The two sides of ‘good enough’

It can be quite dangerous to believe that you are better than the competition when the customer evaluates your product offering in isolation and out of context. When I was at Sears our research regularly told us that our target consumers viewed us as the best provider of appliances and tools. Yet we continued to … Continue reading The two sides of ‘good enough’

Sears: The one thing that could have saved them

As much fun as it is to call out Eddie Lampert on his misguided, selfish and seemingly delusional decade-plus leadership of Sears Holdings, when the world's slowest liquidation sale is ultimately complete--I'm guessing, for all intents and purposes, by this time next year--we should acknowledge that Sears fate was probably sealed well over 20 years ago, when Crazy … Continue reading Sears: The one thing that could have saved them

Slow motion crises

In the world of retail it's pretty rare that brands get into trouble over night--much less over a matter of months or even years. What will turn out to be the deathblow for Sears started with Walmart in the 1980's, and was followed by Home Depot, Lowes and Best Buy chipping away at Sears core … Continue reading Slow motion crises

The bullet’s already been fired 

I'm fascinated by our capacity to get stuck, the many ways we craft a narrative in a vain attempt to avoid change, the stories we buy into as we hope to keep above the fray. Far too often, the power of denial seems endemic to individuals and organizations alike. Go back to the 80's and … Continue reading The bullet’s already been fired 

Small is the new interesting

It's been at least 20 years now that most value creation in retail has been driven by big. Big stores--both physical and digital. Big assortments. Big advertising. Walmart and Target. Home Depot and Lowes. Amazon and eBay. Best Buy, Ikea, Office Depot and on and on. Superstores, category killers and the "endless aisle" online guys have … Continue reading Small is the new interesting