(Almost) nothing will save your traditional retail business

Sales will not save your traditional business. No amount of volume on 60%-off sales will recover the expenses on physical space in malls and shopping centers. The attendants are out of your target demographic or are perusing through the stores because there is nothing else to do in the town at that time of day. 

Digital services will not save your traditional business. The investment cost and upstart efforts will only take you deeper into red. People will be dissuaded right before checkout by shipping costs where they second-guess themselves if they should just go to one of your terrible stores and try and buy it there. Let’s be honest though, no one wants to drive anywhere anymore.

Downsizing your store fronts will not save your traditional business. No one visits you in the first place, making fewer stores will only make it easier to not visit your stores, still no one will go to them.

Management shuffling will not save you. The reasons for failing have nothing to do with management, and new management who only do all the above things slightly differently, will not be enough –and may ultimately bring on your inevitable plunge into bankruptcy even faster.

Recognize that today’s market currents do not include your products. That you IPO’ed at just the right time, when your products were “in” with the key demographics. That today it is are chronically uncool to such a degree that no one in the next generation will even touch your products. You need to press restart on a few, if not the majority of, paradigms.

Price matching may save your traditional business. Yes, $30 gold plated HDMI cables are profitable, but any rube that checks that price for a just a second will find the same for a fraction of the price and would have to be desperate to buy one at such a premium.

Same day delivery –with free shipping– may save your traditional business. Even one day delivery or in-store pickup may be sufficient. The basic principle is no-one likes going to stores and wandering labyrinthine aisles in which they are looking for a single, simple, night-light. Do the work for them, bring it to their door quickly or make them pick it up at the entrance to the maze–save us a ball of yarn.

Companies in the bearish mindset when writing this: Sears, Abercrombie & Fitch, Underarmor, JC Penny, Harley Davidson.

… in a bullish mindset: Wallmart, Best Buy, Target.

All the Podcasts I Listen to

This is an update to a post from four years ago with the same title.

Regular listens

Occasional listens:

It will be fun to see how these have shifted around or disappeared in the next four years.

Will it Improve your Life?

This last weekend I was the victim of news overdose as delivered to me by my preferred tech blogs and news aggregates.1 If there’s an equivalent for obesity of the mind, this is it. My subconscious has turned gluttonous, ready to spew out any irrelevant fact that it may have retained. Looking back I can barely remember a story or meme that was worthwhile or interesting beyond the news that Amazon will try shipping stuff with drones. While it’s not like I feel like I didn’t do anything worthwhile this weekend, it’s that I could have done much less of things that have no overall effect on the quality of my life.

Catching myself reading Buzzfeed’s “The 40 Greatest Dog GIFs Of All Time” inspired this post. The futility of it all struck me while watching #39 “diving corgi“. All of this is the same, and none of it is improving your life. That immediate thought was referring to the post, I had seen plenty of dog gifs before. Then the rest of it hit me too, I get nothing from news.

All of this is the same, and none of it is improving your life.

Sure there are important bits, but checking the same sites five times a day just so you can be the most caught up with the news from California isn’t worth it. It was the TV-esque crap my parents had told me about, it’s everywhere, constantly churning out new stuff, and I’m addicted to it. I thought reading more would be of some benefit, not this kind. I feel like I’ve read the first chapter in a book twenty times now, it never really changes.

It’s decent journalism usually, I just don’t need it 24/7. There are a lot of books I haven’t read that are in the mind of popular culture. I think I’ll take spend some time finishing up those instead of reading “Why Your Startup is Dead if You Can’t Enchant”.


  1. TheVerge, HackerNews, TheNextWeb, Reddit.com/r/bestof, /r/technology