Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a well-established national retailer bites the dust. A million people share their shock or on social media. Everyone points their fingers at Amazon. If only they hadn’t come along with their ultra-fast shipping and low prices, right?
Toys “R” Us may be the latest example, but they’re only one of many big retailers that have closed their doors in recent years. The resulting dialogue is largely the same every time, and oddly enough, it’s usually treated like a forgone conclusion.
“Tough to keep up with e-commerce,” people say. “Just no place for brick-and-mortar stores anymore.”
We say that’s missing the bigger picture. In reality, companies like Toys “R” Us could have done a lot more to save their businesses.
Their Customer Experience Could Have Been Better
There’s no doubt that e-commerce puts extra pressure on brick-and-mortar retailers. However, Amazon’s been a major player for over ten years, and we all knew e-commerce wasn’t going anywhere. So why didn’t Toys “R” Us do anything meaningful to adapt to a changing marketplace?
To be frank, the company never offered a great shopping experience. Their stores were bare, sparsely decorated environments more reminiscent of warehouses than funhouses. Worse yet, they were usually understaffed by low-wage employees. They gave customers absolutely no reason to go there.
Changes Were Too Little, Too late
Toys “R” Us had plans to improve the experience in their stores. But they never implemented them. These plans included raising wages, adding playrooms, and building event spaces. Unfortunately, they ran out of money before they could make these changes.
Toys “R” Us had an opportunity to offer something that Amazon never could – an experience. They could have offered a place where kids could go and play with different toys in a fun, lively environment. They could have hosted special events for building Legos, or hired a furry mascot to wander the aisles and greet families. If they had made it a FUN experience for parents and kids alike to shop at their stores, they might still be in business.
Adapting To Your Market is Essential
Instead, the company stuck to their old ways, dug in, and hoped things would turn around on their own. It’s unfortunate, but times change. That’s just part of doing business. You sink or you swim, you adapt or you die. They say that the eight most dangerous words in business are “this is the way we’ve always done it.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example.
The massive upheaval occurring in retail is certainly enough to give any business pause. However, it’s your choice whether you look at it as a big, scary threat or an exciting opportunity. While many retailers are closing their doors, others are growing faster than ever.
What are your thoughts on businesses adapting to change? Give us a call today to chat about how organizations can stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.