Don’t Chase Giants — Become One!
I have come to the realisation that despite the fact that I am tech-savvy, a veteran of the software industry, and have spent years engaging people with digital transformation, that when it comes to shopping, I prefer to try and buy. Shopping is a sensory experience: I do not want to give up on touch, sight, smell. I prefer to try something on and have the opinion of someone who is with me, or the shop owner who can tell me whether what I am trying on works for me. I have a few ‘go-to’ shops and a few professional shop owners that I trust. These business owners are not threatened by the digital giants and the online market. They know that they have an engaged congregation of buyers, like me. But, what they are concerned about is that people — like me — will choose the mass-produced items over the work of small businesses. They are concerned that price will trump quality. This is a real concern and many small businesses see themselves in a David versus Goliath battle. It seems that the antidote to this is that, instead of chasing giants, the local shop should become a giant in its own right. It should embrace what it can offer: intimacy, understanding and familiarity of the customer, professional insight and experience. The local shop should become what it used to be — an outing outside of home. The owner would have a friendly-yet-professional face. As I walk in the door, I would hear: “Nice to see you back, I kept aside some things aside that I knew you would like.”