Dear Local Retail Store, Here’s Why You Suck and Amazon Is The Best

I think you can consider this a rant, but do hear me out before you click away in disgust and roast me.

Most of you know I love books, and I like to support local as much as I can, especially brick and mortar retail stores. Also because I know they have it much tougher than online businesses who don’t have to deal with rent and all the other overheads as much…

So it pains me when I see brick and mortar bookshops closing down, AND owners of bookstores blaming Amazon, Book Depository etc.

BUT here’s what I think, and you can disagree with me. Blaming Amazon etc is just taking the easy way out, and shirking responsibility for what you did not do.

But Theo, what is Amazon doing that brick and mortar stores can’t because they don’t have as big a budget?

Well, my friend, here is AT LEAST ONE THING brick and mortar stores can do which Amazon is doing.

Email. Your. Customers. Every. Day. (if you can!)

I have advocated this from 2016 at least. But no business owner seems to listen, because “But wait we piss them off because we’re emailing them so much!” So, most folks only email their customers once a month.

And I may have given you the analogy of what do you think will happen if you only contacted your love interest just once a month, right? She will leave you because you’re not at the top of her mind.

You know what Amazon is doing? They are emailing me every single day and I don’t mind it.

What are they emailing me? They send me things like “Your (insert day of the week here) Kindle deals”. Do you think I hate that?

No! Because what they do is making me curious as to what they have curated for me every single day. The key here is “making me curious”. The other key is to make it interesting, which deserves another rant of my own about “Oh, we can’t have too long content because our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s.”

Now, you bear that attention span thing in mind… And then tell me why the Avengers movie is 3 hours long, and not 5 minutes short. I’ll tell you the reason why: The Avengers movie is INTERESTING.

If brick and mortar stores emailed their customers every single day, took note of what their customers bought, and then – based on their past purchases – sent them more of what they love, don’t you think their sales will go up?

Take for instance, you know I absolutely LOVE those marketing and copywriting books, right? And I have invested so much money (and time) in them over the years.

But the bookstore I regularly bought them from HAS NEVER sent me a newsletter introducing me to other possible related titles I may love. And I have a membership with that bookstore, and I would expect it to have my purchases tagged to it and recorded somewhere. If they are not tagged, my immediate question is “WHY?” and “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?”

Now you tell me, can a brick and mortar store do the same as Amazon? Can a brick and mortar store keep better tracking of what its customers buy, and introduce them to more of the same using emails and email marketing?

Is it something brick and mortar stores can afford? To me, the answer is, they can’t afford not to.

So, instead of blaming someone else’s success for your failure, look at what they are doing which you’re not.

Own your own problem and solution, and don’t pass the buck, brick and mortar store owners.

Two things you can (almost) immediately do, should you decide to email your customers more often than just once a month:
– Make your emails interesting
– Remember that all good selling is serving. Make sure your emails and whatever you do serves your reader/customer. Also, notice I didn’t make “reader” plural. You’re not selling to a group. You’re selling to an individual.

I love you, I support you, and I don’t want you to go down.

But you’ve to stop the blame game and improve.

You can’t afford not to.


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