You probably know the saying: “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
This explains a lot of behavior we see with the leadership at struggling retailers.
If you came up through the merchant ranks, chances are you obsess about product–rather than the consumer–and fall woefully behind in creating a compelling omni-channel shopping experience. Today, you are desperately playing catch-up.
If the only way you know to drive revenue is through relentless price promotions, you now sit lamenting the lack of customer loyalty and your shrinking margins.
If you made your money through financial re-engineering and scorched earth expense reductions, you assume your latest investment will cost cut its way to prosperity, rather than realize that your overwhelming issue is top-line growth (I’m looking at you Eddie Lampert!).
If you drove same-store sales through price increases rather than customer and transaction growth–as the US luxury retail industry did for many years–post-recession you find yourself with too narrow a customer base to sustain profitable growth. You now are working overtime to win back customers you priced out of your brand.
All of these problems were caused by a monolithic view of strategy and a failure to gain deep insight into customer behavior. Most were preventable.
Of course, the past is history and the future is a mystery.
But there is no mystery in the failed wisdom of clinging to the past and continually wielding the hammer that got you into trouble in the first place.
Get some new tools.