Here's what happened during the ill-fated Omnichannel Era of 2010 - 2016.
- Traditional Retail tried to make the same item available in all channels, assuming that the issue was that it was hard to seamlessly shop a business across channels.
- Modern Retail assumed that merchandise (i.e. something cute) and experience and price were the issue ... and then went after folks age 18-39 with cute / new stuff at great prices.
- Traditional Retail spent five years building the infrastructure to make shopping seamless across channels.
- Modern Retail spent five years figuring out how to get inventory turns up to 25x - 100x per year.
- Traditional Retail assumed that existing customers wanted a seamless shopping experience, and by default, did not focus on what prospects wanted.
- Modern Retail assumed that prospects wanted a great experience and cute merchandise and new merchandise at great prices - and consequently put a moat around the 18-39 year old customer.
- Traditional Retail assumed that 40% off is thrilling to a customer.
- Modern Retail assumed that merchandise scarcity is thrilling to a customer.
- Traditional Retail assumed that "digital" is about getting an existing customer to shop online.
- Modern Retail assumed that "digital" is about creating awareness that supports sales in a store with customers and prospects.
- Traditional Retail tried to compete with Amazon.
- Modern Retail tried to avoid Amazon.
- Traditional Retail asked customers to stay at home.
- Modern Retail created an in-store frenzy that required customers to go to a store.
- Traditional Retail thought it was cheaper to serve existing customers, and consequently, began running out of new customers in the past two years.
- Modern Retail decided to find new customers who would eventually become existing customers, and was successful in this endeavor.
- Traditional Retail decided to integrate everything, creating a slow organization.
- Modern Retail did not integrate everything, creating a more nimble organization.
- Traditional Retail loses energy when it is unable to hire the best 18-39 year olds.
- Modern Retail gains energy by being able to give significant responsibility to 18-39 year olds.
- Traditional Retail tries to avoid hard change by reconfiguring presentation style / visual / creative (think JCP), then tries to sell via reconfigured presentation style.
- Modern Retail uses merchandise scarcity to fuel buzz via presentation style (think Instagram / Zara).
- Traditional Retail spent five years prioritizing digital and largely ignoring stores.
- Modern Retail spent five years using digital to create buzz for stores.
Read (2) (4) (6) (8) (10) (12) (14) (16) (18) (20) (22) (24) ... and develop a strategy that aligns with the even numbers. This strategy will take a few years to bring to fruition, and the industry will lose ground in the process.