The problem? The constant change in retailing makes it difficult to achieve economies of scale.
"Mr. Buffet has said that retail is challenging because shopping habits and sales channels are constantly changing, making it difficult for businesses to build and maintain competitive advantages, or what he calls 'economic moats,'" reported Anupreeta Das in the July 17 Wall Street Journal.Meanwhile, there is Amazon. At one point, in their postings for retail jobs, Amazon stated their goal was to "Turn the art of retailing into the science of retailing." Oh really?! They, too, believe that retail should be easily reduced to an algorithm.
Retailing defies predictability. There are no straight-line projections. And, not everyone has the stomach for retailing's unpredictability.
Today, it is common to cite the internet as the major competitive threat to retailing. Indeed, e-commerce has challenged retailing.
But, so did the big box stores. And mail order. And before that, outlet malls. Before that, regional shopping malls. And shopping centers. And before that, department stores.
Responding to change is not news to seasoned merchants. In fact, it is this dynamism of retailing that attracts so many people into the industry!
The true merchants thrive on this ever-changing environment. Instead of being dismayed by change, they relish its challenges.
In retailing, being nimble and responsive offers a decided competitive advantage. And with today's technology, any retailer, anywhere, can gain that advantage, and compete far more effectively.