A recent visit to an iconic book and music store reinforced that universal but at times uncomfortable truth– the world is changing and rapidly too. My family has spent hours in its outlets in Bangalore and Chennai browsing through the thousands of titles stocked. My daughter bought her first ever music album here and a majority of our book and music collection was also sourced from this store. It had been a while since I last shopped here – family had scattered while online shopping became more convenient. The store now had a massive sale ongoing that encouraged me to make that long overdue visit.
Imagine my shock when I entered the store – the shop floor size had reduced, books were few and displayed in a corner, while the music section could not be spotted. It was like seeing a favourite childhood tree being chopped down in front of your eyes! Whether the store is folding up totally or reinventing itself with other offerings am not clear about, but an icon is surely tripping!
The point of my writing is not to lament the loss of a once treasured store, but more about changes and need to stay with the trends. With customers evolving into online technology for the convenience it offers, shops like the one here have obviously suffered. Could this store, and similar ones, have anticipated the shift in purchase practices and created ways to keep the customers coming in? Were their younger employees invited to brainstorm with the management to generate radical ideas to save the business? Perhaps all these were done but were not enough to bring back the customers. Ironically, the customers are partly to blame too – for choosing other avenues to shop.
It is no doubt trying times for companies. There is a constant need to stay in touch with customers, keep evaluating alternate business channels, explore ideas for growth and do everything to stay on their toes. Hitherto solid business models can also collapse if not reviewed and revitalised to adapt to changing times. A new competitor or an alternative way of doing business can just blow you away unless you have anchored your business well and deep enough. It would be sad to see more icons falling by the wayside unable to cope with change!