February 16, 2017

Wal-Mart / Moosejaw

There are three things happening, all simultaneously.

First - classic e-commerce is cannibalizing the living daylights out of traditional retail. This is the Rabbits/Foxes analogy I've spent a month talking about. You need a ton of rabbit food to generate enough rabbits to feed the foxes. Instead, we're starving the rabbits, which will eventually starve the foxes. I'm asking readers/clients to rebuild their in-store / retail experience, which will benefit both stores and will feed digital. I realize some of you disagree with me on this one - that's fine. Write some code and then come back and have a discussion about this one after you see what your coding tells you.

Second - growth is ending. This is a separate issue. Ultimately for Traditional Retailers, this is an acknowledgement of the failure of the omnichannel thesis. Aligning channels and products and marketing strategy and customer service into a "one brand" thesis did not work. Customers chose Amazon instead. Younger customers chose non-traditional retail brands. So as the omnichannel thesis crumbles into a smoldering pile of waste, Traditional Retailers are acknowledging that growth is ending and the path to growth did not work.

Third - marketing changed. While Traditional Retailers explored, implemented, and then watched in horror as the omnichannel thesis crumbled, Non-Traditional Retailers took a different path, be it e-commerce (Moosejaw / Jet) or fast fashion or mobile strategies or sales fueled by influencer marketing programs - any of a thousand different examples (as illustrated in my customer acquisition presentation from 2015). Honestly, e-commerce marketing skills acquired from 1995 - 2010 are important but skills acquired outside of traditional e-commerce / traditional retail from 2011 - 2017 are more important. You cannot just hire a handful of gurus with modern skills and expect them to "change the culture". So - you are seeing acquisitions like Wal-Mart / Moosejaw.

All three issues are blending together right now. I'm asking you to focus on the first issue, because you can do something about it RIGHT NOW!! It will take us five years to pull out of the rubble of the second issue, and there will be a ton of store closures as a consequence. And we all will have different takes on the third issue and the industry is fully focused on the third issue, so no need for help from me on that front, right?

Make sense?