Watching Retail Deliver Its Knock Out Blow -- to Itself
A week ago or so, I was privileged to be on a panel discussion of retail trends, speaking to both undergraduates and business people. Hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, it was a fascinating discussion, capped by a ‘final question’ from the moderator, asking each of us to share one piece of advice for the students to take forward into their careers. One of the most charming panel members encouraged them to realize that ‘great ideas are not a function of age.’ He advised them to speak up and share their perspectives since ‘you are the future of retail.’
I could not have agreed more.
Then, the forum opened to questions from the students. The first of these was a young man who explained, “We’re young. We like to go out and party some nights. Why not have the stores open at 3 in the morning, so we can shop when we want to?”
Very quickly, he was shut down: “We have our website so you can shop whenever you want to,” he was told. “There’s an ROI you have to take into account. It just wouldn’t work financially,” he was told. In other words, thanks for sharing, but no: We want to do things the way we do them and get a different outcome.
Good luck with that.
For my part, I was able to sneak in a “I love that idea!” before the mike dropped. And, I do love it. The stores wouldn’t have to be open every night, just big night on campus nights. The stores in the chain wouldn’t have to all be open, just the ones near a large, thriving campus. Can’t you imagine asking for sales person volunteers to work the late shift when the kids arrive, credit cards at the ready and in a joyous, party-animal frame of mind? Why not encourage them to head to the mall, rather than to binge on calorie laden munchies at Mickey Ds?
Whoosh! Sudden relevance. A destination again. Why say no, before there’s a moment to consider where a tiny whisper of a maybe, perhaps, let’s try it may lead.