50 years ago successful retailing needed more than a great idea, it involved:
- Deciding store location(s) (the famous location, location, location adage)
- Guessing the right product mix and price-points
- Great wholesaler deals for maximum margins
- Well trained staff
- Relationship with the right ad agency
- Significant financial support
Today, the entire value chain has been democratized: production can be contracted in small batches, the need for physical stores has been mostly eliminated and access to customers is cheaper than ever before. Once again the QUESTION is king. When Reed Hastings dreamt up the movie-in-your-mail idea he didn’t have to worry about access to capital markets or Hollywood studios, he just ran with his idea and let his customer-base crush the store video rental dinosaur.
This then is the new paradigm facing the Nordstroms and the Zales of this world. They will need to re-imagine the world without the constraints of the things that tied them down when they first built their empires.