Borders Today, Barnes & Noble Tomorrow

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\"\"There is absolutely no reason for anyone to go to a bookstore today unless they are assured a compelling experience. The only way Barnes & Noble can avoid a Borders-like implosion is by offering a Starbuck’s café, book signings, perhaps education of some sort (how to write a novel), or other experiences that will cause the consumer to make an effort to visit.

Nobody can survive the disastrous fate that \”just selling stuff\” assures, even on the Internet. Because the exact same stuff, even new stuff, can be found and acquired instantaneously, anywhere, anytime, and for a lower price.

Apple does not sell stuff, not even computers. They sell a highly experiential education first, and then it just so happens that they have the most innovative, sleek and cool digital devices in the world. (Some Apple stores have even evolved into singles bar-like social scenes.) And, guess what, nobody even cares about the price. And, guess what else, Apple is the fastest growing, most productive retailer (with an average sales per square foot of $4000) in the entire history of global retailing.

Just keep thinking of yourself as a retailer, and your place of business as a store or website, and your offerings for sale as products, and your pricing as competitively valued, and you will most certainly die.

\"RRYou must step back from your thicket of “trees,” which would be the complexities and immediacy of running your business day in and day out, and ponder your “forest,” which would be the big picture of how consumers have changed, how the Internet has disrupted all of commerce, how the competition has changed their behavior, and how the only growth possible now, and in the future, is through fighting “share wars:” either stealing a customer away from a competitor or getting your customer to buy more from you.

If you do this, and understand the “forest” you are pondering, you will understand that you must shape your business model into the form of a community, and the community must be full of all the things people like about communities: friendship, common interests, like-minded people, a warm, pleasant and exciting environment with lots of fun things to do and experience. If you do this, your community (read: your business), will populate faster than Groupon’s daily deals. And, they will not leave. And, they will not care about price.

Just do it!



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