What’s Really Killing Traditional Retailers?

What’s killing business for traditional retailers? Consumers are skipping them and finding better ways to satisfy their needs. The retailers who are winning are those who improve the experience of acquiring goods and services for the customer. Here’s what you need to know.

Let’s face it. Retailing as we used to know it is on the decline. Drive down the main thoroughfare in most towns and communities and you’ll find big, bold For-Rent signs in the windows of stores that once housed small retailers. Go to the shopping mall, and you may find vacancies, there, too, as iconic brands are reducing the number of stores, or going out of business completely.

Many attribute the decline of brick and mortar retailing to Amazon and other “Unskippable” online shopping services. But in his book, , marketing expert Jim Kukral pinpoints the real reason for the decline of offline retail. This excerpt from the book spells out what it is – and what you should be thinking about to make your own business become Unskippable.

Unskippable® Brands Don’t “Kill” Competitors, They Disrupt Poor Experiences

Amazon isn’t killing retail. What’s killing retail is that nobody wants to go to the store any longer. Plus the fact that Amazon has conditioned us that we can just click a button and have anything we want to be sent to our front doorstep in 24 hours or less.

Heck, you can buy a house on Amazon now, anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000! They’re prefabricated and come with free shipping to your “door” in 3-5 weeks or less.

Let’s just admit it. People don’t want to leave their homes to buy stuff, even houses! That’s the disruption that we all need to understand, and the companies that are making it easy for them to not have to do so are winning, big time.

Ever go to buy razors? You walk into Walgreens or Target and you have to find the razor aisle. Then you have to scurry to try and find some sales associate to unlock the case and give you your 10-pack of $30 razors.

Now you’ve wasted at least an hour of your time driving to the store and having to find someone in the store to let you buy them. Then you have to drive home. Or, you could just go to Harrys.com or DollarShaveClub.com and order them and have them at your doorstep the next morning – at half the price or less.

That’s a disruption, and that’s why Gillette is running scared.

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) notes that Gillette’s share of the U.S. men’s razors business dropped to 54 percent in 2016, from 70 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the combined U.S. share of shaving upstarts Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club rose to 12.2 percent, from 7.2 percent, in 2015 alone.

Why? Because given the choice of having to go to the store and have the Walgreen’s sales associate have to unlock the case and get your razors, or being able to just click a button on a website and your razors appear at your door a day later… well, it’s pretty obvious.

Peloton is a company that sells stationary bikes with an online video screen. You may have seen their ads online or on TV if you haven’t skipped past them. Peloton charges you $39 a month to “ride online” with their trainers. And don’t forget you first have to buy the $2,000-plus bike first!

They currently have over 1 million people who pay those fees. You can do the math ($39 a month x 1 million); it’s insanely profitable. The company is now valued at over $4 billion.

But why? Why does a person pay all that money to ride a bike in their home when they could just get a Planet Fitness membership for $10 per month? Because they don’t have to leave their homes. Because it’s a “hassle” to have to drive to the location, check-in, find a machine, lock up your valuables, etc.

Because they don’t feel judged in the privacy of their own home. Because the gym, for most people, is a poor experience.

Others are catching on. Mirror.co is a Peloton competitor that reminds me of a futuristic scene from a movie. It’s a giant vertical “mirror” screen/monitor that you hang up or lean up against a wall that you stand in front of and do workouts with other people. It looks like a giant smartphone on your wall.

Like Peloton, you subscribe monthly ($39/month) for unlimited access to classes with instructors, and you can even schedule workouts with your friends. It syncs to your smartphone and even lets you take a selfie of yourself at the end which you can share to social media to tell the world you just worked out. You workout people know you love to do that!

Oh, and like Peloton, you have to pay for the device. The Mirror costs $1,495. Do the math. You’re spending $39/month, plus the cost of the screen because you don’t want to leave the house.

On the website they pitch it as “The future of fitness is at your place.” In the video promoting the device they say, “No waitlist. No crowded parking lots. Just your home, the Mirror, and you.”

Walmart is currently offering grocery delivery right into your fridge, even if you’re not home. In an article on MarketWatch, Chief Executive Doug McMillon said, “Once we learned how to do pickup well, we knew it would unlock the ability to deliver. What if we put their groceries away inside their kitchens or garages? Imagine keeping homes in stock like we do stores.”

So now you’re about to be able to completely skip the grocery store and have the option of someone who will bring your groceries and put them in your fridge for you.

What’s next? They cook and taste it for you too?

The point is, there are people so busy, and so bothered by the fact they have to go to the grocery store, that they’re willing to let a stranger into their home and stock their fridge for them.

Looking for a new car? Studies have shown that the vast majority of us are first doing the research online for what kind of car we want. When we find the make/model/color of the car we want to buy, we can either head to a car dealership, or we could simply order it online. 

Websites like Carvana.com will not only give us financing online but when we finally order the car we want, they’ll have it delivered to a Carvana “vending machine” near our home. That means you can just walk up to the kiosk, put your code in, and your car will come down off the rack and you can drive it home.

Carvana.com is disrupting the car dealership model because nobody enjoys the experience of buying a car from a dealership. Nobody wants to deal with salespeople. Nobody wants to hear “Let me go check with my manager on that price”. Nobody wants to have to sit in the dealership cubicle for hours signing paperwork. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being pushed to upgrade to more features and incur bogus fees for paperwork processing.

Buying a car from a dealership is a crap experience, across the board. With Carvana you do it on your own time, without all of those poor experiences, and that is why they will eventually win in that industry.

They disrupted the poor experience.

Gut check moment for you and your marketing: What poor experience can you disrupt in your industry?

The preceding is an excerpt from the book . You can read more from Jim at www.jimkukral.com.

Unskippable is a registered trademark of JFK Services, LLC.

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