Price

Nike never talks about price.

Disney never talks about price.

WalMart never talks about price.

One of the above statements is incorrect.

Which of these brands creates the warmest  feeling? Which creates the coldest?

Coincidence?

End of Days

The seeds of our demise are sown before we even know they exist. Entropy is the force we least acknowledge and most critically affects us all, despite the focus we place on apparently more urgent disasters.

Interestingly, entropy is so clear cut, figuring work-arounds is relatively simple. If we know that everything changes and ends, all we need do is note those as limiting factors and act accordingly.

Bait & Switch Inc is not good at noting big-picture stuff. The model they began with is the model that remains to this day. It’s as if Henry Ford ignored the invention of the starter-motor- deliberately – and required all of his cars to keep the hand-crank. You know, the metal handle at the front which one spun manually to start the engine turning.

The business is 25 years old, and the basic mechanics are the same now as then. Sure, there’s no compelling need to change the product, that’s a given. But delivery is everything. A Model-T is a car in the same way that an Audi RS5 is a car, but there are important differences.

So the end of the business is closer than it need be simply because managers fail to note that all businesses end. If that sounds all quantum, you’re right; superposition is an awesome way to exist. Unfortunate that B&S is stuck at the Newtonian end of things.

The End is Within Sight

Unbelievably and rather freakily, even Bait & Switch is now under attack from Amazon.

The very idea is quite at the edge of believability, and yet here it is; the Monster from Seattle is moving towards us. Slowly, yes, but everything Amazon does is characterized by growth that, if graphed, looks hyperbolic.

Which is to say that nothing is happening right now. We are still selling lots of bait to addicted fishermen, blandly bullshitting punters about the merits of off-brand bait and overpriced chum. Nothing quantifiable is apparent, there are no ripples on the water, and yet if you stand still, slow your breathing and listen, a definite change is in the water.

Tipping points don’t advertise. In the case of B&S v Amazon, all will appear business as usual until a trapdoor appears under the top line and BOOM! Everything falls into it.

Until that hour on that day, nothing will change. Binders will remain, lack of business focus will persist, underpayment of employees will not change and customers will notice that the promises never match the reality. Shopping has changed forever, and the survivors know already.

Stuck

When you’re on a good thing, stick to it.

As an aphorism that sounds right; it’s pithy, short, easy to remember and reinforces the notion that if we just keep on, we’ll win. But is it true?

That will depend upon precisely what we’re talking about. At Bait & Switch Inc, the basic idea is a winner. People are addicted to fishing and so to supply them with the tools to catch creatures therefore constitutes a smart business plan.

When we look at the pixels that make up that idea, some problems reveal themselves. Stuff changes. Habits change. Fashion changes. The customer changes.

Because of this reality, any smart retailer would modify the way they do business. Target moved to SoooooperTarget and is obviously heading towards happier employees. WalMart has lowest prices, but I see all of the stores around me are being revamped. Oh, and they’re working smart online too. Amazon…well, they’re gonna have it all.

And then we have B&S. Same old stores. Same old confused message. Same old labor practices. Same old 1980s technology. Same old staff turnover. Same old same old.

Like old fish, someone will eventually notice the pong.