Published on: September 16, 2010Now available on iTunes…
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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe, and this is MNB Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.
There is an excellent column in the current Forbes by Inder Sidhu, senior vice president of strategy and planning at Cisco, about how Amazon.com “stands poised to take advantage of key transitions in book publishing, business computing, content distribution and more. It's an enviable position to which only Apple, Google and a handful of other companies can even aspire.”
Sidhu writes that this is an unexpected position for Amazon to be in, considering that just 15 years ago, the company seemed to be under attack from all sides, with everyone from Walmart to Barnes & Noble trying to knock it off its retailing perch, and analysts almost daily saying that the company wouldn’t, couldn’t survive.
Well, I wish I’d bought stock back then. Hell, I wish I’d bought stock a year ago since, as Sidhu writes, its shares are up more than 50 percent this year, outperforming both Apple and Google.
But here is the key, as framed by Sidhu:
“In market after market, Amazon has proven that it can disrupt established players with technology innovation and then solidify its gains with sustained improvements. And with the help of business partners, it can amplify those gains.”
In so many ways, Amazon has become a winner because it has consistently and persistently challenged conventional wisdom, and succeeded where most people thought it would fail.
We’ve spoken about this before on MNB, but it is always worth repeating: in a hotly competitive marketplace, the ability to disrupt the opposition with innovative products and services is a lot more effective than “me, too” offerings that do not inspire. There are a lot of things - from effective nutritional labeling to cooking schools to a robust e-commerce business - that you may not need to have, because the store across the street or down the block doesn’t have them. But that’s a lousy, and very low, place to put the bar.
It may not be reasonable to expect a store to “wow” the consumer in every aisle and with every endcap. It may not be rational to expect manufacturers to knock the consumer’s socks off with every product offering. But that’s gotta be the goal.
It’s what separates leaders from managers. It’s what separates transformative shopping experiences from conventional ones.
There is a slogan they use for New York Lottery: “You can’t win if you don’t play.”
Well, these days in retailing, “playing” is a deadly serious business. if you are not a player - and by that, I mean someone who prizes innovative concepts, the non-traditional solution, the outside-the-box thinker - then you have no reasonable expectation to survive.
For MNB Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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