Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wall-to-Wall Customers Isn't What It Used To Be

I remember the scene like it was yesterday. November 23, 2006 (Thanksgiving night)...

I was returning home from a family gathering, and I noticed something strange off in the distance. It was a parking lot full of cars and activity. This didn't make sense! Everything was supposed to be closed. But, one retailer (Comp USA) decided to 'break the rules' and open for a few hours when all of its competition was still at home eating turkey, and waiting for Black Friday to officially begin. The tactic seemed brilliant (on the surface).

After finally finding a parking space, and waiting in a line that originally extended around the building, I was in the middle of what most people would think was Retail Bliss: wall-to-wall customers buying the best deals of the year...

Fast forward three months... I was standing in that exact same store, but this time the scene was a 'little' different. Parking spaces were abundant, there were few customers or even merchandise in the store. This time, the only things I was surrounded by were "Going Out of Business" signs. What happened??? How can a store (more accurately, a franchise) go from Retail Bliss to non-existence so quickly? Why is this story repeated year after year by others?

Moral of the story: Wall-to-wall customers isn't what it used to be (Translation: Giving cool stuff away below cost is easy, but it's not a tactic to drive a long-term strategy.)

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