplifies infinity.

The question you have to ask yourself, for your business, is how do you expect your customer to pay attention to you when every company employs the scorched-Earth approach of omnichannel marketing? How will you break through when every company is screaming at you in an infinite number of channels? What difference does it make if you are marketing in 127 channels and 10,000 companies are also marketing in 127 channels?

Instead of focusing on channels - why not focus on what, exactly, you're going to do/say that actually causes a customer to care, to pay attention?

Use SkyMall as an example ... sales crumbled the minute airline travelers were given infinite entertainment options. What is your strategy to combat an infinite number of entertainment options?