THE JOURNEY YO REMARKABLE RETAIL

Steve helps organizations understand and respond to retail disruption by creating customer-centric, memorable and profitable growth strategies.

Remarkable Or Invisible

There was a time, not all that long ago, when being very good–or even slightly better than average–worked pretty darn well.

When most consumers didn’t have easy access to just about anything they wanted from just about anywhere in the world just about anytime they wanted it, we could win, grow and keep customers based upon a good location, our well trained salesforce, a long-standing reputation in the community or carefully chosen products presented artfully in our specialty shop or stacked high in a big box environment.

When our desired customers had to drive around to a bunch of stores–or rely on our advertising or recommendations from a rather small group of personal connections–to figure out what products were available and might suit them best, scarcity of choice and information allowed the power to reside largely in retailers’ hands.

When attention could be won by leveraging the traffic that naturally flowed to the high street, nearby strip center or regional mall–or by overpowering the competition with mass marketing and endless promotions, focusing on selling pretty average products to the peak of the bull curve made a ton of sense for many brands.

The modern retail era has seen the scarcity of old turned on its head. Product choice, convenience, connection, information, and so much more, are now abundant. Reasonable, often cheaper, substitutes for what we sell can be readily discovered in a matter of seconds. And the internet doesn’t close at 9pm or on Sundays.

Where friction once worked to a retailer’s benefit, it is now often their worst enemy. We live in an ever noisier world, chasing ever more distracted consumers. The pace of change only seems to be accelerating.

When Seth Godin’s 2003 book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable posited, among many other powerful ideas, that to be less than remarkable was to be, in essence, invisible, many folks thought he was only talking about marketing (he wasn’t) or being hyperbolic (well, at the time, maybe a little).

Either way, from my experience, even if they read Seth’s book or saw him speak, very few retail leaders took his prophetic message to heart as they edged ever closer to the precipice. Some have now disappeared entirely or, for all intents and purposes, are dead brands walking.

If you think a slightly better version of mediocre is likely to be a winning strategy, think again.

If you believe you can cost cut or store close your way to prosperity, I have some very bad news for you.

If you are constantly spending more to get noticed or discounting more to move the sales dial, there’s a pretty good chance you are working on the wrong problem.

If you are anything less than remarkable today, more and more, you might as well be invisible.

And if we’ve learned anything from retailers that have largely watched the last 20 years happen to them–or merely embarked on a timid transformation–this will end badly.

Our only choice is to choose remarkable. And, as Carlos Castaneda reminds us, the problem is you think you have time.

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"The Store Operations Council enjoyed every minute of Steve Dennis's presentation on retail's future. He always keeps it real and speaks the language of retail experts."

Cathy Hotka

Principal

Cathy Hotka & Associates

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"The Store Operations Council enjoyed every minute of Steve Dennis's presentation on retail's future. He always keeps it real and speaks the language of retail experts."

Cathy Hotka

Principal

Cathy Hotka & Associates

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