This week we have seen 3 fatalities on our high streets. First Jessops, then HMV and just yesterday we hear that Blockbuster has also gone into administration. Presumably the Christmas revenues were just not enough to get them through.
None of us are at all surprised at the demise of these companies, to be honest I was surprised that they had managed to last quite so long. Nor was it a surprise that each of them blamed online retailers like Amazon for their failure.
This sign seen in the window of the Liverpool branch of Jessops sums up the problem. Not that international organisations like Amazon have the ability (and will) to move profit around the world to places with lower corporation tax, but the fact that they blame their customers for shopping at Amazon.
This feels like dinosaurs shaking their fists at the birds swooping above as the waters rise around their feet.
As Aden Davies so nicely put it:
The ability for a business to change is the key. Darwin's theory didn’t say that evolution was ‘the survival of the fittest’, he said it’s ‘the survival of the most adaptable’. A highly tuned, efficiency maximised process won’t help when people stop wanting the thing that it produces.
These retailers have failed to recognise and react to (or predict and lead) how consumer behaviours and preferences are changing. They have stalwartly stuck to their existing business models and processes, desperately clung to their dwindling sales, while others adapted and changed.
Investing in understanding how the changing (digital) world will affect your business isn’t something that you measure against an ROI. The return on this investment is that you get to stay in business in a couple of years time.
*picture source and credit: https://twitter.com/conalfz/status/291449379406090240/photo/1