I've always wanted to write a book, and started hundreds; but I never thought the first one I'd finish would be all about saving brick & mortar retail.
It came about because I'd been doing a lot of home improvement over the summer -- and visiting ALL KINDS of retail stores for the many projects that I'd taken on.
And a weird thing began to happen. I, who never ordered more than a few things from Amazon.com found myself gradually ordering more and more from Amazon as each trip to all of these various retail stores made it clear that the retail shopping expeirence is HORRIBLE.
They are out of stock on a HUGE number of products. MANY in-store associates are untrained, often rude, apathetic, and more often than not I found myself making MANY trips to the same store (because the associate who helped me didn't understand my problem and sold me a partial solution), or different stores (because it took several stores to find enough things in stock to complete one project.)
Gradually, I was being PUSHED to Amazon -- and if Amazon didn't have it -- searching out other online vendors.
And then it hit me.
Traditional Retail is dying.
The other thing that hit me is: this is crazy! And it doesn't have to be! I know what the problem is, and my company has the solution. Retailers lack the toools necessary to have a closed-loop feedback system that tells them what is happening at every shelf, detect problems, send specific and remedial training, and re-sample to ensure that bad customer experiences become good customer experiences. And it just so happens that is the technology we offer.
For that reason, I wrote The Brick & Mortar Survival Guide so traditional retail can and will survive.
If you think it could help you, I'd appreciate it if you'd click on the link above, and read it. And if it helps you I'd appreciate a kind review.
For anyone who doesn't know my story...
One of my first memories is walking down the aisle of a Victory Supermarket with my Mother in Fayetteville, NY when I was four years old. The year was 1965. We turned down the paper aisle and were surprised to see my Father, on his knees, fronting and facing Kleenex products.
I asked if I could help and to my delight he let me! That day I threw my first case; and my Dad told me that no matter how hard he worked to get Kleenex products into stores (he sold wholesale for Kleenex) nothing mattered unless the products were on the shelf, where the customers expect to find them, at the time they shop the aisle.
My Dad had incredible passion for the business. He lived and breathed it until the day he died. And he transferred that passion to me at a very young age.
My parents entertained every weekend, and the people they entertained are names many reading this post would recognize. Titans in the industry. This was in the 1960’s, the 1970’s – and I being a kid at home – would do everything possible to be in the room with them way past my bedtime at a very young age. After being dragged to bed I’d listen with my ear at the door; because I too, was hooked.
As I got older I began to be invited into the conversations and I received a complete education about the supply chain and how goods are moved through it – the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was during this time that I learned the retailer is the king of the supply chain. The conversations that took place all those years ago deconstructed what made people buy at the shelf – in order to reverse engineer how Dad could get people to buy at headquarters. I didn’t know it then, but much of what I was learning would sow the seeds for the book.
Dad and I shared a deeply held value system that the Consumer Products Industry is the most noble work in the world. Getting people the things they want and need impacts their life in the most significant way possible.
A single mother needs medicine for her sick child. That same woman needs a suit to interview for a better job. A young man needs an engagement ring for the woman he hopes to marry. The list never ends.
For us, selling is a way to help people, and the more you sell them the more you help them.
And there’s more.
Because a sale at retail not only connects the buyer with something they need to improve their life, it also puts food on the table for the retail employees, the retailer, the manufacturer, the shipping and distribution companies, the advertisers, and all the companies that support them – as well as the stockholders of all of those companies.
Each and every sale at retail makes a positive impact on all of them. And now the world. We can debate the merits of products being manufactured overseas, but there is no debate that sales in advanced countries are lifting the lifestyle in others – so they can buy medicine, get better jobs, woo their loved ones, and the cycle goes on.
Retail is capitalism. It’s free enterprise. It’s the American dream. And I’ve always known it would be my life’s work.
As I became old enough to work, Dad suggested working in grocery to learn everything I could. I worked as a bagger, and a stocker for much of my high-school years.
When I started college, He hired me in his then company (a general merchandise manufacturer’s rep) and sent me out to sell wholesale.
And that is when the problems started. Somehow, despite all of the shared DNA for the CG industry I simply didn’t have what it took to sell products to professional buyers at wholesale. In short, I hated it.
Dad recognized I was more of a numbers guy and suggested I change my major to become a computer programmer, and work for him as a retail field rep – stocking pool chemicals in Albertsons to help pay my way and gain further experience as a merchandising field rep.
A few years later, he was losing his shirt in that same retail business as he had no way to track the work of his field team of over 100 reps and asked me to use my new-found skills to write a computer program that would capture a new thing called caller-id from field reps calling a computer that would ask them questions about their stores to prove they were there.
I agreed, and a company was born. The year was 1989.
Since then, that company has changed names several times, and has grown to over 140,000 people being managed across 300,000 stores, touching 800 companies with employees around the globe. Today we are Every Store Perfect, because we believe that by getting and keeping Every Store Perfect we are doing the most noble work in the world.
I think it’s pretty cool that 24x7 there is a team of people who all think and feel and act the way my Dad did while he was alive; and the way I still think today – that is doing everything it can to help the world get and keep Every Store Perfect.
I’d be honored to have the chance to help you get and keep Every Store Perfect too. If I can help you in any way, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love the consumer goods industry, and especially the brick and mortar industry and I respond to everyone who reaches out for help. I can’t help myself because if you want help getting and keeping Every Store Perfect, you too are doing the most noble work in the world!
Now go out and get and keep Every Store Perfect!
Click here to get The Brick & Mortar Survival Guide.