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Look at how the tech giants do retail

Monday, 18 February 2013 | By Taskmaster

taskmasterThe conventional wisdom says that traditional bricks-and-mortar retail is heading towards extinction.

 

It’s just a matter of time, the conventional wisdom says, before children will wander museums and look in awe at these physical buildings where people used to purchase goods, back in the bad old days. They’ll have a scale model next to a dinosaur. “What’s a Westfield?” they will surely ask.

 

The well hath been poisoned for traditional retail, says this worldview. The Earth hath been scorched. The merchants shall soon cry as the windows of the city of traditional retail, dressed in purple and sitting over seven hills, shall soon lay broken, never to be rebuilt.

 

Forget the fact that online retail is, in large part, a modern form of the same mail order business that’s been around for decades. Conventional wisdom says the paradigm shift is unprecedented and unstoppable.

 

This is why Old Taskmaster was a little surprised over the weekend to read that Google is joining fellow tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony, in establishing its own retail stores.

 

That’s right. Google – a company of tech experts if ever there was one – want to boost sales through bricks-and-mortar retail. This despite the fact their Google Play store comes pre-installed on just about every Android smartphone and tablet worldwide.

 

Of course, the move is not too shocking. Apple raked in 17 times more cash per square foot of retail space last year than any other retailer. Tiffany & Co comes in a very distant second.

 

That suggests that there is something these consumer electronics and internet giants are doing right in bricks-and-mortar retail that the retail dinosaurs are doing wrong.

 

If you’re thinking of starting a business in the retail industry, Old Taskmaster says you need to take a field trip.

 

Take a walk around the stores of one of the consumer electronics giants – especially Apple. Pay attention to things like store layout, the role of customer service staff and presentation. Then compare it to any of the dinosaur retailers that you’ve read about making excuses for why their sales aren’t up to scratch. Take notes about the difference.

 

After all, big the thing these tech giants get is that online retail hasn’t condemned all traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers to extinction. It’s just the retail dinosaurs that won’t survive.

 

Get it done – today!