BY BILL NAPIER
NAPIER MARKETING GROUP, INC.
July 7, 2017
I’m not a big fan of conferences because the presenters usually, if not always, promote themselves and/or their business under the guise that you may learn something new and impactful. Recently, however, that changed from a conference I recently attended that really made me think “differently”.
It inspired me, it motivated me and most of all it educated me.
I came away with many new insights, ideas, and knowledge that I’ll boil down into three statements and/or questions that are all related to each other
WHAT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT
In my opinion, this is an indicator that all retailers MUST be aware of and change now. If the Big Guys are feeling the heat, with all their money and access to technology, what's a smaller retailer to do? The fact remains, consumers want to shop/buy locally, but retailers seem to stay focused on "price" to drive sales instead of technology to increase efficiency, create content, conversations,and connections.
education - or the lack thereof
We don’t make stuff anymore
This shocked our nation into innovation and caused the space race. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific development surge – the second American industrial revolution.
Our education system is more focused on degrees in “nothingness”, with some institutions actually giving degrees in social justice which may be noble to some, but I’m confused how that degree helps us compete in STEM, which is the foundation for forward thinking, problem solving and innovation, ultimately with the goal of INNOVATION and “making stuff”.
" At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. (See full results.)
The article goes on to state; ““At most schools in this country, students basically spend four years in college, and they don’t necessarily become better thinkers and problem solvers,” said Josipa Roksa, a University of Virginia sociology professor who co-wrote a book in 2011 about the CLA+ test. 'Employers are going to hire the best they can get, and if we don’t have that, then what is at stake in the long run is our ability to compete'.”
I have many more nightmares I’m awake through relating to education, or the lack thereof, but because of content/word restrictions, I’ll keep it short for this RANT and expand on each subject in upcoming RANTS.
The next statement is so simple, yet so profound!
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO TRY IT –
SAY IT’S IMPOSSIBLE
I hear this so often and it takes many different forms. I remember when I had my marketing agency in the 90’s I prohibited the words “Can’t – Won’t – Don’t”. These words, to me, were and still are defeatist and these two words, “It’s impossible” seems to have worked its way into redefining those three words; Can’t, Won’t and Don’t
Life is hard and business is even harder because you have other lives that are dependent on you whether they are customers or employees, or both. If you are a Star Wars Fan, Even Yoda “got it”.
In the home furnishings industry, we have lost over 450 manufacturing plants, over 230,000 jobs, many of these job losses are related to furniture factories and related and supporting businesses, yet the scariest part is, according to Home Furnishings Business magazine is, we’ve lost close to half of the 60,000+ home furnishings and furniture stores during the period 2007 to 2015.
When I discuss technology with retailers and brands, I get “the deer in the headlights” look, usually for two reasons; They don’t understand it or they think they can’t afford it … or usually both.
Then I look around and see signs everywhere with stores closing and Plants closing and everyone immediately blames the internet for the retail debacle, or Asian manufacturing for the manufacturing debacle, or whatever..., which leads me to my next nightmare that keeps me up at night
“Water dripping on a stone leaves a mark”!
Manufacturers don’t help their retailers with
standardized product data. Why is that?
Everything today is digital and everyone knows the facts 85% of all home furnishing searches start “On the Web”, AND 85%+ would prefer to shop LOCALLY.
To find what the consumer wants, the product, its information, warranties, dimensions, availability and more MUST be available. For that to happen, all this information must be in one location and available to stream, via API or other means to a retailer’s website with the data being updated at least once weekly, preferably daily. I tried to make this happen 3 years ago, offering to standardize their data for FREE and was astounded that 90% of all the manufacturers I approached had NO CLUE how to get the data, much less standardize it. One major brand had their product data in PowerPoint and updated the files and sent them to the reps …. WHAT ????
NO data equates to NO presence which equates to NO/less than expected sales in the short or long term. I wonder why this is, because it’s NOT IMPOSSIBLE, it is required in today’s digital shopping environment
mANY Retailers refuse to try understanding and engaging
the new consumer ON THE WEB.
WE DON'T UNDERSTAND TECHNOLOGY IT'S IMPOSSIBLE -
SO WE IGNORE IT
Take Search For Instance. When you go to a home furnishings website and click on an item, wouldn't you want to see all the items populated with that "LOOK"; the same colors, same frame options, etc? NO, instead they embrace that archaic "Shop by Style", whose definitions of style; contemporary, modern, traditional, classic are ambiguous at best and are so teen years ago.
How About Business Analytics, visual recognition that show accurate store counts, by hour/day/week for staffing/marketing analytics and HEAT MAPS in your store where people congregate so you can SEE your merchandising successes and/or failures.
How About Live Chat/Video Chat? Everyone uses it and it's proven to increase sales dramatically. Think texting - Face-time, Google Chat, and so on for your store
I could go on and on, and have. You can read my RANTS and articles on these subjects at; http://www.social4retail.com/my-retail-rants-blog.html
We don’t do special order OR DO E-COMMERCE
I don’t want to show pricing because of being web-roomed
Why not put a price guarantee on your website guaranteeing you won’t be undersold on the “exact same SKU, delivered to the exact same address". Duh, I’d rather sell one of something and make something, than sell nothing and make nothing.
And of course – IT’S IMPOSSIBLE
CREATIVE DESTRUCTION & disruption
I read this in a book by Charles Koch – The Good Profit and it was an Ah-Ha moment. It simply defined what I RANT about all the time and reignited my passion with definition. If it’s not broke, break it, because if you don’t do it, someone, or something else sure will. The term was coined by Robert Schumpeter, who taught at Harvard during the 30’s and 40’s.
It is defined ...
Creative Destruction is all about creating the “new
commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply
and most importantly, the new type of organization.
And lastly the new organization. You’ve kept the same people, the same processes and you’re doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result and you stand there confused … why you haven’t experienced any results ....Einstein.
CREATIVE DESTRUCTION AND DISRUPTION IS EVERYWHERE
Don’t be like Kodak!
Be like YODA
THINK DIFFERENT - be inspired - get motivated - embrace new TECHNOLOGIES and survive creative destruction
About Bill Napier
Bill Napier is Managing Partner of Napier Marketing Group.
He has been the chief marketing officer of several small, medium and large companies throughout his career, most notably Ashley Furniture Industries Inc.
Many in the home furnishings industry call him an industry serial disruptor. "His thought provoking blog will challenge conventional wisdom, look under the industry’s hood and seek to uncover the critical clues to improving its performance".
Bill is also a featured writer and speaker in the retail industry. His vast understanding of the issues retailers and brands face to compete in the digital arena, coupled with his humorous interpretation of his knowledge of trends, facts and solutions for helping companies compete, makes for an engaging and informative session for every brand or retailer that attends his sessions.
His passion is to help retail brands & brick mortar retailers grow their business by creating, guiding and deploying successful marketing B2B/B2C solutions integrating traditional marketing with the web/social media. You can see his passion for this at his FREE marketing information website; www.social4retail.com