I love being right, but..

April 11, 2009

If you know me, you know I love being right, but lately, I wish I weren’t right so often.

When The Oregonian, interviewing me for a story about the Joe’s bankruptcy, asked whether I thought Joe’s could survive and/or might be sold to another company, I said, “No.”  Yesterday, Joe’s started liquidating.

The evaporation of so many retailers is a scenario being repeated too often for three key reasons:

  1. Many retail operations operate with thin profit margins–or no profit margins–so when sales decline, the retailers simply have no (forgive the pun) margin for error.
  2. Many retail operations have no raison d’etre–no reason for being–no strategy that separates them from their competitors, no strategy for meeting changing consumer needs.
  3. Too often, good customer service is missing in action.  Poor customer service can result in lost sales, and few companies today can afford to lose those sales.

Perhaps, as a result of the current economic environment, we will see a return to good customer service.  I’d really like to be right about that!