What the Utility of Extra points to, in my opinion, is the supremacy of product.
A store works if it sells product.
I spend most of my time trying to find, to afford, and display product.
I was just reading an article online that was talking about the future of brick and mortar stores.
It advised, more or less, that stores mimic the online experience, adopt the online techniques, bring online into the store.
The article advises that store tailor their business to the future tastes of the customers.
For me, this is exactly wrong.
I call that chasing the customer.
Instead, what I prefer to do, is create the setting, fill it with what I think is neat stuff, and hope that there are enough customers who like what I have that I stay in business.
It comes from the inside out, not the other way around.
Oh, I adapt the store to the response, but ultimately, the original impulse comes from me. That's what I like about it. I could sell widgets based on some sort of foreordained plan, like say a franchise, and that would be incredibly boring. Like working for someone else.
Nothing pleases me more than finding a really neat thing, getting it in the store, and then seeing that really neat thing discovered by the public. I can't tell you the number of times I've brought something in that no one has heard of, only to have a flurry of articles come out about that really neat thing that no one had heard of. And I have it. Already in the store.
In other words, my job is to find the really neat stuff, and then expose it and proselytize it, until other people also realize it's really neat.
I think the future of brick and mortars will be to create a unique experience -- to carry stuff no one else has, with a different focus and mixture. And that pretty much has to come from the owner. He has to seek out that material, find a way to afford it, find a way to display it.
Best-seller lists, are a great example. Everyone else has the same books. Probably at cheaper prices.
But a unique title, or author, or subject matter, or even cover -- something that isn't on the Amazon website unless you already know about it, physically present and talked about by a flesh and bone person. THAT'S the future of bookstores.
It so happens, that's the same response I had to the big chainstores. So ironically, many of the small mom and pop's are already doing what they need to survive the digital future.
Keep on being a real, physical, brick and mortar store -- don't try to copy the online experience -- go the opposite direction.
If nothing else, you'll enjoy it more.
1 day ago