March 16, 2015

Telling A Story

Look at the home page from Macy's from two weeks ago:

Please tell me what the story is that they are communicating to the visitor? Be honest, please.

Macy's assumes that you already believe that their merchandise is fantastic - that's part of their story - they want to tempt you with discounts and promotions. That's the story.

Now, let's click through to an item.

Read the product details. What is the story you are being told?

Large companies can get away with not telling a compelling, passionate story.

You, however, cannot get away with it.

The industry (not the customer) is going to force you to be "omnichannel". The industry will force you to sell in all channels. The industry will demand that you homogenize all products across all channels at similar prices with the same promotions and the same creative. The industry will push personalization and engagement and content and social and mobile and big data on you. The industry will tell you that "the customer", whoever that is, demands this outcome.

So you'll pursue this outcome. So will everybody else.

What do you do in three years when you are getting closer to achieving somebody else's omnichannel vision - and every other company has done the same thing? You will all sell similar products. You will offer the products at similar prices. You will all have some version of free shipping. You will all have faster shipping.

Why would a customer purchase from you, when there will be twenty other comparable choices?

We're heading toward an environment where the industry demands sameness, across the board. When everything is the same, we are going to have to do something different in order to stand out. That something could be the story we tell.