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| Education and Financial

08/22/14

Noble cause: In retail, you either adapt or fade away

Think about this question for a second: When was the last time you visited a neighborhood book store or something a little more upscale like Barnes & Noble for something other than coffee or a pastry?
If you can't remember that occurrence, don't feel badly about it. No one else can, either.
Perhaps that is because book stores barely are staying afloat thanks to the consumer and their penchant for wanting their reading material to show up in the form of electronic fare through their tablet, electronic reader or smart phone.
While Barnes & Noble still exists, they're not quite as profitable or frequented as they once were. If you don't believe that sentiment, ask the executives who worked for Borders, the book store that once ruled the reading world and is now non existent.
Truthfully, places like Borders or other retailers that no longer are around made a miscalculation but not acting on what customers wanted and thus were swept up in a momentous tide of changing culture or buying habits that rendered their services antiquated.

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Take Blockbuster Video for example.
The infusion of DVR players, OnDemand ordering of movies from the comfort and privacy of your own home and even the interjection of services like RedBox (small boxes placed systematically outside your grocery store or in Wal Mart that allow you to rent movies by pressing a few buttons and handing over your credit or debit card) made going to the video store seem as archaic as VHS tapes.
Blockbuster fell victim to what most businesses do when they start seeing the proverbial writing on the wall and need to come up with a way to reinvent their trade: they sat back and did nothing. Only after Blockbuster stores starting closing in droves did they try their luck at a RedBox type product of its own; too little, too late, however, for this once gigantic movie rental mogul.
Some companies, thankfully, don't play the ball where is lies and instead incorporates a willingness to adapt before it is too late. Wal Mart, for example, is already talking about canning the "superstore" mentality and model in favor of organic, smaller store that feel more like farmer's markets than oversized, hectic grocery stores.
Just the slightest downturn in business for Wal Mart alerted them that a change might be in order. Next on the list could be Best Buy, which is being slapped around by online titans like Amazon and already is not only making their stores smaller to save money but focusing on their own online strategy to get leaner and smarter with what the general public wants.
Best Buy doesn't want to be another Circuit City, right?
Of course not, so the boys in the blue shirts have to begin contemplating their next move. Otherwise, they'll be just another sad story of a retailer that might have thought about making that "next move," but instead sat idle and crumbled from within.

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