Friday, January 16, 2009

Dear Diary: Brick-and-Mortar Bubble Bursts

We all remember 2000-2001 when anyone and everyone started a website, got funded for a new web venture, and money was being thrown around the stock market on Internet IPOs. The Internet finally came of age but the teen years were tough. We realized that it is not just good enough to be on the Internet but we had to actually make money (really?).

Jack and Jill Went Up The Hill
The best of the bunch survived the crunch and the rest came tumbling down. Now the Internet can vote, drink hard alcohol, and stay up all night without a curfew. Unfortunately, brick-and-mortar got old and stogy, and is now.

Circuit City Came Tumbling Down
Just when you thought that brand was king, down with Circuit City. Big brands have ruled the retail world for over 100 years. Macy’s closes 10 stores, Mervyn’s liquidates and disappears, and many other big brands are laying off employees and closing up shop. Did you know that Internet retail sales were up 4% in 2008, from 2007? Shocking, who could have seen that trend coming? Lower overhead, less labor costs, open 24/7/365, and the ability to be anywhere and everywhere around the world; someone was asleep at the wheel!

Status Quo is Status No
The lesson is not just about the brand but about diversification. Status quo is status no. “Everyone else is doing it,” they say. “I want a piece of that pie.” Well the pie is in short supply. Maybe Marie Antoinette had it right, “Let them eat cake.” Stay ahead of the curve, try to conserve, or get what you deserve. Now wave bye-bye to those big old stogy guys and say hello to Web 2.0.

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