In the good old days, you had an idea of the work you wanted to do, and you worked hard to build your business from the ground up with your hands.
Buying and selling new widgets. Repairing them from your garage gradually morphed into a store and putting signage in the huge window. You rented or bought a cash register, bought a truckload of widgets on consignment, including repair parts.
You never dreamed of becoming a conglomerate and owning hundreds of stores and/or factories. You wanted to “make a living” for your family. Many times several of your family worked with you, and life was good!
When the Internet burst on the horizon and became cost-effective enough, many households owned one or more. It became necessary for your company to upgrade to computers and credit card purchases. Soon it became normal business practice. Advertising on the Internet brought more customers to your store, and some bought online, and you shipped to them. You never borrowed money; you invested your savings.
Then the world turned upside down! A brilliant entrepreneur realized that you could bring customers INTO your store via the Internet. You could SELL widgets to them online and ship products without ever seeing or meeting them in person! Customers liked the convenience of having their packages delivered right to their front door. But, they wanted to purchase from people they knew and trusted! They remembered meeting face to face and liked getting to know you via the pictures and videos of your business.
At least once during this time, you probably said, “Hell, I don’t want to know my customers; I just want to sell to them!” But that is just what the Internet was designed to accomplish between you and your customers.
Your customers could see pictures of you, your employees, and your business. You started selling many other things in addition to Widgets; your internet site had hundreds and sometimes thousands of items. New start-up companies started competing for your business. Entrepreneurs created sites where Mom and Pop could put goods online, along with people that just wanted to get rid of unwanted stuff. And it was good.
Eventually, the “Big Auction Companies” realized that they didn’t need Mom and Pop resale items; they could sell direct from the factory to a purchaser, making bigger profits, so Mom and Pop were cut out of the deal! Big Box Stores were happy to have their products online. Fulfillment centers were born to expedite the time to get packages from A to B. Everyone with a computer jumped on the bandwagon and created a storefront. Most failed because putting up a storefront didn’t cut it; you had to bring the customer to your site.
The Big Box Stores saw their stores were more often empty, while “discount” stores were thriving. Many invested early and heavily in the Internet and sophisticated computer systems, discovering where to have bulk inventory shipped by learning how many times someone bought that item at what store. This took the money, lots of money! Everyone hated the discount store except the consumers!
We now have big discount and luxury stores in the same growing metropolis, built via Credit but still profitable. Mom and Pop stores started becoming almost extinct. I know it is sad, but the customer demanded, and corporations listened; some think they listened too well. That’s for you to decide, but they are here to stay. Sorry, folks, but you can’t put the Genie back in the bottle.
I loved the old way too, but you must adapt to survive. I would love to live long enough to see what is “the next big thing!”