Gradually, then suddenly

The latest hot discussion on the internet is the author Larry Downes versus Best Buy.

To compete successfully against new online retailers, traditional retailers would also need to find ways to transform the expensive liabilities of physical locations with limited hours and high labor and inventory costs into assets that complemented rather than competed with the online experience.

There’s a great line from the column:  From Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” novel, one character asks another how he went bankrupt.  “Two ways.  Gradually, then suddenly.”

Larry has a great summary of why Best Buy is dying slowly:

I’m not shilling for Amazon or any other successful online retailer here.  My point is much more basic.  Amazon neither invented nor appropriated its basic strategies from Best Buy or anyone else.  It simply does what consumers want.  Best Buy does what would be most convenient for the company for consumers to want but don’t, then crosses its fingers and prays.  That’s not a strategy–or not a winning strategy, in any case, now that retail consumers aren’t stuck with the store closest to home.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.