Tag Archives: iPad

The destruction of traditional retail

Le Bon Marché à Paris (1875)

A steady stream of news stories is trying to convince us that online is killing retail, that online has an unfair advantage and show rooming is evil. There’s some handwaving around omni-channel and claims that that if you sharpen your approach a bit then you will be able to stand out from the online crowd and stay alive, but it’s all a distraction. The problem is that ‘retail’ is just not something we need as much as we used to.

It’s not that we no longer need retail stores. We don’t, however, need as many of them as we have today.

Retail stores serve many purposes, but the most common is to be the last stage in someone else’s supply chain. This role – the retail store that is little more than a convenient place to make a purchase – is dying.

The internet and smartphones mean that we can now shop and purchase when and were we want. We’re no longer forced to pick between the meagre offerings at a nearby store.

Browsing is something we do in a spare moment, sitting in front of the TV with our tablet or via smart phone during our commute on the train. We purchase when we realise that we’ve found something we want or need, where ever we are at the time.

The other uses for local shops and businesses will remain:– community gathering places, restaurants etc. Life for your typical retail store is looking grim though, as they are simply something that we no longer need as much of as we used to.

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What recession?

The global financial crisis hit nearly four years ago in 2008 but America and Europe appear to still be stuck in the mud. Even the Asian market has softened. But is this a recession? Or are we seeing a reconfiguration of the economy as the technological seeds laid over the last few generations finally germinated and bear fruit? Prices for made goods are collapsing as the cost of manufacturing has plummeted, while the cost of sourcing and distribution has crashed, caught between globalisation and the Internet. Even innovation, the source of all those sexy new products, has been democratised with the investment required to development new products taking a nosedive. Our existing business models were not designed to thrive, or even survive, this this environment. While the current market is a challenge to navigate, a lot of the problems we're seeing could be result of a collapse of antiquated business models rather than the collapse in demand that these businesses are intended to service.

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Innovation [2010-07-05]

Another week and another collection of interesting ideas from around the internet.

As always, thoughts and/or comments are greatly appreciated.

Innovation linkage

I gave a talk on innovation at Chisholm tonight in their Business Innovation Seminar Series, and promised to provide links to some of my references. Here they are:

Leave a comment if I’ve missed anything and I’ll try and find a reference.

Experiments in delinkification

Nick Carr’s recent blog post on delinkification{{1}} (putting the links at the end of a post as footers, rather than as hyperlinks in the text) made a lot of sense to me. Perhaps I’m old (though its all relative, as one bloke told me this morning{{2}}), but I find myself leaning heavily on browser tabs and Instapaper{{3}} to try and manage the distractions of links in text.

So I’ve decided to experiment. I’ve dropped in a plugin which converts links to footnotes (though it relies on magic markup, rather than doing it automatically and retrospectively as I would prefer), and going forward I’ll give footnotes a go. It might work, or it might suck. Who am I to know though. Ping me with your thoughts, if they lean one way or the other.

[[1]]Experiments in delinkification @ RoughType[[1]]
[[2]]Peter Fingar[[2]]
[[3]]Instapaper[[3]]