In 2002 Retailing Today
identified "The 12 hot issues facing mass retailing" See http://bit.ly/p0R4Q1
The above link will take you to a more in-depth explanation of the dozen of issues but here they are in a few words or less plus, in parentheses, an off the cuff gut feel of 10 years later.
- The demand for new and trendy products (no change).
- Financial reform (change for worse).
- Diversity (Huh?)
- The cost of Store operations (some change).
- Relationships (big change with social media)
- Supply-chain management (inconsistent change across sectors).
- Consumer connection (varying change depending on age group).
- Development of proprietary brands (ongoing change).
- Legislation increasing cost of business (no change).
- Trade shows (big change, attendance is down).
- Cost of Energy (continues to rise).
- The E-commerce dot-com bust (big change).
The most notable positive change over 10 years has been developments in E-commerce. Access to the internet is like access to seemingly endless products and services. There are fewer reasons to drive to big box areas for small mail-able products. Plus services like graphic arts, web development and even business coaching can take place on line. It seems like a million years ago that the dot-com bubble burst.
The most notable negative change is the dot.name bust. I am referring to the number of people and companies that 'financed' their way into oblivion. Enough has been written elsewhere about that.
What else is important? There is something to be learned from the dozen above. Apple continues to exemplify what 'trendy products' means; certainly in looks and proprietary products. There 'i' products illustrate the mobility of todays consumer and the need to provide products and services addressing and enhancing that mobility.
Just a note about the word 'Diversity.' It was quite the buzz word 10 years ago (sort of like 'dude' and 'staycation' now) and no one really knew what it meant except it was a good thing to say you respect big D diversity.
What we want to change and what does change is sometimes quite different. Gas and other energy prices won't fall. Just when internet access and texting prices were falling, data plans are piling up. It's a sure bet that taxes aren't going away and goodness knows what the future holds for personal and national finances.
On a positive note, it's fall, the retail season! If back to school spending was any indication, many markets can look forward to a great end of the year.